New York City is known as the city that never sleeps. Millions of tourists come to enjoy the beauty of skyscrapers and other attractions, but they don’t realize how expense it can all be. In addition to its overpopulation, New Yorkers tend to avoid Manhattan for that reason. 

Rent continues to increase, but wages aren’t. After reading through What’s Your New York City Rental Story?, in The New York Times, all the stories mentioned were of residents who have well-paying jobs, but share their apartments with roommates. It makes you think, not even the middle class can afford to live in this city. Finding an affordable place of residence in New York City is just a heartbreaking, grueling, never-ending story.  

When people are looking for an apartment, the main questions are: How much flexibility is required to get more space or seemingly basic perks like an elevator or an in-building laundry room? Is it a matter of changing neighborhoods, raising your budget or just looking harder?

 The average cost of living in New York, according to, is at least 68.8 percent higher than the national average. Living in Manhattan alone is double the national average.

Let’s breakdown the cost of living:



Starting with rent...According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,638 in the New York metro area.


In 2017, the median annual asking rent in Manhattan clocked in at $3,150. In Brooklyn, it was $2,500. Over in Queens, that price wasn’t much lower, the 2017 median annual asking rent was $2,175 per month. 

If anything, that number underrates just how expensive it is to rent in New York, however, because it includes data for the suburbs, which are generally cheaper.

If we look at only the city’s core, housing appears to be even LESS affordable. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is $3,895, according to the January 2015 Citi habitat market report.

It seems that most New Yorkers work hard to pay their rent, but that’s not all of the living expenses they endure, they still have bills like utilities.

The average cost in basic utilities in New York ranges from $120- $200 a month. That includes heating, electricity, water and garbage, and it’s about 14% lower than the U.S. average for a month of basic utilities. The average monthly cost of internet in New York is $53.37, compared to a U.S. average of $52.02 according to

After living expenses comes transportation expenses. But for New Yorkers, it’s either you own a car or you take the ‘best’ transportation system in the country; the MTA.

The biggest issue when owning a car in the city is parking. According to Colliers International, the average parking rate in downtown Manhattan is $533 per month. That is another monthly expense added. Another downside to owning a car in NYC is the price of gas, which is often 5-10 percent higher than the national average. We haven’t even gotten to insurance!

Some residents have given up their car and rely solely on NYC public transportation. A monthly transit pass in New York costs $116.50 per month, about 75 percent greater than the national average.

Food is essential to a human and not to mention, it isn’t cheap either. Well, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research, groceries in New York cost between 28% and 39% more than the national average, depending on where you live. So, if you spend $200 per month on groceries living somewhere else in the country, you’ll spend closer to $260 when living in New York.

Eating out in the Big Apple is even less affordable. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant in New York costs $15, and a meal for two at a moderately expensive restaurant costs $75. You’re better off eating at your local food truck or fast food spot. 

We can conclude that this city is better suited for the rich, but its appeal and energy drives people of all wages and backgrounds to try and make a life here.