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Cohousing's Diversity Problem

Despite its potential, 95 percent of U.S. cohousers are white, 82 percent identify as Democrats, and 66 percent hold a graduate degree, according to one study.
“The joke around cohousing is, ‘[Yeah,] we have diversity in our neighborhood—we have Subarus that are three different colors,’” says Alan O’Hashi, a Boulder cohousing resident who leads cultural competency workshops.
“The joke around cohousing is, ‘[Yeah,] we have diversity in our neighborhood—we have Subarus that are three different colors,’” says Alan O’Hashi, a Boulder cohousing resident who leads cultural competency workshops.Jim Cole/AP

Small but passionate, the cohousing movement in the United States is growing.

With 163 communities located around the country and many others in development, the Danish import that arrived here a quarter century ago is gaining ground. The concept is a powerful tool for community building: residents have private homes but share common spaces where they can socialize and eat together, and they manage the complex jointly, often making decisions by consensus. It provides a clear framework for bridging different viewpoints and lifestyles, and the proximity of homes and cozy vibe encourage people to lean on one another.