- Richmond had the highest percentage of millennials living alone, at 15 percent.
- Cities with the highest shares of millennial renters on their own were small- to mid-sized cities.
- Chicago, Houston, New York City and Washington D.C. had a higher independent millennial renter population than the national average.
The number of millennials living alone has been declining since 2005, largely because of the rising cost of home prices and rent rates. According to a new report released by Zillow, about 9 percent of millennials are living with another individual.
The highest recorded percentage of millennials living alone is in Richmond, Virginia, where 15 percent of millennials have a place to themselves. Those millennials not living by themselves are likely to still be living at home or finding roommates to keep the rent affordable, Zillow reports.
There is also a sector of the millennial population living with a signficant other or small family in a rental.
According to another Zillow report, the percentage of 23- to 34-year-olds living with family members was dramatically on the rise by 46 percent from 2000 to 2013. In an attempt to save some money, 21 percent of millennials were still living at home with parents.
“With home prices and rents rising as fast as they are, it’s a common assumption that young adults in many cases cannot afford to live alone,” Zillow Chief Economist, Dr. Svenja Gudell, said in a statement.
In Richmond, where 15.2 percent of homes are affordable for millennials living alone, the median income for millennials sits at $49,500. And the job market is growing strong there, with year-over-year employment growth reported at 3.6 percent.
The metro areas where millennials are most likely to live alone are small- to mid-sized metros, including Pittsburgh, Buffalo, New Orleans and Austin.
Big metros mean big rents
Of the nation’s largest metro areas, Chicago has the largest percentage of millennials living alone. The city has a lower median income compared with New York City and Los Angeles at $46,000, but 11.1 percent of millennials are able to live alone.
Although this is certainly good news for millennials in the Windy City, annual job growth is slow, at 1.7 percent.
Despite the fact that NYC millennials may have a slightly rougher time living alone, about 9.7 percent live by themselves with a reported median income of $60,000. Millennials can afford 18.8 percent of homes. Job growth in the Big Apple is on par with the nation’s growth, at 2 percent.
L.A.’s job growth is a bit stronger, at 2.5 percent, and the median millennial income is between East Coast and Midwest cities at $50,000. However, only 8.1 percent of millennials live alone in L.A., which is under the national average.
In San Francisco, the median income for millennials is $66,000 and about 9.4 percent of millennials live alone. The share of homes that is affordable for millennials in the area is 15.5 percent. Despite high prices in the City by the Bay, the 3.7 percent annual job growth is making it possible for some millennials to live as they choose.
In the nation’s capital, where the median income for millennials is on par with NYC’s, 11.1 percent of Washington D.C. millennials are living on their own. The share of homes that are affordable for millennials sits at 3.4 percent in the nation’s capital, and annual job growth is a modest 2.1 percent.
While job growth is slow in Houston at 1.1 percent, 10.6 perecent of millennials are able to afford living by themselves with a median income of $45,000. In nearby Austin, which ranked no. 8 for the greatest percentage of millennials living independently, 13.4 percent of millennials live alone. The median income in Austin is $40,000, and job growth is strong at 4.6 percent.
Head south to Miami, and the median income is right on par with Austin at $40,000, but only 8.1 percent of millennials are living by themselves. The share of homes affordable for millennials was reported at 15.5 percent. Job growth in Miami is moderate at 3 percent.
“Though that may be true in some markets, there’s still a large number of amazing places across the U.S. that are prime for millennials to thrive independently,” Gudell said of those struggling to live solo. “These are places where young adults can easily find jobs at a competitive salary, and where housing expenses won’t eat up the majority of their income, enabling them to save more.”