How Much Does it Cost To Live Comfortably in New York City USA

How Much Does it Cost To Live Comfortably in New York City USA

New York City is famously known as one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. With towering rents, high costs of dining out and going out, and expensive groceries, many wonder exactly how much it costs per year to live comfortably in the Big Apple.

Housing Costs

Housing tends to be the biggest expense for New Yorkers. While the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in NYC is roughly $3,000 per month, most experts say you need an income of at least $100,000 per year to feel comfortable with living expenses.
To live comfortably in NYC with a decent apartment in a safe neighborhood, expect to pay $3,500 to $4,000 per month for a one-bedroom or studio. For a two-bedroom apartment, rents often start at $4,500 per month and can easily reach $6,000+.
The average New Yorker spends around 40% of their income on housing costs. However, to feel truly comfortable in NYC, try to keep this figure under 30%.

Key Housing Cost Ranges in NYC:

Studio: $2,500-$3,500/month
1 Bedroom: $3,200-$4,500/month
2 Bedroom: $4,000 – $6,500+/month
3 Bedroom: $5,000 – $9,000+/month

As a reference, to afford a $4,000 per month two-bedroom apartment, you would likely need an annual gross salary of around $145,000-165,000. For shorter 1-2 year leases, prices per month often run 10-15% higher.

Food Costs

After housing, food is typically the second largest expense category. Healthy lifestyle in New York City can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle but expect to pay a premium, especially for dining out.

Some typical food costs include:

Groceries (single person): $400-$700+/month
Dining/Drinks (casual): $15-$25 per meal
Fine Dining: $150+ per person
Cup of Coffee: $3-$5
Happy Hour Beer: $7-$12
For a family of 4: $1,200-$1,800 on groceries/month

New Yorkers that dine out frequently or enjoy the world-class culinary scene should budget $500-$1,200+ per month for restaurants/takeout. For those who cook daily and only dine out occasionally, $400-$700 per month is realistic.
Grocery costs also quickly add up in NYC due to a lack of large, low-cost supermarkets. Convenience comes at a price.


Getting around NYC can get pricey, although public transportation helps provide options for commuting affordably. Here are some typical transportation costs:

-MetroCard (Subway/Bus Pass): $127/month
-Taxi: $15+ per short ride
-Uber/Lyft: $20+ per ride
-Gas: $4-$5+ per gallon
-Parking: $500-$900+/month for garage
-Car Insurance: $250+ per month

While a monthly metro pass allows unlimited transit access for $127, many also need to budget Uber/Lyft rides for convenience or trips out at night. Taxis add up fast and parking costs are exorbitant for those with cars.

All in all, $300 per month is a realistic transportation budget to get around and live comfortably.

Utilities Costs

Utility costs like cable, internet, electricity, etc. tally up another $200-$300 per month typically:

-Electricity: $100-$150/month
-Wi-Fi/Internet: $50-$80/month
-Cable/Streaming: $50-$100/month
-Cell Phone: $50-$100/month

SCALE down or eliminate services like cable and home internet to save money if needed. Cell phone plans and electricity usually can’t be avoided though.

Healthcare Costs

Out-of-pocket healthcare costs can vary greatly depending on one’s situation but expect to budget $500+ per month to be comfortable. Those rates cover standard costs like:

-Health Insurance Premiums: $300-$700/month
-Prescriptions: $30-$100/month
-Doctor Visits: $30+ copay per visit
-Dentist Visits: $75+ per visit
-Glasses/Contacts: $200+ per year

Keep an emergency medical fund as well as hospital visits or procedures can cost thousands out-of-pocket.

Entertainment, Shopping, Etc.

Beyond daily living expenses, discretionary spending on shopping, entertainment, travel, etc. also tallies up, especially in a city like NYC with endless things to do and buy.

To live comfortably, $750-$1,500 per month should be budgeted for miscellaneous spending like:

-Entertainment (concerts, sports games, etc.): $100-$250/month
-Bars/Nightlife: $150-$300+/month
-Clothing/Shopping: $150-$300+/month
-Gym Memberships: $100-$200/month
-Salons/Spa: $100+/per visit
-Vacation Travel: $2,000+ per year

Costs add up fast for frequent nightlife goers, shoppers, or world travelers. Prioritize what’s important in your lifestyle.

Family Costs

For families with children, housing sizes upgrade to accommodate more bedrooms, healthcare coverage expands, food costs multiply, childcare enters the picture, and expenses snowball.

With two working parents, childcare alone often totals $2,000+ per month. Then private school tuition can run $40,000+ per year per child. And this comes on top of general living costs covered throughout this article.

To raise a family comfortably in NYC including things like:

-Private School Tuition
-Multi-Bedroom Housing
-Family Entertainment/Activities

Most experts recommend a household income exceeding $350,000+ per year. And a budget exceeding $10,000 per month in Manhattan or top Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Outside of Manhattan and prime Brooklyn areas, that figure drops to around $7,500+ per month potentially including costs like:

-3-Bedroom Apartment: $6,000/month
-Childcare: $2,500/month
-Food/Groceries: $1,500+/month
-Multi-Person Healthcare: $1,500+/month
-School Tuition: $40,000/year
-Entertainment, Utilities, Transportation, etc. $1,500+/month

Two $100k+ incomes can achieve that $350k+ household income over time. But it still requires diligent budgeting and often sacrifice.

In Summary: Realistic Range of Overall Costs

Given the deep expense dive across categories in NYC, here is a realistic range of overall costs to live comfortably:

-Single Person: $5,500+ per month
-Couple (no kids): $7,000 – $10,000+ per month
-Family of 4: $10,000 – $15,000+ per month

Manhattan and Brooklyn heights/downtown command premium pricing on the higher end. But even in standard NYC neighborhoods, costs quickly multiply compared to other US cities.

To generate these monthly budgets often requires annual household incomes in the following ranges:

-Single Person: $75,000 – $125,000+
-Couple: $125,000 – $250,000+
-Family of 4: $350,000+

At each life stage, diligent prioritization and budgeting is required to live comfortably in New York City long-term. But the overall energy, opportunities, diversity, and excitement of the city make it appealing regardless of the high sticker price to call The Big Apple home.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Cost of Living in NYC

How much salary do you need to live comfortably in NYC?

To live comfortably in NYC including decent rent, social life, shopping, dining, entertainment, etc. you generally need a salary in the range of $100k-$150k+ annually. This fluctuates by neighborhood, rental prices, lifestyle factors, and whether you have a family.

Is $70K a good salary for a single person in NYC?

A $70k salary is enough for a single person without kids to get by in NYC, but not to live comfortably. At this salary range expect to have roommates, live further out in an outer borough, limit dining/entertainment, and have minimal savings. $100k+ is better for comfortable NYC single living.

Can a family live comfortably in NYC on $150K salary?

It would be very difficult for a family with kids to live comfortably on a $150k salary in New York City. Affording good housing, childcare, healthcare, tuition savings, etc. would prove very tight at this income level resulting in financial stress over time. Over $200-300k+ is more realistic.

What salary do you need to live lavishly in NYC?

To truly live a more lavishly comfortable lifestyle with luxury rentals, frequent fine dining/entertainment, extensive shopping budgets and travel, you likely need an income approaching $500k-$1M+ in New York City if you have a family. $250-350k can provide lavish living for individuals.

At all salary levels, diligent budgeting and finding value helps offset NYC’s high prices. But in general, the city rewards higher incomes in enabling more comfortable lifestyles full of energy and amenities. Carefully consider your priorities when planning a move to ensure your salary aligns with the NYC life you envision.

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