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New York Cost of Living

New York mostly called New York City usually to differentiate it from the State of New York, is one of the most exciting cities in the United States, it is the most populated city with over 8 million people. This dynamic city is a financial, art, cultural, and entertainment center, attracting people from all walks of live. Annually, millions of tourists both local and international visit this magecity, The Big Apple as it’s often called for sightseeing.

New York is one of the most expensive places to live the US and it’s generally challenging to live in a city that requires you spend most of your salary on rent. According to Numbeo living in New York is more expensive than living in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and even San Francisco.

The cost of rent in New York City is considered to be one of the most expensive in the country, the same with the cost of food. Sometime in the year, the average monthly bill for grocery in NYC was about $486 compared with about $348 in the United States as a whole.

However, there are ways to plan your budget if you intend to live in New York City. The city of New York consist of five boroughs such as Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Bronx and the cost of living in any of this borough vary even from one neighborhood to the next.

Below is everything you need to know about the cost of living in New York regardless of the borough you choose to live.
• Rental cost
• Housing cost
• Food cost
• Transportation cost
• Utilities
• Healthcare cost
• Entertainment & Fitness

Rental cost

Living in New York City is expensive because of its high rent prices, and because the city is divided into 5 boroughs to get the actually median rent for the entire city can be challenging because rent vary significantly by borough and also by neighborhood.
To be able to get the actual median rent you must consider the city current trends.

According to research, in Manhattan, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $3,900, for Brooklyn its about $3,250, Queens is about $2,600, Staten Island is about $1,600 while Bronx is about $1,950. For a two-bedroom apartment, the median rent ranges from as high as $4,700 to as low as $2,000.

The monthly rent for most apartments in NYC ranges from $3,000 and according to statistics, the majority of rentals in the city, almost half (44 per cent) are one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom and studio apartments are about 22 percent while three-bedroom apartments make up the 12 percent.

One of the ways to save money is by living in a more affordable borough and even a cheaper neighborhood in the same borough because as mentioned above the prices for rent vary and also within the Neighborhoods of the borough.

The most expensive of these boroughs is Manhattan but the most affordable neighborhood is Upper Manhattan where you’d find Washington Heights, Inwood etc. The median rent for this neighborhood falls within the range of $1,700 to $1,800.

The most affordable neighborhoods can be found in Staten island and Bronx, few can still be found in Queens and Brooklyn. However, in Brooklyn, and Queens, there are some neighborhoods that are just as expensive as Manhattan, nonetheless most of the neighborhoods in these four boroughs (Staten Island, Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn) are more affordable when compared to the ones in Manhattan.

Housing cost

To buy a home in New York City is every expensive, real estate in the city is one of the most expensive in the country. According to research, within the first quarter of the 2020, the median asking price for a home in New York City was about $995,000.

Although the price vary by borough, in the middle of 2022, in Manhattan, the median asking price was about $1.5million, in Brooklyn it was about $995,000, in Queens it was about $626,000, in Staten Island it was about $699,400, and in Bronx it was $388,000.

Homes in the city sell quickly, and the continue to appreciate in value, the sales are not affected by the prices which is the reason real estate business in the city is amazing venture. The cost of living in the city is also affected with the prices of homes but according to Census figures, homeowners in the city is just 33 percent.

Food cost

Foods in New York City are amazing, they have it all, from American cuisine, French cuisine, Italian cuisine, to Asian cuisine, African dishes, whatever you want regardless of where you are from and all the fancy restaurants to diner are scattered all over the city and in all the five boroughs from Manhattan to Bronx.

If you are planning to dine at these restaurants regardless of where you are in the city, you would need to account for those cost in your budget. For example, a three course meal for two in an average restaurant cost $100. But food carts all over the streets of New York City which more more common amongst regular people will go for a far lesser amount. Some of the common food sold at this spots include, hotdog, chips, bagel, soda etc, it’s cheaper, delicious and more convenient.

To cut down cost, you would have to prepare your own meal, and to do so, you need to take into account of the budget. Grocery cost $336.75 monthly and yearly you would spend about $4,000 for food.

If you are feeding a family of four, the monthly cost of food is about $900 to $10,500. This is a whole lot cheaper than eating at restaurants so whether you are single or not, the best option to cutting down cost is to spent time in the kitchen and prepare your own food.

Transportation cost

The transportation system in NYC is one of the most comprehensive transport system not only in the country but in the world at large and it’s one if the most popular features of the city. The city is known for its yellow taxis and underground railroads which runs 24 hours of the day.

New York City is the only city in the country where majority of its residents do not have personal cars. Most of the residents in the city commute to their place of work through public transportation like subways, buses, taxis, biking and even walking.

The annual transportation cost for an average single New York resident is $4,300 but for a family of four with two children, the annual transportation cost is about $11,600. To cut down transportation cost is to use the public transportation services as the main method of getting around the city.

Unlimited MetroCard pass for 30 days cost $127 so for the year it’s $1,524 and this gives you unlimited access to local buses and the subway. If you are new in the city, it will take you sometime to familiarize yourself with the navigation so give it time.


The average utility cost for the month in the city is $161.82 which is $1,941.84 annually. This utility cost covers water bill, gas, and electricity bill. However, utility differs depending on apartments, lease agreement, and personal preferences so when estimating utilities, it’s important to add cell phone and internet services.

In the United States, an average person pays about $94 for phone service and $45 for internet service monthly which is about $139 for a month. But as new resident, you may be offered discount and incentives as a new customer.

Healthcare cost

This is an essential expenses you must consider when moving to New York, the average resident in the city pays $2,750 annually for an employer-sponsored health insurance policy but for a family of four, healthcare cost is about $7,900.

In New York City, there are a number of city-operated hospital which are dedicated to providing free and low-cost healthcare to all New Yorkers. There are also private hospitals all around the city delivering top notch services.

Entertainment and Fitness

In New York City, an average single resident spends about $1,700 annually for entertainment and fitness, for a family of four, this should be about $3,800 annually. Fitness is an important aspect to healthy living and there are several ways to stay fit in a city like New York and also depending on your budget.

If you decide to register at a gym, this might cost you about $108 monthly but if you want to do your working out at home is cheaper, this might cost you about $12 depending on what you choose to do your workout with. If you want to purchase some equipment, this will save you more money at the long run.

There other ways to stay fit aside working out at home, you can go to a nearby park. In the city, there are about 1,700 parks and these parks are free and they offer fitness opportunities.

Whether you like running or play soccer, tennis, basketball, etc you can find these activities in the parks and they are free.

Enjoy a Game

One of the ways to keep yourself entertained in the city is to watch a game. The city is home to two teams for every major sports in the country. For example, in basketball, you can root for the Knicks or Nets. For football, they are home to the Jets or the Giants, for baseball, they are home to the Nets or Yankees.

To enjoy a game in any of the arena or stadium, you would need to consider the cost. Below is a breakdown of the cost of attending a New York sports game

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


There are several museums in New York City, these museums are full of beautiful collection and exhibits so if you are an art lover you just can not afford not to visit any of the museums in the city. NYC museums are part of the most fascinating features of the city, and access to these museums are not free. Below is the admission costs to some of the best NYC museums

  • The New Museum: $18
  • The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA): $25
  • The Met: $25
  • The Guggenheim: $25
  • The Museum of Natural History: $23

The admission costs of these museums can be cheaper if you purchase NYC pass, these pass gives you access to not just these museums but to other iconic landmarks and attractions in the city and they are in different categories. You can get details of New York City pass so you know the one that’s best for you.

Additionally, museums in the city offers free or low admission costs some days during the month so you if you want to cut cost you have to look at for these days so you can save some extra cash.

If you are moving to New York City, you have to take everything into account because it’s very important.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in New York City is 8.5% but it varies depending on what is purchased and it’s cost.

Income Tax

The income tax rate depends on your income, it ranges from 4% to 10.90%. You also need to pay the city imposed income tax ranging from 3.078% to 3.870% depending on your income.

Parking cost

There are not many parking spaces in the city, the average cost of parking in the city for a month is $570 and annually it is $6,840. You need to add this to the 10.375% tax and 8% surtex on parking, garaging or storing cars in Manhattan.

Salary to Live in New York City

If you are planning to move to New York City, it’s important you take a closer look at the salary you are earning monthly and yearly. To live comfortably in a new city, there are standard rules you should use.

To live comfortably and afford rent, you must earn three times the monthly rent before taxes. And all these falls into the NYC living cost. For instance, in New York, the average cost for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,056. To be able to rent this apartment, the tenant must earn at least $82,600 annually. And some New York property management companies require renters to earn 40 times the monthly rent. You can check out how to rent apartment in NYC for details so you know what exactly is required.