While more people of all ages are living together, the growth of unmarried couples is fastest among the older segment of the population. In 2010, 2.8 million people aged 50 and over cohabited, up from 1.2 million in 2000, according to the United States Census Bureau. Older people live together unmarried for an average of nine years, which confirms that living together is more unstable than marriage.
Many older couples stand to lose financially if they marry according to an article in the New York Times. A partner who remarries stands to lose alimony, social security or a survivor’s military or private pension. Under the law, married people are responsible for the debts of spouses. A marriage can result in families losing student aid. For years, Congress has wrestled with provisions that impose higher taxes on married couples. A survivor is entitled to a share of a late spouse’s benefits. But survivors who remarry before age 60 lose the benefits.