Is the Roommate Experience Lasting Longer for Young Adults?

roommates
getty
01
of 06

The Numbers are Big

roommates
Getty

Roommates used to be a temporary stop on the way to independence for most young adults. Fresh out of college, many 20-somethings could not support themselves financially on their own, and so they had roommates. Now, roommates at the age of 30 and even 40 and above are not uncommon - in fact, a survey by roommate matching service Spareroom.com found that 30% of roommates in the city of Dallas are 40 years old and over. Other large cities have similar numbers.

02
of 06

Costs are a Factor

Young women roommates
Getty

Many young adults who live in large metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Seattle, especially those at the beginning of their careers, are faced with living expenses that far outpace their income. For these young people, there is no other option but to live with a roommate, especially if they are far from family. With the average cost of a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles at $2,000 per month, splitting a two bedroom, at a cost of $2600 per month, is much more reasonable for lower-earning college graduates or anyone with financial difficulties. 

03
of 06

Life Can Get Lonely

roommates
Getty

With people leading extremely busy lives and more and more preferring Netflix over a night on the town, having a roommate can be a buffer against loneliness and isolation. Having someone to hang out with on an otherwise quiet Friday night is one of the benefits of having a roommate, along with the shared expenses. On the other hand, roommates often come with significant others who can become an unofficial 3rd member of the household, which can be crowded at best and problematic at worst. Keeping communication open and honest will keep living arrangements comfortable and amiable, and allow for friendships to stay solid.

04
of 06

Co-Living and Young Adults

group eating dinner
roommates

According to Pew Research, 7 in 10 millennials (born 1981-1996) are single as of 2014. Putting off marriage and having children leaves plenty of time for young adults to be on their own. While independence is something many young adults desire, living on their own is not always comfortable for a variety of reasons ranging from finances to social need. Sharing a living space with one or more roommates offers the opportunity to create an alternative family, different from the family of people they are actually related to. Co-living has become a popular alternative to living with only one roommate, harkening back to the days of communes, but with nicer beds and cleaner floors. A kind of "dorm for adults," co-living is a growing movement in like Silicon Valley, where astronomical rents make it nearly impossible to live with just one other person.

05
of 06

Mortgage with Friends

roommates
getty

 As the cost of housing continues to rise - in fact, skyrocket in some places - homeownership is harder and harder to attain. Coupled with the fact that young adults are waiting longer to marry, when many are able to purchase a home as they go from one income households to two income households, young adults who want to own a home are having to look for alternative financial arrangements to do so. Purchasing a home with a friend is becoming more and more common. While the process for purchasing a home as two individuals is not very complicated, the actual ownership of a home needs to be clearly laid out, as do living arrangements. Despite the more complex nature of this situation, many young adults are taking first step in home ownership buy joining forces with a friend.

06
of 06

Life Transitions

roommates
getty

Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you have to swing hard to make things work. Loss of a job, divorce, a cross-country move for work - any of those things can take an otherwise stable person and shake up their life. Moving into an already-established home where all you need to do is bring your clothes and a toothbrush can be a lifesaver during trying times, and being around people who are not connected to you in any way other than because you share a living space can be a relief. Whether it's a temporary situation or a long term one, wanting or needing to live with others, no matter your age, is nothing to feel bad about.