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Cost of Living in New York, NY 2022

April 26, 2022

New York City is a cultural hub, financial center, and media hotbed with something for just about anyone. New York City is the arts. It's fashion, education, technology, entertainment, sports, and more, all rolled up into a neat five-borough package.

Known for its legendary skyline and status as a bonafide megacity, New York City draws thousands of new residents every year.

Of course, every new resident of the Big Apple must contend with a high cost of living. It's difficult to live comfortably in a city that requires you to spend most of your paycheck on rent.

However, it is possible to successfully make the move to New York, provided you take care to plan your budget thoroughly.

This guide will help any new prospective NYC resident build their budget to live comfortably in the Big City. Here's everything you need to know about the cost of living in New York City.

New York City Housing Costs

It's a well-known fact that New York City sports a high cost of living due, in large part, to its notoriously high rent prices. As the city is so large and is divided into boroughs that encompass entire counties, the average rent price for the entire city of New York can be misleading.

Rent prices vary dramatically by borough and even by neighborhood. Alongside the hard numbers, you’ll need to consider New York City rent trends. The COVID pandemic impacted the city’s rent rates and generally caused drops, followed by a steady rise. The city is in the process of recovering. The current median rent in New York is $2,045 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,152 for a two-bedroom.

If you want to save more by renting with roommates, be sure to do so safely.

New York City Transportation

As one of New York's most famous features, the New York public transportation system is one of the most comprehensive systems in the world. Not to mention, it runs 24/7, which helped the city earn its nickname as “The City That Never Sleeps.”

It's the driving force behind New York's impressive status as the only city in the US that boasts a majority of households without personal vehicles.

The vast majority of New York residents commute to work via public transportation, biking, or walking.

The average single NYC resident spends $4,303 on transportation costs annually, while a family of four with two children spends $11,727. You can cut these costs down by using public transportation as your primary method of getting around.

A 30-day unlimited MetroCard pass costs a low $127, which translates to $1,524 annually for unlimited access to the subway and local buses.

In short, if you make the move to NYC, be prepared to spend some time learning how to navigate the city's massive public transportation system if you want to save big.

New York City Food Costs

From pizza to hot dogs to a viable treasure trove of ethnic cuisine options, New York provides it all in terms of food. If you plan to dine out at all in the city, you'll need to account for those costs in your budget.

A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost you $100, including gratuity.

However, the omnipresent food carts and stalls that adorn New York's streets will likely be more common food stops for you. The famed $5 hotdog, soda, and chips combo might not be the healthiest meal out there, but it's delicious, convenient, and cheap.

If you want to keep costs down and enjoy your time in the kitchen, you can expect to pay $4,041 annually or $336.75 monthly for groceries. If you're feeding a family of four, you can expect to pay $10,806 annually or $900.50 monthly.

Head to your local Aldi for low-cost grocery options. However, if you're looking for more options and at a slightly higher cost, head to the newly opened Wegmans. This grocery store has earned its cult following. Seriously, check out their cheese section.

New York City Healthcare Costs

Healthcare is a necessary expense that you'll have to include in your moving budget.

In New York City, the average resident pays $2,779 annually toward an employer-sponsored health insurance policy, while a family of four pays $7,924.

New York City has several city-operated health clinics dedicated to delivering free or low-cost healthcare. Additionally, you can find information about health insurance enrollment and options on the city's Health Department webpage.

However, if you need to purchase your own private insurance, head over to Healthcare.gov to find affordable coverage that meets your needs.

New York City Utilities

The average utility costs in New York City amount to $162.82 monthly or $1,953.84 for the year. This rate accounts for basic utilities, including water, electricity, and gas.

That said, your utility rates may differ based on your personal preferences, your apartment, and your lease agreement.

That said, it's important to include cell phones and internet service when estimating your utilities.

The average US resident pays $94 monthly for their cell phone service and around $45 for internet service, meaning you'll need to account for an additional $139 in your budget.

As a new resident, you may qualify for new customer discounts and incentives, so be sure to do your research to find the best deal.

Fitness and Entertainment

The average single New York City resident spends $1,702 on fitness and entertainment costs annually. A family of four spends $3,879.

So, where do these funds go? We've got a breakdown of some of the most popular fitness and entertainment options that the city has to offer and how much they'll cost you. Let's dive in.

New York City Fitness Costs

Fitness is an important aspect of healthy living. Luckily, there are tons of ways to stay fit that you can choose based on your budget.

You might be someone who works best with a tribe of like-minded lifters. If so, expect to spend around $108.23 monthly for a gym membership.

If you're keen on fitness and cost-efficiency, you might enjoy home gym sessions that allow you to work up a sweat in your living room. A fitness app like Peloton might be your best bet. At $12.99 a month, it's a steal.

Find a New Favorite Park

Although Central Park gets all the hype, New York plays host to over 1,700 parks. These parks are free, fun, and offer fitness opportunities for the whole family.

Whether you're an everyday jogger, a tennis fanatic, or a birder, a day out at one of NYC's parks presents the opportunity for entertainment and fun. Better yet, it's free — your bank account will thank you.

Catch a Game in the City

In New York, you have at least two home-team options for every major sport in the US.

Like basketball? Root for the Knicks or the Nets. Football? The Giants or the Jets. Baseball? The Yankees or the Nets. (Rhyme much?)

Regardless of the team, you're rooting for, you'll need to consider the cost of attending a game in your budget. Here's a breakdown of the average ticket costs for some of New York's sports teams.

  • New York Knicks: $394
  • Brooklyn Nets: $150
  • New York Mets: $61
  • New York Yankees: $54
  • New York Giants: $115
  • New York Jets: $94

Head to a Museum

Whether you're a culture buff, an art lover, or simply looking for an inexpensive way to kill a few hours over the weekend, New York City's museums will deliver.

The city is home to a collection of museums, famous throughout the world. If you move to the city, they'll be right in your backyard.

Of course, museum visits will take a hit to your budget. Here's a breakdown of the general admission costs for an adult at some of the best museums in NYC.

  • The Museum of Modern Art: $25.00
  • The Guggenheim: $25.00
  • The Met: $25.00
  • The Museum of Natural History: $23.00
  • The New Museum: $18.00

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for free or low-cost days or nights. Museums generally offer a few of these each month or on a regular schedule. It's a great way to get more bang for your buck.

Other Expenses to Consider in New York City

The budget for your move to New York City should be airtight, meaning you'll have to account for the expenses that typically get forgotten on most budgets.

We've got you covered with an in-depth look at the hidden costs of living in New York City.

  • Sales Tax: The combined city and state sales tax rate in New York City is 8.5%, but can vary depending on what you purchase and its cost.
  • Income Tax: New York State levies an income tax rate on a sliding scale. Depending on your income, you can expect to pay anywhere from 4% to 10.90% in income tax. Additionally, you'll have to pay the city's imposed income tax which ranges from 3.078% to 3.876%, depending on your income.
  • Parking Costs: The average cost of monthly parking in New York is $570 per month or $6,840 annually. You'll have to consider this cost on top of the 10.375% tax and an additional 8% surtax on parking, garaging, or storing cars in Manhattan.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in New York City?

When budgeting to live comfortably in a new city, it’s important to utilize the standard rule of three. This rule simply states that to live comfortably and afford rent, one should earn at least three times the monthly rent before taxes.

For example, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in NY is $2,068. To live comfortably, a resident would need to earn at least $82,637 a year.

That's pretty steep.

That said, it’s important to note that some New York City property management companies require prospective renters to earn at least 40 times the monthly rent. Be sure to check tenant salary requirements before submitting a rental application.

You may be able to circumvent that requirement by renting as a subletter.

Final Thoughts

Moving to New York City is challenging; there's no way around it. However, if you budget correctly and catch a great deal on your dream apartment, you'll be living in the Big Apple in no time.

Ready to start your New York City apartment hunt? Take our quiz!

FAQs: What to Know About the Cost of Living in New York

How expensive is an apartment in New York?

New York rents are notoriously expensive, but it also depends on which borough you live in. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in New York is $2,045. A two-bedroom apartment costs $2,152 in New York.

Rents vary depending on the borough you live in. A one-bedroom apartment in New York costs $4,163 if you live in Manhattan. A two-bedroom apartment in New York costs $5,874 when you live in Manhattan. If you live in Brooklyn, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,100. A two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn costs $3,547.

What is the cheapest rent in New York?

New York rents are notoriously expensive, but it also depends on which borough you live in. Overall, the cheapest rent in New York is $2,068 for a one-bedroom apartment.

How expensive is it to live in New York?

The rent averages $2,068 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in New York. It costs $4,303 on transportation costs annually for one person. A family of four with two children will spend around $11,727 a year.

Food in New York costs $4,041 annually or $336.75 monthly for groceries. If you want to eat out in New York, you'll spend at least $100 at a mid-range restaurant for two for a three-course meal, including gratuity.

How far is New York from Boston?

It's almost 216 miles between New York City and Boston. Depending on the traffic, it takes about four hours to drive from New York City to Boston.

How far is Connecticut from New York?

New York is 100.3 miles from Connecticut. It takes almost 2 hours and 30 minutes in moderate traffic to get from New York to Connecticut. You can take i-684 and I-84 E from New York to Connecticut. Train service is also available.

How far is New Jersey from New York?

It is 71.1 miles from New York to New Jersey. It will take almost two hours to drive between New York and New Jersey using I-95 S. Some public transportation options are available by train and bus.

How far is Chicago from New York?

New York is 790.1 miles from Chicago. It takes about thirteen hours to drive from New York to Chicago via I-80 W. Amtrak, and flight service is also available between New York and Chicago.

What is the population of New York City?

According to the US Census Bureau, the population of New York City was 8,804,190 in 2020. The entire population of the state of New York is 20,201,249.

Is San Francisco cheaper than New York?

San Francisco is currently more expensive than New York City. Our Rent Report shows that a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco costs $2,360. For comparison, a one-bedroom apartment in New York City costs $2,068. San Francisco rents rose 13.0% in the last year. In New York City, rents rose 33.3% during the same time period.

Is Boston cheaper than New York?

Boston is currently cheaper than New York City. A one-bedroom apartment in Boston costs $2,016, and a one-bedroom apartment in New York City costs $2,068. Our Rent Report shows that Boston rents have increased 17.8% compared to this time last year. The rents in New York City climbed 33.3% over the same period.

Is Chicago cheaper than New York?

Yes, Chicago is cheaper than New York City. According to our Rent Report, Chicago rents have increased by 12.5% year-over-year. Rents in New York City climbed 33.3% over the same period. You'll also find a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago costs $1,285, and a one-bedroom apartment in New York City costs $2,068.

What is a good salary in New York?

The Census Bureau reports that the median salary in New York City is $67,068. If you want to spend the recommended 30% of your income on rent, you will need to earn $82,720 to live in a one-bedroom apartment in New York. Living in one of the outer boroughs or moving in with a roommate could help lower living expenses.

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Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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