Share Of Adults Living with Roommates Is Higher than Ever Before

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As rents across the country rise, many working adults are doubling up with roommates or parents in order to cut costs and share living expenses

  •  Across the country, 30% of adults live with either a roommate or parent, up eight percentage points since 2000.
  • Los Angeles, Riverside, Calif. and Miami have the greatest share of adults living with a roommate or parent. These metros also have some of the nation’s most expensive rents.
  • Americans making the national median income should expect to spend about 30 % of their monthly income on a rental payment, but in Los Angeles, renters spend almost half.

Nationally, nearly one in three adults live with a roommate or parent, the greatest share ever reported, according to a new Zillow® analysisii. As rental affordability deteriorates, more U.S. adults may be choosing double up in order to cut costs.

A doubled-up household is where two or more working-aged adults live together but aren’t married or in a relationship — this could mean two millennial roommates or an adult living with parents. The share of doubled-up households has been steadily rising since the late 1990s, when just 23 percent of adults lived together.

The rise in doubled-up households coincides with increasingly unaffordable rental prices nationwide. Americans making the national median income should expect to put about 30 percent of their monthly income toward a rental payment, but in some markets the share is even greater. In Los Angeles, renters spend almost half of their monthly income on rent. In San Francisco, renters spend 42 percent of their income on rent each month.

Living with Roommates

“As rents have outpaced incomes, living alone is no longer an option for many working-aged adults, said 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. But this phenomenon is not limited to expensive cities. The share of adults living with roommates has been on the rise in historically more affordable rental markets as well. Unless current dynamics shift and income growth exceeds rent growth for a sustained period of time, this trend is unlikely to change.”

Metros with the greatest share of adults doubling up also have some of the most expensive rents. In Los Angeles, almost 50 percent of adults live with a roommate or adult parent, the highest share of all markets analyzed. Los Angeles is the third most expensive rental market in the nation, with the median rent at $2,720 per month.

Riverside, Calif. and Miami metros also have a high percentage of doubled-up households. In Riverside, almost 45 percent of adults are doubled up, along with 41 percent in Miami. Both metros are among the seven most expensive rental markets when ranked by the share of income going toward the typical rent payment.

When renters decide to move to a new place, a recent rent increase was likely the catalyst, according to the 2017 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report. Almost 80 percent of renters who moved from a previous rental experienced a rent increase before moving. And when renters start searching for a new place to live, 77 percent indicate that the rental being within their price range is a top requirement.

Metropolitan  Area 2016 – Percent of Adults Living in Doubled-Up Households 2000 – Percent of Adults Living in Doubled-Up Households 2017 Q3 Rental Affordability Zillow Rent Indexvii
United States 30.2% 22.1% 29.1% $              1,432
New York, NY 40.0% 32.7% 39.3% $              2,393
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 45.5% 37.4% 48.4% $              2,720
Chicago, IL 32.4% 27.4% 29.7% $              1,651
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 30.0% 22.6% 30.2% $              1,596
Philadelphia, PA 33.0% 23.9% 27.7% $              1,578
Houston, TX 32.8% 24.3% 28.8% $              1,532
Washington, DC 34.6% 27.1% 26.1% $              2,133
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL 41.0% 30.1% 41.0% $              1,848
Atlanta, GA 31.7% 25.5% 26.0% $              1,379
Boston, MA 32.3% 25.3% 33.8% $              2,365
San Francisco, CA 38.5% 32.3% 42.4% $              3,379
Detroit, MI 29.5% 23.3% 24.9% $              1,181
Riverside, CA 43.7% 28.2% 36.7% $              1,840
Phoenix, AZ 32.2% 23.6% 27.3% $              1,344
Seattle, WA 28.3% 20.0% 30.2% $              2,198
Minneapolis-St Paul, MN 23.5% 17.5% 26.6% $              1,623
San Diego, CA 37.9% 28.6% 42.0% $              2,535
Saint Louis, MO 25.2% 18.7% 23.1% $              1,139
Tampa, FL 29.0% 19.1% 32.1% $              1,364
Baltimore, MD 33.4% 23.4% 27.4% $              1,730
Denver, CO 27.1% 20.7% 32.4% $              2,035
Pittsburgh, PA 24.5% 18.5% 22.5% $              1,067
Portland, OR 28.5% 20.2% 32.5% $              1,872
Charlotte, NC 26.4% 19.9% 26.9% $              1,284
Sacramento, CA 33.1% 21.7% 31.8% $              1,813
San Antonio, TX 37.2% 23.6% 28.0% $              1,335
Orlando, FL 35.0% 22.8% 32.0% $           1,430viii
Cincinnati, OH 24.0% 16.3% 25.6% $              1,273
Cleveland, OH 23.7% 20.3% 25.5% $              1,139
Kansas City, MO 23.1% 17.2% 23.8% $              1,268
Las Vegas, NV 36.4% 27.7% 28.0% $              1,284
Columbus, OH 24.2% 16.6% 25.9% $              1,324
Indianapolis, IN 25.0% 16.1% 25.3% $              1,206
San Jose, CA 38.6% 36.3% 38.5% $              3,488
Austin, TX 30.4% 23.0% 29.0% $              1,690


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Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

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