By Yuri Iwahara
When it comes to roommates, we all have certain deal-breakers. Maybe you have a dog allergy so you don’t want to live with your friend Alex and his twin dachshund puppies. Or you refuse to share a living space with a Republican who lectures you about birth control as you eat your Special K in the morning. Just personal preferences.
We’ve taken a sample of 1,700 randomly selected RoomZoom members to examine the raw data and observe some general trends that characterize our ever-evolving community. Small disclaimer: of course I do not intend to imply in any way that the data presents facts about generalized preferences outside of our sample; i.e., the world outside of RoomZoom.
I was particularly intrigued by the trends pertaining to the gender and sexuality of RoomZoom members. The once-taboo topics of gender identity and sexual orientation have, over time, become less stigmatized. Especially in the last few years, society has slowly begun to embrace discourse around these subjects and I was interested to see how RoomZoom users’ attitudes reflected that. I will only compare male-identified and female-identified individuals against each other in this study, as our data on other gender-identified individuals is currently not nearly as abundant.
Note: For simplicity’s sake, I will refer to anybody who identified as “gay,” “bisexual,” “other,” “queer,” “flexible,” or “fluid” under the umbrella term “queer.”
Gender vs. Budgets
Those who are female-identified have an average budget of $1,238 while those who are male-identified have the ever-so-slightly higher average budget of $1,241.
On the whole, there were not enormous discrepancies in the distribution of various budgets among the genders. The percentage breakdowns are fairly similar, varying by about three percentage points at the most.
Gender vs. Preferred Gender
Here’s where the data varies more dramatically between the male-identified and female-identified individuals.
Compared to male-identified users, a much larger portion of the female-identified users prefers to live with someone of the same gender identity.
Interestingly, out of all the females who prefer to live with another female, a mere .012% identify as queer. Meanwhile, out of the females who have no gender preference, 20.3% are queer-identified.
The male-identified users have quite a different tendency: out of all the males who prefer to live with another male, 35.6% are queer. Out of those who have no gender preference, 25.4% are queer-identified.
Note: If a user selected more than 1 preferred gender, the data presented the information as “no preference.”
Gender vs. Preferred Sexuality
A slightly larger percentage of our male-identified users say they would prefer to live with a straight person.
Predictably, 100% of both female- and male-identified users who prefer to live with a straight roommate identify as straight themselves.
Meanwhile, out of the females who have no preference about their roommate’s sexuality, 17.3% are queer. Out of the males who have no preference about their roommate’s sexuality, a much larger 31.3% are queer.
It is also worth noting that though only 17.7% of all female users indicate wanting to live with someone of their sexuality, 34.2% indicate that they wanted to live with someone of their gender (female). Of the 17.7% who say they prefer to live with someone of their own sexuality, all are straight.
In comparison, only 11.2% of all male users state that they prefer to live with someone of their gender (male), yet almost double that percentage (21.5%) say they want to live with someone of their sexuality. Of this 21.5%, all are straight.
Note: If a user selected more than one preferred sexuality, the data presented the information as “no preference.”
I found it quite striking that only 11.2% of males want a male roommate, yet more than triple that percentage (34.2%) of females want a roommate of their gender. This may suggest that women have more to worry about, or feel they do, when it comes to personal comfort or safety when living with men. Additionally, women seem to be more comfortable with a queer roommate, which can be seen as an indicator that they have a tendency to be more open-minded.
It strikes me as odd that such a small portion of the male-identified are concerned about their roommate’s gender, yet almost twice as many are selective about their roommate’s sexuality. That is, 66% of males who want a straight roommate didn’t indicate any gender preference. Personally, it seems illogical to me that a straight male would be fine living with a straight female but not a gay male.
That said, the data cannot show us the reasoning behind these choices, or how aware people are of the vast spectrum of gender and sexual identity. We still have a ways to go when it comes to educating those around us about these topics and in that, creating a more open-minded society.
Of course, there is plenty more insight to be found in our user data, which will be further explored in the future.
Yuri Iwahara listens to sixties jazz when she’s cooking in the kitchen. She’ll talk to you about art, plants, or that bizarre online article you just read.
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