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UNWEDDED BLISS?

How soon do couples usually move in together?

A bedroom.
Reuters/Jean Blondin
It doesn’t take that long for many couples to share a bed.
  • Dan Kopf
By Dan Kopf

Data editor

Moving in together is perhaps the most dramatic step in a relationship. Even more than marriage, it is the moment when lives become shared. For each couple, the right timing is different, and if for some, like Gwyneth Paltrow, that time may never come.

My partner and I recently had our two-year anniversary. We are both in our 30s, and neither of us had made it this far in a relationship before. We have no plan to live together. The data suggests we are kind of weird.

According to a Quartz analysis of Stanford University’s How Couples Meet and Stay Together survey, about 25% of American couples that eventually move in together do so after four months of dating, and 50% after a year. By two years, over 70% had moved in. There are holdouts, though: After more than four years of dating, 10% had not yet made the plunge.

Using this same data, the statistician Nathan Yau of the website FlowingData found that moving in times have stayed relatively stable over the last five decades. For those that eventually get married, Yau finds that moving in times have only slightly decreased since the 1960s. At the same time, couples are taking longer to get married. As a result, couples are spending an increasing amount of their lives in the same home, but unwed.

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