For years, Boston and New York City have sparred over culture, religion, money, sports teams, and history – and the rivalry continues today. If living in Boston makes you feel like you’re wearing shoes that just don’t fit anymore, you’re probably ready to tackle everything New York City has to offer. It may be time to take sides and experience the richness of life in one of the world’s most celebrated cities.
But before you make moving plans, study these nine key topics that will help you weigh the pros and cons of what it would be like to move to New York City from Boston.
What to Know About Moving from Boston to New York City
Housing and Cost of Living
Whether you rent or own, you already deal with Boston’s high housing costs and probably won’t be surprised that you’ll pay even more in NYC. The median home value in Boston, as of fall 2020, is $644,743. In New York City, housing values are a bit higher at $652,307.
Even though it costs more to buy a home in NYC, rentals are less expensive. Across the board, from a studio to a four-bedroom apartment or house, rent is lower in NYC. A one-bedroom apartment in Boston averages $1,836 and in NYC, averages $1,788. However, be aware that most NYC rentals charge a brokers fee – be sure to ask.
Compared to the US average cost of living index of 100, Boston’s cost of living index is 162, and NYC’s is 13% higher at 187. Although essential costs are more expensive than average in both cities, you’ll pay even more in NYC – 22% more for utilities, 27% more for transportation, health costs will be 26% higher, and grocery and food costs will be about 5% more expensive.
There’s a pretty significant disparity between the high cost of living and lower family median incomes in both Boston and New York City. The family median income in the U.S. is $70,850, but in Boston, it’s $69,616, and in NYC, it’s $64,566.
While Boston homeowners pay a 0.862% property tax rate, New York City boroughs assess property tax independently. Brooklyn charges the lowest rate at 0.627%, while the Bronx charges the highest rate at 0.888%.
Boston sales tax, at 6.25%, is among the lowest in the nation. New York City sales tax varies by borough, ranging from 7% to 8.5%.
Massachusetts levies a flat state income tax of 5.10%. The New York State income tax is progressive, ranging from 4% to 8.82%. New York City also assesses a personal income tax.
Economy and Job Growth
Finance, tech, education, health care, and tourism are among the major employment sectors that maintain Boston’s strong economy. Likewise, the top industrial sectors in NYC are financial services, professional and tech services, education, and tourism but also include manufacturing, retail trade, media, and publishing.
Job growth in 2019 was 4.3% in Boston, but only 0.5% in NYC. Long term job growth is predicted to be much more robust in Boston than in NYC. Over the next ten years, job growth is forecast to be 43% in Boston and only 31% in NYC. The US average for job growth over the next ten years is 34%.
Transportation and Traffic
In both cities, public transportation and traffic data often conflict. Although Boston rates as the #1 city for the best public transportation, it’s also rated #1 for the worst traffic and most congested city in the US. NYC rates #3 for best public transport and #4 for worst traffic.
Regardless of how you get to work, your average one-way commute in Boston is 30 minutes, but plan on 41 minutes in NYC.
Weather and Climate
With New York City located about 220 miles south of Boston, the climate is a bit milder. Many Boston residents agree that their winters can be brutal with intense snowstorms and frigid temps. Boston’s average January high is 29 ℉, and the low is 19 ℉. In NYC, the average January high averages 39 ℉, and the low is 26 ℉. Boston snowfall averages 48 inches annually while NYC gets quite a bit less at 25 inches.
Boston summers are very muggy and hot, with average July highs of 82 ℉ and lows in the mid-60s. You’ll also have sticky, humid summers in NYC with July highs that average 85 ℉ and drop to about 70 ℉ at night. At 47 inches per year, both cities get equivalent amounts of rainfall.
Both Boston and NYC have surprisingly low crime rates compared to the US average. Rated on a scale from 1 to 100, violent crime in the US is 23, Boston is 37, and NYC is 28. Property crime is 35 in the US, 36 in Boston, and 25 in NYC.
Just be aware that crime is higher in touristed areas like Times Square, Union Square, or Central Park. As you start to define neighborhoods that seem appealing, check their crime rates online.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
E.B. White quipped, “. . . New York commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion”. And passion is alive in NYC’s nightlife and entertainment scene. While you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything open in Boston after 2 a.m., New York City is going strong until at least 4:00 in the morning.
Boston, with 669,158 residents, is a small city compared to NYC’s 8,500,000 – the nation’s most populous and most densely populated metropolis. What’s more, about 20,100,000 people live in the NYC metro area. And of those residents, 78% of Boston voters are registered Democrat compared to 80% in NYC.
NYC is 32% White, 29% Hispanic, 22% African American, 14% Asian, and 2% two or more races. Boston is 45% White, 19% Hispanic, 23% African American, 9% Asian, and 2% two or more races. And for more details, NYC is more Jewish – Boston is more Catholic. Making up 13% of residents, and strongly influencing culture, slang, food, and business, New York City, has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel.
Educational quality varies from school to school and neighborhood to neighborhood, but If you’re selective, you can find excellent educational opportunities in both cities. If you have school-age children, refer to greatschools.org to find the best schools in NYC that will meet your children’s needs.
Higher education is outstanding in both Boston and NYC, with top-rated universities like Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tufts in Boston and Columbia, Fordham, and New York University in New York City.
Boroughs in New York City
We summarize New York City’s five boroughs to give you an idea of what each can provide. You’ll be able to click on the links at the end of each borough to learn more details and review the best neighborhoods.
Offering the ultimate urban lifestyle, Manhattan is home to Wall Street, Grand Central Station, Central Park, Times Square, and some of the most iconic neighborhoods in New York City. Think Tribeca, Upper West Side, Greenwich Village, and more. About 1,660,000 people live in Manhattan, and since it only covers about 23 square miles, you can imagine the density is intense. Housing is as expensive as its skyscrapers are high – the median rent is $3,450, and the median home cost as of fall 2020, is $998,557. You can find out more about Manhattan here. And you can find out about Manhattan’s best neighborhoods here.
Located on the western end of Long Island, Brooklyn is connected to Manhattan by the famous Brooklyn Bridge. At 2,650,000 residents, Brooklyn is NYC’s most populous borough. Once the ugly step-sister to Manhattan, Brooklyn’s renaissance has made it one of the most popular and happening places to live in New York City. Less expensive than Manhattan, the median rent is $2,500, and the median home value, as of fall 2020, is $669,457. Brooklyn is full of beautiful parks, tree-lined streets in charming neighborhoods, ethnic diversity, and a fantastic art scene. Check out more about Brooklyn here. And check out Brooklyn’s best neighborhoods here.
Queens has more land area than any of the other boroughs, giving it more of a suburban feel. An ethnically diverse population of 2,360,000 residents fills approximately 109 square miles. As of fall 2020, rent averages $2,250, and the median home value is $537,350. Many people choose to live in Queens and work in Manhattan, conveniently located just a subway ride west across the East River. Queens also offers generous greenspace and lots of outdoor recreation with Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Rockway Beach on the southern peninsula for swimming, surfing, picnics and sunning, and much more. If you commute by air, both John F Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport are in Queens. Learn more about Queens here. Learn about Queens’ best neighborhoods here.
Directly north of Manhattan, the Bronx has about 1,470,000 ethnically diverse residents. The median home value, as of fall 2020, is $320,335 and the median rent is $1,800. With housing well below Manhattan prices, and convenient subway and rail lines, many people choose to live in the Bronx for its convenience to Manhattan. Residents love Pelham Bay Park, three times the size of Central Park, and with a range of neighborhoods, the Bronx appeals to all ages. If you’re a Yankees fan, living in the Bronx puts you front and center to Yankee Stadium. Here’s more info about the Bronx. And if you want more info about the best neighborhoods in the Bronx, click here.
Staten Island is located in southwestern New York City and enjoys a much smaller population than the other boroughs. About 479,460 people live in Staten Island and enjoy the more suburban feel with tons of parks and protected green spaces. Home values are $547,792 as of fall 2020, and median rent runs $2,300. Abundant commercial areas, attractive established neighborhoods with architecturally interesting single-family homes, apartments, townhomes, and condos provide a great live/work lifestyle. Manhattan is a 25-minute ferry ride northeast. Ready to know more about Staten Island? Click here. Learn about Staten Island’s best neighborhoods here.
Cost of Moving from Boston to New York City
On average, it costs about $1500-$2000 to move from Boston to NYC. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about four hours, or 215 miles, up the East Coast. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zips code, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best Boston to NYC movers now!