Depressing New Study Finds That College Grads Can't Afford to Live Anywhere

Bluuuuuugh.

Woman sitting at table staring hopelessly at her laptop
(Image credit: Mark Schafer/HBO)

If you're a recent graduate, we're willing to bet that the same thought goes through your mind whenever you watch a movie about early-20-somethings starting out after college: How the hell did they afford that apartment?

What's already a reality stretch is about to become a totally hilarious fantasy: Experts at real estate site Trulia (opens in new tab) studied the 25 largest rental markets in the USA and found that less than 19% were affordable for recent grads.

In theory, you're only supposed to spend 1/3 of your salary on rent. So if you live in Atlanta, where the median salary for recent graduates is $25,571, you can only afford a place that costs less than $661 per month, which leaves you with a whopping 8.7% of the homes in the area to choose from. Even the most affordable city, St. Louis, can only offer 18.6% of rental units.

The good news is that having a roommate (or two, three, or four) makes these apartments significantly more affordable, and as a bonus you've always got someone to watch TV and share take-out with.

Two girls eating Chinese takeout on a sofa

(Image credit: Marie Claire)
Diana Bruk
Viral Content Editor

My writing has regularly appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Salon, VICE, Guernica, The New York Observer, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Esquire, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more publications.

I was previously the Senior News Editor at Best Life Online and the Viral Content Editor in the Newsroom of Hearst Digital Media. My portfolio consists of a vast and diverse body of work that includes personal essays, lifestyle articles, breaking news posts, and viral content. My areas of expertise, however, are Russia, sex and relationships, and mental wellness.