6 Reasons Gen Z Can’t Afford To Pay Rent

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While previous generations have faced their own housing challenges, the Gen Z age range finds itself in a unique situation, grappling with mounting rent prices amidst a backdrop of social and economic uncertainty. Why are they finding it more challenging than other generations? Keep reading to learn more.

6 Reasons Gen Z Can’t Afford Rent

The end-of-month relief of a balanced bank account is short-lived for many. As the new month approaches, so does the impending rent due date. For Gen Z, this monthly cycle is exacerbated by specific challenges that make their situation stand out. Here are the top six reasons why Gen Z can’t afford to pay rent:

  1. Student loans
  2. The gig economy
  3. Rent prices outpacing earnings
  4. Lifestyle and social media pressures
  5. Delayed economic opportunities
  6. Lack of financial literacy and preparedness

1. Student Loans

Higher education, while valuable, comes at a cost. Many in the Gen Z bracket are grappling with hefty student loans. As college expenses surge, Gen Z finds themselves swamped with debt. With so much money directed towards loan repayment, there’s markedly less left over for necessities like rent.

2. The Gig Economy

The digital world offers tons of job opportunities. And while platforms like Uber Eats and DoorDash provide flexible employment, they also don’t guarantee steady earnings. This results in fluctuating paychecks for many in the Gen Z age range, making regular rent payments a challenge.

3. Rent Prices Outpacing Earnings

For Gen Z, the hope of a stable home is challenged by the stark reality of rent prices that soar much faster than wages. Today’s economic scene has many Gen Z individuals earning wages that don’t keep pace with inflation. The gap between income and the growing cost of living in many cities widens the difference between what Gen Z earns and owes.

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Why Is Rent So High?

Several factors are pushing rent prices up. These include:

  • Limited affordable housing
  • A surge in urban demand
  • Rising land and building costs
  • Zoning laws

Economic elements, such as inflation and desired locations also are factors. As more opt for renting over buying in high-priced regions, demand and rent escalate.

4. Lifestyle and Social Media Pressures

In today’s age of Instagram and TikTok, there’s an increased emphasis on portraying an idealized lifestyle. The allure of staying updated with the newest gadgets, fashion or social activities can quickly chip away at available funds. This kind of spending can strain budgets, making it even tougher to meet monthly rent demands.

5. Delayed Economic Opportunities

As Gen Z reached adulthood, the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis still cast a shadow over the job market. Many had to compete with experienced professionals for fewer positions. This environment has led many Gen Z individuals to either postpone their careers or accept positions that might not fully utilize their skills or education.

6. Lack of Financial Literacy and Preparedness

Many educational systems do not prioritize teaching personal finance or budgeting. This means that many young adults in the Gen Z age range often enter the “real world” without the knowledge of how to manage their finances efficiently. Without a proper understanding of budgeting, saving and investing, they might find themselves struggling more when faced with monthly rent and other bills.

What Percentage of Gen Z Rent?

A staggering 83% of Gen Z individuals currently rent. This highlights the housing challenges they face and shows the need for solutions in today’s economy.

Final Take

Gen Z’s housing challenges aren’t just about individual finance, they stem from broader economic trends and societal changes. With rising rent prices, it’s vital to understand these challenges to find solutions and pave a better path forward.

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Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Gen Z.

  • How old is Gen Z vs. millennial?
    • Gen Z refers to people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s, so their current age would range from around 10 to nearly 30 years old. Millennials were born from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, putting their age range between 30 and 40 years old.
  • What are the seven different generations?
    • The seven commonly referenced generations are:
      • The Silent Generation: Born between 1928 and 1945
      • Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964
      • Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1980
      • Millennials or Generation Y: Born between 1981 and 1996
      • Generation Z: Born between 1997 and 2012
      • Generation Alpha: Born from 2013 to 2024
      • Generation Beta: Born from 2025 to 2039
  • What is the difference between Gen Y and Gen Z?
    • Gen Y also known as millennials and Gen Z have lived through different pivotal moments. While Millennials experienced the dawn of the internet, recalling a pre-smartphone era, Gen Z has always known a digital world. Key events like economic downturns and global health crises have distinctly influenced Gen Z's perspective.
  • What is Gen Z?
    • Gen Z refers to those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s. They're synonymous with tech-savviness, digital communication and forward-thinking ideals. Events like global economic challenges, tech advancements and modern global issues like climate change have molded their experiences.

Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.

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