Senior Renters Living with Roommates: Who Are They?
- Women make up a slightly larger share of seniors co-living in apartment properties.
- The income gap between co-living and all senior renters is relatively small, highlighting the important role of social factors in apartment sharing.
- Divorcees and those separated form the largest group of co-living seniors, possibly as a means to form new social connections and companionship.
More Senior Women Living in Apartment Shares
In a previous blog, we highlighted co-living among seniors (65 years and over) as an emerging trend. Factors driving this segment are both social and economic. In this article, we look at the renter segment by gender, income and marital status.
The latest Census data shows that seniors sharing apartments with roommates in small apartment properties were split equally along gender¹. In large asset multifamily, however, this balance skewed by 10% toward women.
Women’s preference for downtown-oriented, amenity-rich apartment buildings possibly comes from greater on-site security and ease of local accessibility. On the other hand, men had a 10% higher share in suburban-oriented single-family rentals (SFRs).
Income May Not Fully Explain Co-Living Choice
Turning to economic factors, the data indicates that individual income levels of senior renters do not vary drastically across living arrangements.
Seniors sharing apartments in small multifamily made around $23,300, compared to $26,200 for all senior renters within this property type. Additionally, seniors living alone earned only marginally more, at $28,300. This suggests that while income levels are important, they are not crucial in the decision to share housing.
While SFR and large apartment renters earn more, on average, than their small apartment counterparts, the gap between roommate renters and those living alone remains relatively small. Across all property types, gaps are less than $5,000 yearly.
Building Social Connections May Be Significant
Examining social factors like marital status provides interesting insights into the emerging profile of co-living seniors. Nearly half of all seniors living in shared apartments in small multifamily were either divorced or separated, while one-quarter of the renters in this segment never married.
These patterns are similar in SFR and large apartment properties for co-living seniors. However, they differ significantly from the overall senior renter profile, which includes more married and widowed individuals.
Given the growing interest and changed attitudes toward apartment living among retiring Baby Boomers, co-living could provide effective means for new social connections and finding companionship. Multifamily property operators will benefit from keeping a close eye on the emerging socio-economic characteristics of this demand segment.
1 All data is sourced from the American Community Survey (ACS), unless otherwise stated. ACS statistics are sample-based estimates of the compositional profile of the total population in the given year of data collection, and include a margin of error.