There has been a tendency to emphasise the distinctness of male and female paths to adult status. Quite clearly, the pattern has changed even though the gender differences persist. There is still a greater proportion of young men than women in fulltime work, and young women seem to form a family at an earlier age than men. At the same time there is quite clearly a tendency towards a levelling of the differences between men and women in their transition to adulthood. Women have increased their labour force participation, and it seems like many of them postpone family formation for some years as compared to the 1950s and early 1960s.
The percentage young people living together has decreased during the 1980s. In the 1970s cohabitation seemed to compensate for the decrease in marriage (Bjøru and Sørensen, 1983:81). By the late 1980s the situation looks different. Data from the survey of the standard of living 1991 shows that a decreasing proportion in all age groups are living together, in either marriage or cohabitation. As can be seen from figure 3, the proportion of both women and men in the age groups 20-24 years and 25-29 years who are living together, is reduced as compared to the proportion at the beginning of the 1980s.
Figure 3. Married and cohabiting by age, gender and year.