10 Reasons why New York is Better than Chicago

Are you choosing between two great American cities: New York and Chicago? Whether you’re deciding to move for a change of pace or trying to look for a new place of employment – both cities have a lot to offer.

These two cities are often compared regularly, but there are many reasons why New York is better than Chicago.

1. Crime rates and safety

In terms of safety, New York City stands out as a safer option compared to Chicago, with a significant margin between their crime rates. It may sound surprising to some, but New York has a very tight security system – thanks to having NYPD as the most funded police department in the country.

Crime rates in U.S. cities are measured on a scale from 1 to 100, where 100 indicates the least security and 1 indicates the most security.

For New York, the property crime rating is 24.9, and the violent crime rating is 28.2. In contrast, Chicago has a property crime rating of 46.3 and a violent crime rating of 49.9. The average violent crime rating in the U.S. is 22.7, with a property crime rating of 35.4.

These numbers underscore New York’s reputation for safety, with crime rates significantly lower than both the national average and those of other major cities, including Chicago.

On the other hand, Chicago consistently ranks among the most dangerous cities in the U.S., facing a notably high crime rate. Last year, Chicago reported four times more homicides per 100,000 people than New York. Recent data indicates that Chicago’s violent crime rate was 943 incidents per 100,000 people, while New York had a lower rate of 571 incidents per 100,000 people.

When it comes to property crimes, New York City still outperforms Chicago. Whether it’s burglaries or larceny theft, New York City’s rates are less than half of Chicago’s for both types of crime.

It’s worth noting that both cities have pockets of safety, with crime generally concentrated in specific neighborhoods.

2. Diversity

When it comes to diversity, New York City and Chicago may appear similar at first glance as major urban centers in the United States. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll see a significant difference in the richness of cultural variety and diversity.

In New York, more than 800 languages are spoken by its inhabitants, compared to about 200 in Chicago. With a larger population and a more extensive mix of international residents, New York City undoubtedly offers more options when it comes to food and entertainment. This diversity translates into a wealth of experiences for both visitors and locals, unmatched by anywhere else in the Midwest.

And if you’re keen on meeting diverse kinds of people, New York is the place to be.

3. Job Opportunities

Both cities offer many job opportunities, but New York City is larger in terms of size, which translates to more job openings. It has more concentrations of top companies in the world offering career opportunities.

The top industries in Chicago include finance, insurance, manufacturing, publishing, and food processing. Meanwhile, finance, information, law, tech, and medicine are the leading industries in New York. Also, NYC has a highly educated workforce and a business-friendly environment, providing endless opportunities for professionals seeking careers in these areas.

4. Economy

When comparing major cities like New York City and Chicago, the economy becomes a crucial factor when you are deciding to consider job opportunities and standard of living. With that in mind, New York City emerges as a more financially advantageous choice than Chicago, primarily due to its nearly double gross domestic product (GDP).

The GDP of the metropolitan U.S. totals an astonishing $20.9 trillion, and New York City makes up almost 10% of that. With a GDP of $2 trillion, New York City’s economic output is more than twice that of Chicago’s $765 billion, indicating a far wider range of economic opportunities available in the Big Apple.

Besides tremendous job growth and opportunities in various industries and the financial sector, New York City provides additional incentives, such as tax benefits. It means better prospects for those seeking opportunities to make money, making the Big Apple a more appealing destination than smaller cities like Chicago. Consequently, New York City distinctly outshines comparable-sized competitors, especially Chicago, in terms of overall economic advantages. If you wish to learn more about New York’s best places, read our Scarsdale Spotlight – Unveiling a Premier Suburban Education Haven.

New York City Subway Station

5. Public transportation

You can definitely live without a car in New York – thanks to their reliable public transportation that is widely considered one of the best in the world. The subway system in New York is open 24 hours a day, and residents can get anywhere in the city. Besides Chicago, Los Angeles is also another city that doesn’t have better public transportation compared to New York. For more information, read the 10 Reasons Why New York Is Better Than Los Angeles.

More than half (56.5%) of commuters in New York prefer the mass transit system and only 22% travel by car. However, commuters spend about 41 minutes getting to work in New York, compared to 35 minutes in Chicago. This is due to the sheer density of people on the streets.

 On the other hand, Chicago commuters move around using their cars more, as only 28.2% use the public transit system, while 49.2% use their cars.

New York City Time Square Billboards
Horizontal night view of Times Square theater neon signs, Midtown Manhattan, New York

6. Culture

New York City has plenty of cultural experiences from world-class museums to Broadway shows.

Home to the world’s most popular and critically acclaimed musicals and plays, Broadway puts New York City on the map for theater enthusiasts seeking for top-notch musicals and plays.

New York also has a lively art scene, as it is home to the thriving Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera, and the American Museum of Natural History, to name a few.

When comparing cultural richness with Chicago, there’s no contest between them as Chicago is also a vibrant cultural city, but New York stands out with the abundance of options for even the most discerning traveler.

7. Nightlife

New York is a city that never sleeps, so you can have fun options 24/7. The subway is open 24 hours a day, and almost anything is accessible at any hour of the day or night – be it bars, restaurants, nightclubs, movie theaters, shopping centers, and even pharmacies. Nightlife is complemented by an endless number of nightclubs and bars, and you can easily find gourmet restaurants that are open during the night. In New York, there’s always something fun and exciting around the corner.

The drawback to living in the Big Apple is that it can be too much for some people. Sometimes, you’ll feel like there are too many people wherever you are, too much is happening, and you can be easily overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options. 

8. Food scene

New York is a big melting pot of foreign cultures, so you can expect some of the best foods from each of the cultural groups in the city. The city’s diversity makes it a perfect location for food tourism, especially if you want to taste the flavors of the world in just one city. For example, Chinatown in N.Y. is a must-visit if you’re looking for some of the best Chinese food in the city.

Residents enjoy incredible food that can be ordered at any time of the day. Here, you can get the best bagels, cheesecake, donuts, Manhattan clam chowder, and, of course, the famous New York-style pizza. There is also an abundance of diners and coffeehouses located around the city. Many of the popular foods in New York include fast food – reflecting the need for the fast-paced life in the city. New Yorkers are always on the move in the city that never sleeps because time is money.

Meanwhile, Chicago is also known for its amazing food scene. While New York is more vibrant and fast-paced, Chicago is more laid-back and family-oriented, and this is evident in the city’s food specialties. Chicago is known for its signature deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, popcorn, and hot dogs. And it’s not just about fast food – international cuisine is also very well-represented in the Windy City. Chicago is the best food city in the U.S., but when it comes to diversity and choices, New York offers better.

9. Weather

Sure, you don’t have to worry about tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes in Chicago, but the weather is still a major downside to living in the Windy City. In fact, that’s where it got its nickname – because the weather here can be harsh. Though both cities can be freezing during the winter, New York City is not as cold as Chicago. Winters in the Chi-town can be long and brutal, and sometimes, massive snowstorms can shut down the city. Summers can also be scorching.

Compared to its Midwest counterpart, NYC has milder and more favorable weather. It experiences warm temperatures in the summer experiences more sunny days but with fewer days of extreme heat. Because it’s located near the coast, New York City also gets consistent oceanic breezes that normalize the temperature throughout the year. New York’s climate is suitable for those who prefer warm weather getaways amidst the four seasons.

10. Global Influence

Both Chicago and New York are big, metropolitan U.S. cities known around the world. But when it comes to global influence, New York is the clear winner. The Big Apple stands as a global powerhouse – influential across different fields such as politics, culture, and fashion.

New York City is home to international diplomacy, as the United Nations is headquartered there. The city is a key player in international affairs because of the various financial institutions and multinational corporations. Decisions made in the city’s boardrooms make affect the world’s economy, politics, and trade.

Also, New York is one of the fashion capitals of the world. The Fashion District in Manhattan is a center for designers, retailers, luxury brands, and fashionistas. New York Fashion Week, a premier event on the global fashion calendar showcases cutting-edge designs and pioneers global fashion trends.

Conclusion

Both Chicago and New York are great American metropolitan areas that offer many sights to see, foods to taste, experiences to try, and jobs to apply for. But New York City’s world-renowned landmarks, attractions, a myriad of dining and nightlife options, and the public transportation available 24/7, clearly New York City comes out on top. New York truly is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.