Number of doubled-up households rising: Zillow

October 14, 2014

SEATTLE (10/15/14)--With rents and home prices continuing to trend higher, U.S. citizens are more often finding roommates to help drive down housing expenses.  

About 32% of working-age adults--those ages 23 to 65--live in "doubled-up" households, according to the online real estate database site Zillow, based out of Seattle.

That number is up 25% from 2000 levels and 26% up from 1990. Zillow defines doubled-up households as those where at least two working-age, unmarried or un-partnered adults live together.

"Some individuals do choose to live with others for companionship," Zillow said in its report. "But the relatively lower individual incomes of employed adults living in doubled-up households, and the strong relationship between rental affordability and the share of adults in doubled-up households over time ... suggests that sharing living expenses is more than a matter of taste."

Zillow found that employed adults in the United States who live in doubled-up households earn only 76.3% of what the general working population makes, or about 76 cents for every dollar made by all working adults.

Further, the percentage of adults who live in doubled-up households increases in more expensive markets.

Americans also appear to be spending higher percentages of their incomes on housing, which also contributes to the higher rates of doubled-up households, Zillow said.

The average U.S. citizen who rents spends 29% of their income on rent, compared with 25% in 2000 and 24% in 1990.