The True Cost of New York City

I moved to New York (Manhattan) at the beginning of 2019 after spending the better part of a decade in Boston, with a brief 8-month jaunt in Cincinnati. And New York is more affordable and more accessible than I’d ever been told, especially for the “single, young professional” demographic. So I’m making my own YouTube series to demonstrate what I’ve learned. See my channel here

In preparation for my move to NYC, I YouTube’d videos about “the cost of living in NYC” and “moving to NYC tips.” While there were some helpful videos, the majority perpetuated incorrect ideas about the real cost of living there.

It was exasperating to see YouTube videos with hundreds of thousands–sometimes millions–of views ill informing potential New Yorkers and the general public about the cost of living here.

Not every video can describe every potential living situation. For example, I wouldn’t expect any video to cover the general requirements both of a single, young professional and a family of four supporting mobility-impaired grandparents. But…

A Lot of Good Information is Not Being Shared

I’ll be digging into things like the numbered items below, while also linking to the sources that inform the claims I make in my videos. The current slate of “moving to NYC” YouTube videos doesn’t cite its sources nearly enough, but I will. 

  1. The cost of food is reasonable; and
  2. The cost (and cost-benefit) of various apartments. Sometimes a slightly more expensive apartment can wind up bringing your overall budget total down; and
  3. Renting is a good thing to do for most, and is not wasted money. There is needless pressure to “buy” property or a house; and
  4. The cost of most entertainment here is lower than most places, while still being more varied and higher-caliber; and
  5. The true cost of NYC relies on a total of seen and unseen costs. The same is true of anywhere. Once one has taken account of the unseen costs, NYC often reaches parity, or is cheaper for many individuals with certain preferences; etc.