POSSLQ (pronEng|ˈpɒsəlkjuː) is abbreviation (or
acronym) for "Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters," a term coined in the late 1970s by the United States Census Bureauas part of an effort to more accurately gauge the prevalence of cohabitationin American households.
After the 1980 Census, against all odds, the term gained currency in the wider culture for a time, with
CBScommentator Charles Osgoodmemorably composing a verse which began:"There's nothing that I wouldn't do":"If you would be my POSSLQ":"You live with me and I with you,":"And you will be my POSSLQ.":"I'll be your friend and so much more;":"That's what a POSSLQ is for."
Elliot Sperber, the writer of the Hartford Courant's weekly
cryptogram, invented a cryptogram that (when solved) said:
:"Roses are Red,":"Violets are Blue,":"Won't you be my POSSLQ?"
After demographers observed the increasing frequency of cohabitation over the 1980s, the Census Bureau began directly asking respondents to their major surveys whether they were "unmarried partners," thus making obsolete the old method of counting cohabitors, which involved a series of assumptions about "Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters." The category "unmarried partner" first appeared in the
1990 Census, and was incorporated into the monthly Current Population Surveystarting in 1995. By the late 1990s, the term had fallen out of general usage, and returned to being a specialized term for demographers.
* [http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0036/twps0036.html "How Does POSSLQ Measure Up? "Historical Estimates of Cohabitation" (1999)] , a US Census Bureau working paper.
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