New York, a single adult needs around $44,000 to live comfortably. The average cost of living in New York is as expensive as you might expect—but there are still some affordable cities here.
New York state is probably one of the most fascinating places to live in the country. From the Big Apple to
Niagara Falls, there are countless things to see and do. But with steep housing prices and surprisingly cheap healthcare costs, what’s the actual cost of living in the Empire State?
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How high is the cost of living in New York?
It’s no secret that living in New York can be pretty pricey. The cost of living index (COLI) in New York is 120.5, far above the national average!
What exactly does that number mean? The national average cost of living is represented by the number 100, so any number greater than 100 means the cost of living exceeds the national average.
We've compiled real-world data on the costs of food, healthcare, housing, transportation, and other necessities in New York. We'll also show you a comparison of what New Yorkers pay for these necessities vs. the national average.
Food: $324.25 to $952.08 per month
This category of cost of living includes groceries but doesn't include eating out at restaurants.
According to MIT's
Living Wage Calculator, the annual cost of food in New York is between $3,891 to $11,425. Naturally, these values will vary depending on the number of people in the family, their location, and their total household income.
In New York, a single-person home will spend at least $336.75 per month on groceries, while a family of four may spend closer to $900.50 per month.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average monthly amount spent on groceries in 2020 was $411.
Your morning cup of coffee on the way to work and your date night at your favorite Italian spot are extra charges on top of your monthly food bill.
Healthcare: $209.33 per month
This is one area where New York manages to be less expensive than other states. In New York, the average annual healthcare expense per person is $2,779, or $231.58 per month, which is significantly less than the national average of $477 each month.
Remember that healthcare costs are difficult to average because individuals and families might incur a wide variety of expenses. For example, someone who requires expensive medication will spend much more per month for coverage than the price above.
Housing: $811.33 to $1,125.67 per month
Housing costs are a major part of a modern budget. The average price of a home in New York in 2021 was about $371,880. In the future, this number is likely to go up.
How can we figure out what housing costs each month? Well, your monthly payment will depend on what kind of home you live in (whether you own it or rent it):
- Median monthly mortgage payment: $1,575
- Average studio rent: $1,718
- Average one-bedroom rent: $1,748
- Average two-bedroom rent: $1,992
- Average three-bedroom rent: $2,513
- Average four-bedroom rent: $2,701
These are, of course, just the averages for each state. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in
New York Cityis a whopping $3,950, which is considerably higher than the average for the state. This is still more than the national average for a one-bedroom apartment, which is $1,233.
How do housing expenses in New York compare to the rest of the country? The average house value in the United States is cheaper than the average price in New York, sitting at an average of $337,560. The average rent has also risen recently (about $1,904 per month).
Transportation: $353 to $963.75 per month
Transport is another cost that can't be avoided, and not everyone can save money by walking or biking everywhere. Some people, on the other hand, use public transportation and their cars, leading to the wide range seen above.
Monthly transportation costs in New York range from $353 to $963.75 per month. Looking at the national average, the average transportation expense for a two-person adult household in New York is near the top of the range: $818 per month.
Here are a few important figures to help you understand what those big numbers mean:
How much you need to live comfortably in New York: $44,000 to $94,720 per year
To live comfortably in New York, a single adult needs to earn at least $44,000 a year, or $21.99 per hour. A family of four would require a higher living wage, closer to $86,200 per year or $43.10 per hour!
With such a high cost of living and New York's minimum wage of $13.20/hour, it is understandable that many people may struggle to meet their basic needs. Of course, there is a significant difference between spending on necessities and paying for items that enhance your life.
Here are a few budget checks for fun, extra activities in New York, as well as how they compare to the national average:
- Average cost of a date: $297.27 (US average: $116; New York has the highest average nationwide)
- Average cost of a night at the movies: $12-14.50 (US average: $10.61)
- Average cost of a Big Mac: $5.23 (US average: $3.99)
- Broadway tickets: $189 and up per person (US average theater show price: $40.62)
- Average sales tax: 4%(US average: 5.09%)
You may not need to spend this much money to live comfortably or you may require more than the average income to meet all of your necessities. In the state of New York, the basic cost of living for the average person is $44,000.
The New York cities with the lowest cost of living
The cost of living in each city is a little bit different. Some New York cities are cheaper or more expensive than the average for the state.
Here's some good news: compared to the rest of the state, the cost of living in a few New York cities is low. Here's your list of the most affordable locations:
- Ogdensburg(COLI: 69.4): Located along the beautiful St. Lawrence River, Ogdensburg makes for the ideal waterfront city—from fishing to boating and swimming.
- Hornell(COLI: 70.3): Hornell, home to the Erie Depot Museum, is a small, lovely farm village known as the “Maple City,” thanks to its abundance of maple trees.
- Massena(COLI: 71.8): Massena, similarly, is also nestled along the St. Lawrence River. It's a peaceful, quiet place that's often regarded as one of the best underrated fishing sites in North America.
If you're thinking about moving to New York but want to keep your expenses low, consider one of the places listed above!
How to easily find home and car insurance in New York
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How much does it cost to live in New York per month?
A single person in New York needs approximately $6,886 per month to live comfortably.