Why More Adults Are Choosing to Live With Roommates

The ‘American Dream’ no longer guarantees a place to yourself.

White Dining room

photography by COLIENA RENTMEESTER


Gone are the days of blasting music at 2 a.m. and raiding the refrigerator in your underwear. Well, at least that’s the case for 30 percent of American adults. According to a recent report by Zillow, more and more working adults across the country are opting to live with roommates or their parents in order to cut costs and living expenses. Apparently, sharing isn’t just caring anymore—it’s practically inevitable.

“As rents have outpaced incomes, living alone is no longer an option for many working-aged adults,” says Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas. “By sharing a home with roommates—or in some cases, with adult parents—working adults are able to afford to live in more desirable neighborhoods without shouldering the full cost alone.”

Places like Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Riverside, California are just a few areas that are experiencing a spike in double-up households (or households where two or more working-aged adults live together, but aren’t married or in a relationship). In these bustling metro areas, nearly 50 percent of adults have opted to live with roommates to avoid spending approximately a third (or sometimes more) of their monthly income on rent.

For young adults already working and living in major metro areas, this news may not come as much of a surprise. In cities like New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, roommates—from the ones you barely know from Craigslist to good ol’ Mom and Dad—are an essential. But for many adults who cherish their privacy and peace and quiet, this new reality proposes some challenges. Let’s face it, while living with your parents, fellow millennials, or friends, can make for an unforgettable experience (often in the best ways possible), navigating shared spaces can get pretty tricky. Whether you’re interviewing potential roommates (see our must-ask questions here) or settling on rooms—and attempting to divvy up rent accordingly—living with other people is hard. Oh, and did we forget to mention the perils of sharing a tiny bathroom?

Whether you’re already living cozy with four other friends or riding solo for the foreseeable future, it can never hurt to brush up on proper roommate etiquette. While, unfortunately, there’s no secret to a drama-free home, saying thank you for the little things and remembering to pick up after yourself is always a good place to start.

Published on December 14, 2017 - 2:00pm EST

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