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In New York, 40% of adult renters are living with a roommate

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As the cost of living rises, renters need to double up to make do

Richard Cavalleri /

A recent StreetEasy study revealed that roughly 40 percent of New Yorkers aren’t earning the amount needed to be able to afford rent in NYC, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that about 40 percent of renters are in what Zillow calls “doubled up households.”

The real estate site analyzed data collected by the U.S. census to get a sense of how many working-age adults were living with either roommates or family members. Per Zillow’s definition, a doubled up household is defined as one “in which at least two working-age, unmarried or un-partnered adults live together” who might choose to live apart “under different circumstances, financial or otherwise.” Zillow found that nationally, 30 percent of adults between the ages of 23 and 65 live in these doubled-up households, up from 21 percent in 2005.

Unsurprisingly, the number is significantly higher in New York City, where 40 percent of adults reside in a doubled-up household. While the study notes that not all doubling up is due to affordability concerns, evidence suggests that financial circumstances do play a significant role in the decision.


Here are a few more key takeaways:

  • Since 2005, the share of adults doubling up has increased year-over-year in every age bracket. The share of adults aged 23 to 29 living in doubled-up households has climbed faster than any other age bracket, from 39 percent to 54 percent in just 11 years.
  • The percentage of double-up renters in NYC is higher than the national average. The national average of renters living with roommates is 30 percent, compared to New York’s nearly 40 percent.
  • As the percentage of household income devoted to rent rises, so does the number up doubled-up households. In NYC, as affordability worsens, people are driven more and more to either reside with family members or to seek out roommates.
  • As Rents Rise, More Renters Turn to Doubling Up [Zillow]
  • Most NYers make less than what's needed to rent in NYC: report [Curbed]