More Adults Living With Roommates as Rents Soar
By Natalie Wise
Zillow research shows that rent as a percentage of the national median income is reaching an all-time high. It’s no surprise, then, that more American households are doubling up. That is, more and more working adults are sharing their living spaces with at least one other adult who is not their spouse or partner.
Nationally, one can expect to spend nearly 30 percent of the national median income (which is $53,216) on rent, an all-time high that is putting the squeeze on more and more households. Instead of moving to a smaller home or trading a longer commute for less-expensive housing, more and more adults are taking on roommates.
In 2006, only 27.4 percent of adults were sharing their living spaces. In 2010, the number climbed to 30.8 percent, and it keeps rising. In 2012, a full 32 percent of adults were sharing their homes with roommates. The trend is nationwide, but particularly prevalent in major metros and areas where rents are substantially higher.
In San Francisco, for example, rent was only 25 percent of income in 2000. By 2012, it was up to 40 percent of income. Interestingly, households that were sharing rent rose from 24 percent to 39 percent during the same time.
San Francisco isn’t even the city with the highest concentration of doubled-up households. In Los Angeles, nearly 50 percent (47.9 percent) of adults live with roommates. In Miami, 44.5 percent of adults live with others who help pay the bills. New York City sees 42.5 percent of adults have roommates, and in San Diego, it’s 39.7 percent.
In the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area, 32 percent of adults live with roommates, with an estimated 30 percent of income going toward rent. The median rent is $1305 a month, rising from $1263 a year ago.
With rents continuing to increase and incomes staying stagnant, it’s no surprise that more and more adults, particularly in large metros, are seeking roommates to maintain their lifestyles.
• Doubled-Up for Dollars
• RV Living in the City: Dodging the Rent Crisis
• Rent Affordability Calculator