Cohabiting, Married or Single?: Measuring Union Status for Sexual Minorities and Sexual Majorities

Wendy Manning1, Claire Kamp Dush2
1Bowling Green State University, 2The Ohio State University

Union status has implications for health and well-being, but to accurately assess the ways that union status matters requires accurate measurement, specifically of cohabitation. Our objective is to evaluate how differing measures of cohabitation influence the union status of sexual minorities and majorities This is salient as greater shares of sexual minority than majority coresidential couples are in cohabiting relationships.  We contrast how levels of cohabitation differ using a traditional and revised measure of cohabitation using Gallup Daily Tracking and Panel data from 2018 and 2019 (n=4,729 sexual minorities and n=84,542 sexual majorities). We find the revised measure resulted in a significantly and nearly 50%, greater level of cohabitation. We will consider differentials in the sociodemographic characteristics of single, cohabiting, and married sexual minorities and majorities. These analyses will provide the first examination of union status in the era that legally recognizes marriage for all couples.