The trendy co-living spaces attracting millennials in New York and San Francisco are just the latest version of a concept that's been around for 200 years

As millennials look to cut back on costs, the number of renters living with roommates has been climbing, according to a recent article by The Atlantic. But today's co-living spaces are nothing new — they're just a modern-day version of yesterday's boarding house.

  • The Atlantic
  • Millennials
  • cohabitation

Millennial renters are doubling up — and it's not always out of desire.

A recent article by The Atlantic highlighted the rise of adults living with roommates: from 2005 to 2015, the number of Americans aged 18 to 34 with roommates increased by 23%, according to the US Census Bureau, and around 32% of American adults cohabited in 2017, according to the Pew Research Center. This doesn't count those living with a romantic partner, but does include those who live with their parents.

Atlantic writer Allie Volpe cited a number of reasons behind the trend that seems to have sprung out of necessity, thanks in part to the Great Recession: Higher housing costs, the burden of student loan debt, and delays in marriage.

Living with a roommate is a way to cut costs in trying times. While millennials have a 67% rise in wages since 1970

"The United States has seen this phenomenon before. As people moved to cities seeking work in the 19th century, boarding houses became hubs where diverse residents—immigrants, single men and women, workers of all kinds—could live affordably and mingle with others in shared spaces.

"Now, as housing becomes increasingly scarce and rents continue to rise (cities like Orlando, Salt Lake City, and Knoxville are experiencing the fastest rent growth in the country), the boarding-house experience is back, just at a smaller scale."

Renters are looking beyond the standard two- to three-bedroom apartment; communal living, or "co-living," spaces have been sprouting up in major cities, like New York and San Francisco — and they're just a modern-day version of yesterday's boarding house.

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