Baby boomers are the fastest growing segment of roommate seekers, growing twice as fast as any other group. SpareRoom reports that, according to date from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, people over the age of 50 living with roommates has grown by 27 percent in the past year, with a total number of 2.6 million older people living with non-relative roommates.
“People think of apartment sharing as a young person’s game, but that’s no longer the case,” says Tom MacThomas, SpareRoom’s US General Manager. “The over 50s might not be the biggest group of roommates but they’re definitely the fastest growing.”
Rising cost of living across the U.S. as well as inflation means that many older Americans are seeking roommates as a financially-sound alternative to living alone. Additionally, life changes such as divorce means that many are seeking roommates for the first time in their lives.
For renters, having a roommate could save those 50 and older over $25,000 a year. MacThomas cites the financial benefit as one of the reasons for the growth among older roommate-seekers.
“Rents have risen far more over the past decade than salaries. That means some people are lifelong renters, while another group are coming back to sharing, or even sharing for the first time, in their 50s. It’s a trend we see continuing well into the next decade, if not further ahead.”
Despite the financial benefits, millennials are still more likely than those aged 50 and up to cite finances as a reason for seeking a roommate. According to data, 91 percent of millennials choose roommates for the financial benefits, compared to 89 percent of baby boomers. Additionally, just 41 percent of millennials state that they can live alone but choose to live with roommates, compared to 55 percent of baby boomers who have the finances to live alone, but choose to live with roommates.