Throughout history, humans have organized themselves around their desire to live with others. City building, gender roles, workplace policies, and even taxes have evolved with two-person households in mind. But times have changed. Since the 1950s a quiet transformation has taken place. The number of people living alone is skyrocketing.
Across the world, one person households have increased by 80% in just 15 years. They’re up from 153 million in 1996 to 277 million in 2011 according to the market research firm Euromonitor International. In 2011, 45% of Canadian rental households were one-person, more than twice their 21% share in 1971. Over the same period, the proportion of homes with couples has plummeted.
If current trends continue, roommates will soon replace significant others as the people we most commonly share our twentysomething homes with. Depending on how you define a roommate, this change may be happening even faster than it appears. A 2014 report from Zillow found that the number of people living in houses with roommates has increased to almost one-third of all households, an increase of almost 30% since 2001.
But finding the elusive perfect roommate isn’t easy. The search begins much like that for a romantic partner, although in this case declaring a deadline doesn’t look so desperate. The announcement goes out to your network, and responses trickle back. The older you are, the more obscure the connections become. And because your high-school friend’s college friend’s cousin is practically Craigslist, soon you turn to the internet.
Many think roommate apps are aimed at people in university. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Never will one have more potential roommates, and lifemates, than at university. The average age of people at Apartmate’s roommate mixers is 29, but every month the ages range from twenty to seventysomething. And that’s for the best, as living with strangers requires a level of self awareness that can only be acquired over time.
And just as with dating, it’s important to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want. Finding your ideal roommate is more a game of selectively excluding those you know you won’t jive with than trying to be all things to all people. Everyone is a little bit nuts in their own special way. The key to finding the right roommate is to determine if your unique kinds of crazy are compatible.
To this end, Apartmate has borrowed a page from the clever and popular dating website, OkCupid. Our users create multiple choice questions about ordinary or irreverent things that they’d like to know about a potential roommate. When answering a question, they tell us their response, the answer of their ideal roommate, and how important the questions is to them. Using a bit of math, we calculate a match percentage that reflects how happy two people’s answers will make each other. In other words, how likely they are to get along with one another based on the questions they answered. This allows users to search through potential roommates to select not just those that fall within the right neighbourhood or rent range, but best match their personality, values and lifestyle.
We’re excited to finally have this feature off the ground and are looking forward to tweaking and perfecting our methods to help you find rental apartments and roommates you love coming home to. To add a question to our database, create a free profile and under your menu select ‘create questions’. If you have any feedback please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org