New York City Roommates By The Numbers

Hey Symbi Readers!

Two key things you should know about us? We’re proud data nerds, and we’re big on numbers.

Why do we like numbers so much? Well, in an earlier post, we mentioned that New York City, population of 8.4 million, has been growing at a rate of around 1% a year — far faster than the national average of 0.7%. Tied with San Francisco for the auspicious title of “most expensive city,” NYC is, by necessity, a city of renters, and the number of households with non-family roommates has increased dramatically over the past decade.

If you live in the city that never sleeps, you likely share an apartment with others. We also get that your roommate relationship — whether good or bad — has a mental, emotional, and psychological impact on your day-to-day life here in NYC.

And when it comes to finding a great roommate or apartment match, data helps us help you! The more data we collect, the more stats we research, the more New Yorkers we talk to, the more Zabar’s bagels we eat (because food helps us think), the more we learn.

But, hey, we don’t want to keep it all to ourselves. We’ve compiled some of our favorite datapoints and tips for you. Read on for some research tidbits:

Single? Renting? You’re not alone.

According to Census data, about a third of NYC’s population is single, which, combined with nationwide numbers, tells us a lot. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University  (JCHS) claims that uncoupled folks account for about 35 % of renters in the U.S. today.

In this sweet infographic from New York City Economic Development Corporation, you can see the breakdown — by neighborhood — of single men and single women between the ages of 20 and 34 living in the Big Apple. Washington Heights and Flushing are among those areas with the most single men. The Upper East Side is a hub for single ladies.

There’s a reason OkCupid is headquartered here, right? Right.

Single Men vs. Single Women

If you’re a Millennial, you dominate the roommate market. For now.

NYC has long been a magnet for 20-somethings. The top areas for Gen Y include the West Side, the Upper East Side, Yonkers, and Forest Hills, according to And, yes, to make the city’s sky-high rents work, most Millennials share their living space with others. The New York Times notes that 46 % of Millennials who moved in from out of state between 2006 and 2008 found themselves with 2-4 roommates in NYC apartments.

However, the demographics of Big Apple renters with roommates present some surprises. For example, according to a recent survey, 27% of NYC renters are over 35 years, and 20% are past 40. A recent report echoes this, stating that42% of New Yorkers aged 23 to 65 live with roommates!

So the number of middle-aged New Yorkers living with roommates is on the rise. Why, you may ask? Some of them seek to stay close to family. Others, like this Boomer Roomie pair, find comfort in companionship after divorce or death of a spouse. And conveniences like public transit definitely don’t hurt, either.

Young Adults in NYC

Got a furry friend as your roommate? Move here.

The Huffington Post names Manhattan and Brooklyn — in particular, Stuyvesant Town, Dumbo, and Brooklyn Navy Yard. Urban Edge also has a list of the top 10 dog-friendly neighborhoods in NYC, which includes the Upper East Side (Manhattan) and Park Slope (Brooklyn).

As revealed by this urbanite’s apartment search, chronicled by the New York Times, even advertised pet-friendly buildings have their limits. Pet size and behavior — loud barking in response to a doorbell, for instance — often pose barriers. But they don’t have to! Terri Karush Rogers, founder of Brick Underground, offers tips on how to get your dog past a co-op board here. (Number one? Skip the interview.)

Feel smarter?

Glad we could provide you with some new facts for your next cocktail party (or roommate night!). Curious about how we’re putting research into practice? Sign up for Symbi for free today, and benefit from our unique roommate and apartment-matching service!

Also, check out this interactive map of how NYC will look in 15 years, because it’s really awesome.

Happy reading!

-Lily Barrett

Symbi Contributor


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