How Couples Meet and Stay Together

DESCRIPTION: How Couples Meet and Stay Together (HCMST) is a study of how Americans meet their spouses and romantic partners. It is a nationally representative study of American adults conducted in 2009 which oversamples self-identified gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults. The sample includes 4,002 adults, and 3,009 of those had a spouse or main romantic partner. The data is individual-level but couple weights are being developed. Follow-up surveys are planned for one and two years after the original in order to study couple dissolution rates. This study will provide the first nationally representative data on the couple dissolution rates of same-sex couples, and will answer research questions, including how traditional couples meet versus how nontraditional couples meet, what kinds of couples are more likely to have met online, whether the most recent marriage cohorts met in the same way their parents and grandparents did, how the couple dissolution rates of nontraditional couples compare to the couple dissolution rates of more traditional same-race heterosexual couples, and how the availability of civil unions, domestic partnerships, and same-sex marriage rights affect couple stability for same-sex couples. The survey respondents were recruited via random digit dial phone survey. The dataset contains variables that are derived from several sources including the Main Survey Instrument, variables generated from the investigators which were created after the Main Survey, and demographic background variables from Knowledge Networks which pre-date the Main Survey. Dates for main survey and for the prior background surveys are included in the dataset for each respondent. Respondents who had no spouse or main romantic partner were dropped from the Main Survey. Unpartnered respondents remain in the dataset, and demographic background variables are available for them.