Nov 27, 2023 - Real Estate

Renting alone is too expensive for Gen Z in Philly

Share of renters who live alone by metro area, 2022
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Map: Erin Davis and Alice Feng/Axios

Fifty-one is the new 25, at least when it comes to living alone in the Philadelphia metro.

Why it matters: That's about the average age of a solo renter in the region, according to the latest census data. Many young Americans are splitting steep rents that eat into their income.

The big picture: Squeezed Gen Zers are moving in together or leaving big cities.

  • Some are getting creative: Manhattan transplant Piper Phillips shared a one-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and a friend.
  • More are returning to their childhood bedrooms. The number of Americans ages 25-34 living at home has jumped over 87% in the past two decades, per census data.

Reality check: It's not just the East and West coasts that are out of reach. Solo living is unaffordable in many of the country's biggest cities, including Charlotte, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina, according to the Economist's Carrie Bradshaw index.

  • In the Philly metro, 21% of renters lived alone in 2022, compared with 17.6% nationally, census data shows.

Between the lines: Senior living is expanding as America ages.

The intrigue: Apartment developers are courting younger empty nesters, dangling prime locations, easy living and resort amenities.

  • More senior communities look like modern luxury apartments, with some sporting pet wash stations, private liquor lockers and yoga studios.

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