At the intersection of the cohabitation and residential mobility literatures is an opportunity to better understand the factors that shape cohabitation choices for low-income couples. By investigating push and pull factors associated with cohabitation, this study aimed to identify linkages between cohabitation transitions and the broader socioeconomic context within which they occur. Collecting data from both members of low-income couples and carefully tracking all residential and cohabitation transitions made it possible to identify a wide range of push and pull factors that motivate couples to move. The findings suggest that cohabitation transitions were often motivated by economic necessity. Romantic partnerships, while important, were less frequently mentioned than other factors (i.e., interpersonal negotiations, finances, housing quality) in determining a couple’s living arrangements. These findings have important implications for understanding the complex relationship between economic and non-economic factors that shape romantic relationships.


Human Development and Family Studies

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Journal of Family and Economic Issues



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This is a preprint of an article published by Springer in Journal of Family and Economic Issues in 2017, available online: