Known for its diversity, the Bronx attracts people from all around the world. With 1.47 million residents living within its densely packed 42.5 square miles, the Bronx is an ideal destination if you’re looking for a bustling city lifestyle without the Manhattan price tags. Since people from around the globe are choosing to live in the Bronx, the borough is always changing and evolving; each neighborhood tells a story inspired by a different nation.
In addition to a rich, diverse culture, the Bronx offers its residents a ton of entertainment. Known as the birthplace of hip-hop music, you’ll find tributes to great artists and hip-hop dancers all over the Bronx. And for some immersion into nature, the world-famous Bronx Zoo; Pelham Park, New York City’s largest park; and the New York Botanical Gardens provide a respite from busy urban lives.
Bronx residents are fiercely proud that Yankee Stadium is a centerpiece of the borough. Don’t be surprised to see an overwhelming number of passionately loyal Yankees fans wearing pinstripe jerseys any time of year.
Living in the Bronx, NY: What to Know Before Moving to the Bronx
About 30 minutes northeast of downtown Manhattan, the Bronx provides the best of both worlds when it comes to New York City living. You can immerse yourself in the dense population while still being part of a close-knit neighborhood community. The 1.4 million residents are extremely proud of their roots and keen on their borough. From the affordable housing, beautiful parks, charming neighborhoods, and mainstay attractions, you will be too.
Pros and Cons of Living in the Bronx
The Bronx has pros and cons like anywhere else. Here are some of the most notable:
- Affordable housing: The Bronx has significantly lower rent and home prices than other parts of New York City.
- Diversity: The Bronx is home to people from all over the world.
- Parking: While there are still some areas of high traffic, finding parking is much easier in the Bronx than in other boroughs.
- Go green: The Bronx is home to the New York Botanical Gardens, The Bronx Zoo, and some of the largest parks in NYC.
- Many things to do: From Yankee Stadium to the Lehman Center, there’s something fun for everyone.
- Pride: People from the Bronx are proud of their borough – just ask Jennifer Lopez!
- Commuting: While public transportation is plentiful, it still may take up to an hour to commute to Manhattan, depending on where you’re coming from and what part of Manhattan you’re going to.
- Rough reputation: Although recent development has led to lower crime rates, some parts of the Bronx still see criminal activity.
- Air quality: Due to some highly industrial areas and proximity to major highways, air quality is lower in some parts of South Bronx.
- Property Tax. The property tax rate in Bronx County is 0.866%, which is below the New York average of 1.677% and the national average of 1.080%
- Sales Tax. The sales tax rate in the Bronx is 8.8%, a total combined rate that includes city tax of 4.5%, New York State tax of 4%, Special District tax of 0.38%. Bronx sales tax is higher than the national average of 7.25%.
- State Income Tax. New York’s state income tax is typically higher than most states, ranging from 4% to 8.82%, depending on income. The average income tax rate for Bronx residents is 6.5%.
Most Bronx residents are renters – 75%, to be exact. Renters typically pay around $1,800 for a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx, which is significantly lower than the other New York City boroughs.
Although a smaller percentage of people purchase their homes, buying is also an affordable choice. The median price for homes currently listed is $379,000, which is lower than in other parts of the city. You’ll find homes for sale close to the median list price in neighborhoods like Pelham Gardens, and much lower in neighborhoods like Parkchester.
Now is a good time to purchase a home in the Bronx. Home values have gone up 10% over the past year, and Zillow predicts they will rise another 4.6% in 2020.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in the Bronx is lower than the other New York City boroughs but higher than the national average. Bestplaces.net compares the cost of living in cities across the country based on an average index of 100. The overall cost of living index in the Bronx is 151.4. Grocery is 113, health 108, housing 182, transportation 191, and utilities 152.
When considering all cost of living factors, a family of two adults and two children would need to earn $8,882 per month or $106,587 per year to live a moderate lifestyle in the Bronx. With a family median income of $41,484, some people in the Bronx fall short of that marker – but overall, the Bronx is more affordable than other parts of New York City.
Weather & Natural Disasters
The Bronx experiences the same temperate climate found in most of New York State, with all four seasons distinctly represented. The coldest months are January and February when temperatures bottom out at an average of 26 degrees and max out around 42 degrees. The warmest months are July and August where temperatures sometimes drop to an average 70 degrees, but the highs average around 85 degrees – with high humidity.
The Bronx sees a moderate amount of precipitation. Annual rainfall tends to average 46 inches, with the most rain falling in July. Typically 28 inches of snowfall every year, with most falling in February. The annual snowfall total is consistent with the rest of NYC and Long Island but is a bit lower than you’ll see in upstate New York.
While the Bronx doesn’t experience many extreme weather events, hurricanes are a possibility in the late summer and early fall. Residents are encouraged to take steps to be prepared, like creating a supply stash and action plan, and registering for emergency alerts – that way, they can be ready if a hurricane makes landfall in the area.
Economy & Job Market
The unemployment rate in the Bronx is currently 5.6%. Although that’s a little higher than other boroughs like Queens or Staten Island, and certainly the US average of 3.9%, the job market is growing. In 2019, the job market grew by 0.6%, with expectations to grow another 28.96% over the next ten years as compared to the national average of 33.5% over the same period.
The strongest industries in the Bronx are healthcare, educational services, food services, and retail trade. The major employers include Montefiore Medical, New York City Department of Education, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Fordham University, and Affinity Health Plan.
The best markets for current job seekers are healthcare and education. If you need help finding a job in the Bronx or are just looking for additional resources, the New York Public Library’s job seeker page is a good place to start.
Traffic & Transportation
Traffic in the Bronx is more of an issue than in other parts of the country, with the average daily one-way commute taking 44.2 minutes compared to the US average of 26 minutes; however, only 23% of people drive to work.
If you do choose to drive, be prepared to face the heaviest traffic from 6-9 am and 4-7 pm, and during Yankee home games. You’ll find heavier congestion heading north-south on the Bronx River Parkway, and east-west on NY 278 and NY 95. Traffic also tends to build on the major bridges like George Washington, The Whitestone, and the Throgs Neck.
To avoid the frustrations of driving in traffic, 60% of commuters use public transportation. The MTA runs convenient subways, trains, and buses through the Bronx to help you travel between neighborhoods, or to other boroughs.
Prefer traveling by foot? You’re in luck! Walkscore.com ranks cities 1-100 based on walkability, availability of transit, and bike-friendliness. The neighborhoods in the Bronx average a 97 walk score, a 98 transit score, and a 94 bike score. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some neighborhoods, like Fordham Heights, are not bike-friendly, so be sure to check the transportation options in the neighborhood you’re considering.
What to Do
In the Bronx, you’ll find many things to do – some that you’d expect from a city borough, and some fun surprises.
Outdoors lovers will thrive in the Bronx. It’s home to the country’s largest metropolitan zoo, The Bronx Zoo, which spans 265 acres. You’ll also be able to explore the world-famous New York Botanical Gardens, providing 250 acres of greenery and color in the concrete jungle. The Bronx is also home to other major parks, including Pelham Park, which is New York City’s largest park, trumping Central Park at 2,772 acres.
Sports fans, rejoice! Yankee fans are one of the Bronx’s most dedicated fan bases – which makes catching a game at Yankee stadium exciting. Every game feels like a playoff game in that heady atmosphere.
When the Yanks aren’t in town, you can explore some great places that shed light on the lesser-known cultural depths of the Bronx. Countless little independently owned retail shops and retro thrift stores line Bronx streets and tell the story of generations past. The Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Lehman Center for Performing Arts provides a more formal cultural experience.
The Bronx has no shortage of amazing spots to dine. Locals rave about the Bronx Alehouse, the go-to for casual dining and craft beers. Also, be sure to check out the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, the best Italian market in the borough.
Schools and Universities
Since it’s densely populated, you’ll find hundreds of schools in the Bronx. The borough is served by New York City Districts #8-#12, which have many above-average schools when compared to the rest of New York City. Many schools have a 10/10 rating on greatschools.org, including Success Academy Bronx 2, Icahn Charter School 5, Success Academy Bronx 4, Bronx High School of Science, High School of American Studies at Lehman College, and Icahn and Charter School 2. An additional ten schools are ranked 9/10 and 13 are ranked 8/10.
The Bronx has more higher education options than most other areas of NYC. The most notable colleges and universities here are Fordham University, Lehman College, Bronx Community College, Manhattan College, and the College of Mount Saint Vincent.
In the past, the Bronx had a reputation for having a high crime rate, particularly violent crime. However, recent borough initiatives are making it a safer place to live.
The crime index ranks areas from 1-100 in violent and property crimes, with one being the lowest and 100 being the highest. The violent crime index in the Bronx is 43.7, higher than the national average of 22.7. The property crime, however, is 34.9, which is a fraction lower than the national average of 35.4.
Most crime happens within the southwest part of the Bronx, in neighborhoods like Melrose, Highbridge, and University Heights.
Here’s everything you need to know about the utility providers in the Bronx so you can conveniently set up your new accounts:
- Gas service: conEdison is the primary gas provider for the Bronx. You can register online to set up your service.
- Electric service: conEdison also provides electricity service to the Bronx. You can learn more about the service to your neighborhood and get started by registering online.
- Trash pick-up/recycling service: The New York City Department of Sanitation Trash manages recycling services. Find information specific to your neighborhood on their website.
- Internet/Cable service: Bronx residents are lucky to have plenty of internet/cable providers to choose from, including DISH, DIRECTV, Spectrum, Optimum, and Verizon.
Best Neighborhoods in the Bronx, NY
Need help figuring out exactly where to settle down in the Bronx? To help you get started, the following information includes key points about the top eight neighborhoods.
Steeped in history, luxurious Riverdale is a well-established suburban paradise within the Bronx. The tree-lined streets and expansive hills make residents of this beautiful neighborhood forget they’re just minutes from Manhattan and other major areas – Yonkers is to the north, Van Cortlandt Park to the east, Spuyten Duyvil to the south, and the Hudson River to the west.
Although you’ll find plenty of large mansions here, you’ll also find affordable apartments; just over half of residents choose to rent. Riverdale also attracts families, thanks to top-tier public and private schools.
Riverdale is home to many historic landmarks and famous homes. Wave Hill, the former home of Mark Twain and Teddy Roosevelt, is a beautiful attraction for residents and visitors alike. John F Kennedy’s childhood home is also open to the public. You’ll find expansive gardens and well-maintained parks throughout the neighborhood. Be sure to check out Gaelic Park, and catch one of the Rugby United New York team’s games.
- Population – 47,850
- Home Price – Median list price $425,437
- Rent Price – Median rent price $1,719
- Schools – Public schools: PS 24, PS 81, MS/HS 141, Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy, Bronx High School of Science, John F Kennedy High School Campus, IN-Tech Academy. Private Schools: Horace Mann, Riverdale Country, Fieldston.
Why Riverdale? The top-tier schools and ties to history.
Tucked in the northwest corner of the Bronx, you’ll find the middle-class residential neighborhood of Kingsbridge, located south of Riverdale and the southwest corner of Van Cortlandt Park. Kingsbridge is easily accessible by car since major roads surround it: Manhattan College Parkway to the north, the Major Deegan Expressway to the east, and Irwin Avenue to the west.
Kingsbridge is one of the most diverse areas of the Bronx, attracting new residents from around the world. You’ll see some of the most affordable rent prices in NYC here, which is why almost everyone chooses to rent, however, some detached homes are available to purchase at below-average list prices compared to the rest of the city.
Home to more than 200 merchants, Kingsbridge is unique in that it’s part of a business improvement district; you’ll never be without a shopping or dining option here. Locals will tell you all about spots like Leche Y Miel, and Caridad, where you can enjoy some of the best Latin-inspired food in the city.
- Population – 76,518
- Home Price – Median list price $279,000
- Rent Price – Median rent price $1,870
- Schools – PS 7, 37, 86, 207, 307, 310, 360, In-Tech Academy MS/HS 368
Why Kingsbridge? Affordable housing and culturally inspired dining.
Built around Fordham University, the neighborhood of Fordham is densely populated and interwoven by public transportation routes. You can easily access the surrounding areas – Kingsbridge to the north, Allerton to the east, Belmont to the south, and Harlem River Drive to the west.
Fordham has the hustle and bustle you’d expect from an urban college neighborhood. With a large population of college students, almost all Fordham residents rent apartments. The area is family-friendly too since public schools are above average and the cost of living is lower than in other parts of the city. Residents enjoy the active downtown area’s bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and stores that see more foot traffic than SoHo or Greenwich Village.
If you’re looking for a change of pace from city bustle, you can get some fresh air at the world-famous New York Botanical Gardens or the Bronx Zoo. Just be sure to visit on off-peak days and times, as these major tourist attractions can get crowded.
- Population – 98,707
- Home Price – Median list price $270,000
- Rent Price – Median rent price $1,155
- Schools – PS 33, 54, 159, 246, The Academy for Personal Leadership and Excellence, Jonas Bronck Academy
Why Fordham? The mix of city life and greenspace.
Named after the largest park in New York City, Pelham Bay is a densely populated middle-class residential neighborhood with a lot to offer. Its mix of expansive greenspace and city amenities provides the neighborhood with a great balance. It’s very accessible by car, with Pelham Bay Parkway to the north, the New England Thruway to the east, Bruckner Expressway to the south, and Hutchinson River Parkway to the west.
Most of the dense population rents apartments here. A small number of single-family homes are available for purchase, and Zillow predicts home values to increase by 6.1% in 2020 – so now may be a good time to buy.
Take some time to stroll streets like Westchester Avenue, Buhre Avenue, and Middletown Road to enjoy the offerings of all the stores and eateries heavily inspired by the large Italian and Hispanic populations. The kids will love playing and exploring in Pelham Bay Park, or Westchester Square Playground.
The parks, above-average schools, and relatively low crime rates make Pelham Bay a desirable neighborhood for families, working professionals, and retirees.
- Population – 13,070
- Home Price – Median list price $514,898
- Rent Price – Median rent price $1,875
- Schools – PS 71, 14 and Herbert H. Lehman High School
Why Pelham Bay? The parks and schools.
Concourse – proudly the home of Yankee Stadium – refers to the general area in southwest Bronx comprised of West Concourse, East Concourse, and Concourse Village. Previously thought to be an area of higher criminal activity, recent borough initiatives and construction have brought younger residents, affordable rentals and co-ops, and lower crime rates.
This up and coming urban neighborhood borders Highbridge and the Harlem River to the west, Mount Eden to the north, Melrose to the east, and Mott Haven to the south. Concourse is ideal for working professionals since it’s just a 30-minute commute to Manhattan yet is detached from the heart of the city.
The neighborhood is split pretty evenly between residential and industrial/retail focused areas. There are also hundreds of schools around Concourse, including many specialty middle and high schools. Students and families can enjoy one of the five parks and plazas in the neighborhood or enhance their education with a trip to the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
- Population – 101,566
- Home Price – Median list price $300,000
- Rent Price – Median rent price $2,000
- Schools – PS 31, 35, 53, 64, 70, 88, 114, 10, 218, Grant Avenue Elementary School, Sheridan Academy for Young Leaders, The Family School, Performance School, The Bronx Writing Academy, JS 145, 141, 22, The New Millennium Business Academy Middle School, Science and Technology Academy at Mott Hall School, Urban Science Academy, Bronx Early College Academy for Teaching and Learning, Bronx High School for Medical Science, Bronx School for Law Government and Justice, Eagle Academy for Young Men, Bronx Collegiate Academy, Bronx High School of Business, Dreamyard Preparatory School, Jonathan Levin High School of Media and Communications
Why Concourse? The schools and affordable rent prices.
On the easternmost border of the Bronx, you’ll find the small neighborhood of Country Club. It sits on the Long Island Sound with Pelham Bay to the west, Throgs Neck to the south, and Pelham Bay Park to the north. I-95 runs along the western border, and the Throgs Neck Bridge is just a 15-minute drive south for easy traveling by car.
This well-established neighborhood is an urban-suburban mix, with most residents having household incomes above the Bronx median. Most residents are families living in owned houses, and the children attend private schools.
Top-notch Italian specialty stores and delis that rival Little Italy are a result of the large Italian Country Club population. While you won’t find too many other entertainment options, the Pelham Bay neighborhood is directly west, so a short car or subway ride will quickly have you at Pelham Bay Park, The Bronx Zoo, or the New York Botanical Gardens.
- Population – 8,457
- Home Price – Median list price $536,368
- Rent Price – Median rent price $1,462
- Schools – PS 71, Villa Maria Academy
Why Country Club? The good schools and affluence.
In the heart of the Bronx sits Morris Park, a small urban residential neighborhood spanning less than half a square mile. It’s located in central Bronx with Pelham Gardens to the north, Parkchester to the south, Pelham Bay to the east, and Bronx River Parkway to the west separating the neighborhood from the Bronx Zoo.
Morris Park buzzes with a diverse population of young professionals, drawn to the area for the affordable rent prices. You’ll find many housing options, the most popular being two to three-bedroom family homes and apartment buildings.
Many Morris Park residents are healthcare professionals, thanks to its proximity to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Jack D Weiler Hospital Division of Montefiore Medical Center.
Morris Park is known for its strong sense of community pride. It’s the home of a nationally recognized Columbus Day Parade and also home to the Bronx Military Museum, which has thousands of military items on display.
Like most of the Bronx, Morris Park has a heavy Italian influence. Be sure to check out the local favorite, Patricia’s Restaurant.
- Population – 11,019
- Home Price – Median list price $338,450
- Rent Price – Median rent price $1,850
- Schools – PS 38, 105, 108, 498, Bronx High School for the Visual Arts
Why Morris Park? The affordable rent prices and plentiful public transportation options.
The up-and-coming neighborhood of Mott Haven is southwest of the Bronx, and along with Port Morris, forms the area referred to as “South Bronx.” Mott Haven borders Melrose to the north, Randall’s Island to the south, the Harlem River to the west, and the Long Island Sound to the east. East Harlem and Harlem are located directly west of Mott Haven, across the Harlem River.
The Mott Haven population has increased drastically over the past few years because of recent housing developments on Bruckner Boulevard, Alexander Avenue, and Lincoln Avenue, which are attracting diverse residents. Now, the area is a mix of historic architecture and new developments with plenty of options for affordable rent – perfect for Manhattan commuters.
While the neighborhood is primarily residential, there’s still plenty to enjoy. Mott Haven has picturesque views of the Harlem River and some unique places to shop and dine. For example, The Lit. Bar on Alexander Avenue is part wine bar, part book store, and wholly unique.
- Population – 98,789
- Home Price – Median list price $581,562
- Rent Price – Median rent price $768
- Schools – PS 18, 277, 25, 30, 40, 43, 49, 65, 154, 754, 221, IS 139, 162, 183, MS 223, South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures and the Arts, The Bronx Charter School for Children, The Bronx Academy of Letters, Bronx School for Law Government and Justice, Health Opportunities High School, Community School for Social Justice, Family Life Academy Charter School, New York City Montessori Charter School, Mott Haven Academy Charter School, Success Academy Bronx 1
Why Mott Haven? Affordable rent price and great views.
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