Gen Z’s Housing Anguish

An enduring image of urban American 20-somethings is one of carefree living with friends in spacious apartments, as depicted in shows like “Friends” or “How I Met Your Mother.” That portrayal, never really all that close to reality, is growing further from it in part because of one factor: high rent.

For years, we’ve been told that what you pay for housing shouldn’t exceed 30 percent of your monthly income. I knew that sticking to that maxim was getting harder for many people because housing costs have soared in the past few years, which I’ve written about as a reporter for The Times’s Real Estate section. Still, I was struck by a recent report that found that a median-income American household would need to break the 30 percent rule just to afford an average-priced apartment. If that was the case, how realistic was this principle?

Not very, especially for many Gen Z adults who have recently moved into their first homes and are early in their careers. My colleague Karen Hanley and I spoke with dozens of them across the country for a story that recently published about how they’re living with high housing costs. Many were setting aside the pursuit of certain passions or career paths, migrating out of big cities or moving back home with their parents. Most said they couldn’t imagine a future in which they owned a home; some even laughed at the prospect.

One 24-year-old, Ives Williams, who lives in Baltimore and spends half of his monthly income on rent, said the only way he could see himself owning a home one day was if he bought one with friends. It’d be like “one big sleepover,” he joked.

We also wanted to learn what it feels like to be spending such a large chunk of income on rent. Is this how young people imagined adult life?

Savannah Scott, a 23-year-old renter in Reno, Nev., told us that she spends about 75 percent of her monthly income on rent. She limits her driving to once a week and buys only basics at the grocery store (“brown rice and beans”). Kellie Beck, 25, in Brooklyn, spends around 40 percent of her income on rent. She shares a room with her partner in an apartment with two other roommates and said she turns down opportunities to spend time with friends. “One night at a restaurant wipes out my spending for the week,” she explained.

Most of the conversations we had carried an air of hopelessness about homeownership. For many Gen Z adults, it is a dying part of the American dream.

Read more in our story here.

For more

  • “Where’s the escape hatch?” Young people are moving in with their partners to save on rent.

  • Millennials — who had their own tough start to adulthood — are seeing financial trends improve, Jean Twenge argues in The Atlantic.

  • One TikToker inspired hundreds of people to move to a Midwestern city for affordable housing.


Hawaii Fires

Damage in Lahaina.Credit…Philip Cheung for The New York Times
  • The death toll from the firestorm in the Maui town of Lahaina reached 93. It’s the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century.

  • Maui has 80 warning sirens but activated none of them in response to the fire.

  • The state’s largest utility had no plan to cut power to prevent further ignitions even after flames began consuming the island.

  • These maps show how much the fires destroyed.


  • Donald Trump needled Ron DeSantis at the Iowa State Fair, buzzing his plane overhead during his rival’s appearance.

  • Two witnesses said they were subpoenaed to appear before the Georgia grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

  • Trump has turned criminal charges into campaign assets through sympathetic coverage in conservative media, fund-raising help from the Republican Party and other political levers.

  • Conservative elected officials are pushing to restrain or oust Democratic prosecutors who have promised reform.

Hunter Biden

  • Republicans criticized the elevation of David Weiss, the prosecutor in the Hunter Biden inquiry, to special counsel status, saying he had been too lenient.

  • With a special counsel overseeing the investigation, it may be harder for the White House to dismiss questions about Hunter’s conduct as politically motivated.

Other Big Stories

  • A man once sidelined by Volodymyr Zelensky as a symbol of corruption in Ukraine is now an invaluable supplier of weapons for the war.

  • There’s a new Covid variant spreading in the U.S., but experts say it poses no more substantial threat than previous versions.

  • Inexpensive gadgets called switches convert ordinary pistols into fully automatic weapons, making them deadlier and fueling the nation’s gun violence epidemic.

  • Israel’s politically powerful ultra-Orthodox minority wants to bar women and men from mixing in many public arenas.


Prisoners with dementia challenge common rationales for incarceration, Katie Engelhart writes.

Here’s a column by Paul Krugman on the Chinese economy.

The Sunday question: Is the U.S. credit rating’s downgrade a surprise?

The credit-rating agency Fitch downgraded the U.S. to an AA+ rating from AAA, citing a growing government debt burden. “Fitch’s rationale is flawed,” The Washington Post’s editorial board writes, calling U.S. debt “one of the safest assets on the planet.” But The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board argues the downgrade “may even be an overly optimistic assessment,” pointing to what it calls runaway government spending.


A reminder: You’re probably oversharing on Venmo.

Vows: At 90, he came out as gay in a viral Facebook post. Then he met his partner, who is almost 60 years younger.

Lives Lived: Tom Jones wrote the book and lyrics for a musical called “The Fantasticks” that opened in 1960 in Greenwich Village and ran for an astonishing 42 years. He died at 95.


Credit…Photo illustration by Bráulio Amado

By David Marchese

The Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, a best-selling author and former interpreter for the Dalai Lama, has been called “the world’s happiest man.” I spoke to him about compassion.

How are we supposed to deal gracefully with our polar opposites in a world that feels increasingly about polarities? I mean, the Dalai Lama could talk to Vladimir Putin all he wants, but Putin’s not going to say, “Your compassion has changed me.”

When we speak of compassion, you want everybody to find happiness. It has to be universal. You may say that Putin and Bashar al-Assad are the scum of humanity and rightly so. But compassion is about remedying the suffering and its cause. You can wish that the system that allowed someone like that to emerge is changed.

But why does compassion have to be universal?

Because this is different from moral judgment. It doesn’t prevent you from saying those are walking psychopaths. But compassion is to remedy suffering wherever it is, whatever form it takes, and whomever causes it. If someone beats you with a stick, you don’t get angry with the stick, you get angry with the person. These people we are talking about are like sticks in the hands of ignorance and hatred.

Is there a thought that you can suggest to people that they can carry in their minds that might be helpful to them as they go through life’s challenges?

If you can cultivate that quality of human warmth, wanting genuinely for other people to be happy; that’s the best way to fulfill your own happiness. This is also the most gratifying state of mind. If we try humbly to enhance our benevolence, that will be the best way to have a good life.

Read more of the interview here.

More from the magazine

  • Rap has transformed the English language, bringing Black vernacular’s vibrancy to the world.

  • The West Coast rapper Too Short is an unsung pioneer of the genre.

  • Read the full issue.


The Ripped Bodice bookshop in Brooklyn.Credit…Adrienne Grunwald for The New York Times

Engaged fans: The romance genre might have once been considered tacky, if popular. Now it’s becoming more accepted.

Thrillers: A spy novelist has recommendations.

Our editors’ picks: “Close to Home,” a debut novel about a striving Irishman, and eight other books.

Times best sellers: “The Wager,” by David Grann, leads the hardcover nonfiction list.


Freeze watermelon for a daiquiri.

Send your kids to school with these dorm essentials.

Pack these backpacks for travel.

Watch “The O.C.,” which just hit its 20th anniversary.


What to Watch For

  • Amazon executives are scheduled to meet this week with members of the Federal Trade Commission, which is contemplating an antitrust lawsuit against the company.

  • The Georgia investigation into Donald Trump and election interference is expected to go before a grand jury on Tuesday.

  • President Biden will travel to Milwaukee on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law.

  • Spain and Sweden will face off in the first Women’s World Cup semifinal on Tuesday, and Australia and England will meet in the second on Wednesday. The final is a week from today.

  • Kai Carlo Cenat III, the social media streamer whose promised video-game console giveaway unspooled chaos last week in Manhattan, is due in court on Friday on charges of inciting a riot.

What to Cook This Week

Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Judy Kim.

A perfect tomato is a summery revelation, Emily Weinstein writes in her Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter, with recipes that take advantage of the season. Try basil and tomato fried rice, a coconut fish and tomato bake or a new recipe for grated tomato pasta.


Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangrams were compile and polemic.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Test your knowledge of history with The Times’s new weekly quiz, Flashback.

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times.

. Reach our team at [email protected].

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