Some of the more common complaints I hear from my friends about post-college life include the lack of affordable housing options, old friends drifting apart, and the challenges of meeting new ones. During college, many students either shared apartments with their friends or lived in the dorms. As a result, their cost of living was often divided by two, three, or sometimes even four friends. Furthermore, a vast majority of students lived within walking distance of campus and each other, so coordinating dinners, hangouts, or study groups was not a problem. In general, the college ambience also tends to be very conducive to meeting new people and making new friends.
Upon graduation and entering the workforce, however, many find that the freedom of living alone comes at a cost. This is especially true for new graduates who choose to move to high-cost locations like the Bay Area. After spending a significant portion of their income on rent and other essential costs, these new graduates may find themselves living paycheck to paycheck, or even having to rely on their parents for money. After working 8+ hour workdays, many also find themselves too physically and mentally drained to plan meet-ups with existing friends, much less go out and meet new ones.
Communal living is one of many great solutions to these pains. In the Bay Area, where rent prices have skyrocketed in recent years, many have chosen to live in communes to “capture the lifestyle of someone who earns $20,000 to $30,000 a year more.” This way of life has attracted a motley assortment of individuals, and seems to be especially popular among tech entrepreneurs, many of whom view communal living as an upgrade rather than a sacrifice.
Below are some statistics on communal living in the U.S. (which excludes data from families that live together). While we can see that the majority of people still choose to live alone, there are significant numbers of people who have roommates or are at least willing to live with multiple people.
Currently, there are approximately 50 communal living spaces in the Bay Area, with many more planned to pop up in the near future.
20Mission is a great example of a co-living space that embodies the essence of young “art and technology creators” in San Francisco. Located in the heart of the Mission District, the 41 room community is a great option for those searching for culture and great food. They even accept Bitcoin as payment!
Check out the Bay Area Cooperative Association if you're considering trying out communal living in the Bay.