What is the cost of living in New York City?

1 min readLast updated December 22, 2023by Rachel Carey

Exploring local taxes, housing, management tips, transport, utilities, groceries, and other common monthly expenses, this article gives insight into the cost of living in New York City. 

Summary 

  • The cost of living in New York City is 37% higher than the state average and 78% higher than the US average. 

  • The average monthly costs (without rent) are $1,574 for a single person and $5,795.70 for a family of four. 

  • The cost of housing, utilities, transportation, food and groceries, healthcare, and childcare is higher than the national average, and the city charges high local income and sales taxes. 

  • Speak to a financial advisor about getting and staying on top of your finances. 

What is the average cost of living in New York City? 

With a well-deserved reputation for being steep, the cost of living in New York City can be formidable. It’s 37% higher than the state average and a whopping 78% higher than the national average.  

What the average cost of living in New York City is for you depends on many different factors. Where you live, how you get around, the taxes you pay, your utility usage at home, and other expenses can all impact how cheap or expensive your life in the Big Apple is. 

According to Numbeo, the average monthly costs (without rent) are $1,574 for a single person and $5,795.70 for a family of four. 

Of course, you can lower (or raise) your living costs by moving to one of the cheapest places to live in New York or through your purchasing choices. If you’re looking at moving to NYC, it’s vital that you gain some understanding of how much it costs to live in the city and plan accordingly.  

How much will I pay in taxes in New York City? 

When answering the question, “How much does it cost to live in New York,” one thing you can’t afford to ignore is the local taxes. The local income tax rate can be as high as 3.876%, while the sales and use tax rate is 4.5%.  

However, the property tax rate is surprisingly low at 0.88% of the property value.  

Let Unbiased match you with an experienced financial advisor who can help you with managing your taxes. See various local tax rates in the table below: 

NYC tax typeTax rate
NYC income tax 3.078% - 3.876%
NYC sales and use tax 4.5% (8.875% including state sales tax)
NYC property tax 0.88% of property value
NYC alcohol tax $1 per gallon of liquor, 12 cents per gallon of beer
NYC tobacco tax $1.50 per pack of cigarettes

How much does housing cost in New York City? 

Housing is one of the reasons why the cost of living in New York City is incredibly steep compared to the rest of the US. Housing costs in the Big Apple are 228% more expensive than the national average.  

The average apartment size is 605 square feet, with the average rent being $3,637 per month. However, housing prices vary considerably from location to location. You would pay significantly more for a Manhattan apartment than you would for a house in one of the cheapest places to live in New York.  

Get a basic idea of NYC housing costs in the tables below: 

Apartment typeRent per month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre $4,019.25
Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of Centre $2,693.25
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre $7,742.78
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre $4,532.47
Apartment location
Price per square feet
Price per square foot to buy an apartment in the City Centre
$1,504.67
Price per square foot to buy an apartment outside of Centre
$1,056.79

How can I manage the cost of living in New York City? 

Whether newcomers or native New Yorkers, many people wonder how they can better manage the cost of living in New York City. Trusted financial advisors suggest starting with these tips: 

  • Avoid spending more than 25% of your monthly take-home pay on rent or mortgage payments, as this could make it more difficult for you to save for goals and prepare for emergencies. Think about moving to a more affordable neighborhood if that will help reduce your monthly expenses. 

  • Monitor your expenses so you can create a detailed budget and financial plan. See if you can find ways to supplement your monthly income and lower your expenses with a view to redirecting that money. 

  • Find a financial advisor you can trust to help you budget, plan, invest, and save effectively. Let Unbiased match you with a regulated advisor. 

What is the average cost of utilities in New York City? 

Utilities are a monthly expense that shouldn’t make too big a contribution to the average living cost in New York City.  

Utilities in the city are approximately 4% more expensive than the national average. Take a look at the average monthly cost of water, gas, electricity, and cable/internet in this table: 

UtilityAverage monthly bill
Water $40
Gas $100
Electricity $175
Cable/internet $100 cable + $60 internet

What are the average grocery and food costs in New York City? 

Basic necessities are another reason why the average cost of living in New York City has a reputation for being high. Average food and grocery prices in the city are approximately 26% higher than the national average. The table below shows prices for items that form part of many New Yorkers’ weekly shopping. 

Food itemAverage cost in New York City
Milk (1 gallon) $5.21
Bread $4.08
Apples (1 lb.) $2.89
Potatoes (1 lb.) $1.81
A head of lettuce $2.79

What are the average transportation costs in New York City? 

NYC is America’s most populous city, but it’s far from being the country’s biggest by size. The city covers an area of only 305 square miles (790 square kilometers).  

Thanks to an extensive public transportation network, car ownership is not essential. A car can make a massive contribution to your average living cost in New York City, especially when it comes to parking and gas.  

The table below shows yearly transportation costs for various scenarios: 

ScenarioAnnual transportation expenditure
One adult, no children $4,470
One adult, one child $8,040
One adult, two children $9,831
Two adults (one working), no children $8,040
Two adults (one working), one child $9,831
Two adults (one working), two children $11,821
Two adults (two working), no children $8,040
Two adults (two working), one child $9,831
Two adults (two working), two children $14,484

How much does healthcare cost in New York City? 

Depending on your circumstances, healthcare might be an important consideration when looking at how much it costs to live in New York City.  

Healthcare services in the city are approximately 6% more expensive than in the rest of the US. See average annual healthcare costs for various scenarios in the table below: 

ScenarioAnnual healthcare expenditure
One adult, no children $3,207
One adult, one child $8,487
One adult, two children $8,497
Two adults (one working), no children $6,666
Two adults (one working), one child $8,497
Two adults (one working), two children $8,422
Two adults (two working), no children $6,666
Two adults (two working), one child $8,497
Two adults (two working), two children $8,422

What is the average childcare cost in New York City? 

The average cost of childcare in NYC is approximately 16% higher than the national average. However, a plethora of childcare options means parents and guardians have enormous flexibility when it comes to how much they spend. There also are subsidies and assistance programs that can help lower childcare costs and, in turn, reduce the cost of living in New York City for you.  

Find out what the annual childcare costs are for various scenarios in this table: 

ScenarioAnnual childcare expenditure
One adult, no children $0
One adult, one child $14,287
One adult, two children $28,574
Two adults (one working), no children $0
Two adults (one working), one child $0
Two adults (one working), two children $0
Two adults (two working), no children $0
Two adults (two working), one child $14,287
Two adults (two working), two children $28,574

How much does it cost to live in New York City? 

As you can see, there’s no single, easy answer to the question, “How much does it cost to live in New York City?” While there are aspects of life in NYC that do contribute to your expenses, such as high local and state taxes, your personal preferences also determine what the cost of living in New York City is for you.  

While only a guide, the average salary can give you an idea of what the average New Yorker earns. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary in NYC is $51,239 per year or $4,269 per month. 

Seek a trustworthy financial advisor to learn more about the cost of living and for expert financial advice. Let Unbiased match you with the advisor who is best able to assist with your needs. 

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.