04/04/2013 12:41 EDT | Updated 06/03/2013 05:12 EDT

U.S. women now twice as likely to live with a guy before marriage

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Nearly half of young U.S. women say the first time they lived with a guy, they weren't married.

That's the finding of a government survey released Thursday.

The results are a marked change from 1995, when only 34 per cent said they moved in together. Now it's 48 per cent. Back then, 39 per cent said they married first, compared to 23 now.

Experts say the numbers show living together is increasingly used as a testing ground for marriage. About 40 per cent of the women who lived with a guy went on to marry him within 3 years.

The survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention questioned more than 12,000 women younger than 45 from 2006 to 2010.