Survey: 44% of Americans Forced Into “Financial Cohabitation” Respondents living together to primarily afford rent report mental stress, depression, physical and emotional abuse New York, NY— A recent survey finds that many low to middle income Americans move in together out of financial need rather than personal choice, often inflicting an emotional and physical toll. When asked “are you or a friend or family member currently in a co-living arrangement mainly for financial reasons?” 44% of those surveyed replied “yes.” The NHP Foundation (NHPF), a not-for-profit provider of affordable housing, asked 500 people to describe these types of living arrangements and what, if any, hardships are associated with them. The highest percentage (52%) of those reporting a financially driven co-living situation are individuals with a total household income of less than $50,000 a year (described by The Pew Research Center as “lower-income household”), and 50% of that group entered into such situations less than two years ago. Of those queried, 51% were male and 41% female (non-binary individuals and those preferring not to say totaled less than 3% of respondents) Over half (51%) were aged 18-34, with nearly 40% aged between 35-54. Regionally, the highest percentage (65%) of those living together mainly for financial reasons reside in the West region (those states west of Texas). 54% can’t afford rent. When asked which factors most contributed to a financially motivated co-living arrangement, highlights included:
• (54%) Inability to afford to pay rent independently • (48%) Job loss • (40%) Circumstances caused by Covid-19 • (35%) Shortage of available housing
According to Freddie Mac, as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the U.S. had a housing supply deficit of 3.8 million units, and in 2019, 32% of all households were “housing cost burdened,” spending 30% or more of their income on housing.
Nearly one out of every five people in financially driven housing arrangements reports emotional and/or physical abuse.
While nearly one-third (29%) of those queried consider their situation “very positive” and another third as “somewhat positive”, the final third considers
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