New York City vs. New York State: Where Should You Live?


Some people like New York. They might appreciate the state in general because of its political tendencies.

Others might like how many activities they can enjoy there. New York has legalized gambling apps and websites, which attract some residents. It now has legalized recreational marijuana as well, which some people consider a draw.

If you reside in New York, though, you can choose New York City, or you might also live elsewhere in the state. You may reside in one of the smaller cities, like Rochester, Albany, or Syracuse. You may live in a medium-sized city like Buffalo.

Should you live in NYC or elsewhere in New York State if you like what this part of the country offers? We’ll discuss each option now.


New York City is the country’s largest metropolis, and others aren’t close. About eight-and-a-half million people live there, more than the population of several entire states.

If you need work, you can find it in NYC. Whatever your profession, you can likely find a place for yourself if you’re tenacious and have a sparkling resume.

You might work in a more dangerous profession, like construction. You will find common causes of ironworker accidents and injuries in NYC, but you can also join a union. That means you’ll get better-than-average pay and significant retirement benefits as well.

You can work in retail or the security industry. You might work in the restaurant industry or get a job in healthcare. Maybe you’ll become a teacher or work in politics.

You can get most of these jobs outside of NYC as well. You can certainly find equivalent jobs in Buffalo, Albany, or Rochester.

There’s a difference, though. In a smaller city, your boss likely won’t pay you as much. You can get more money doing equivalent work in NYC since most businesses there understand the economy demands they pay more.

The Cost of Living

You should also understand that if you live in New York City, you’re living in one of the hands-down most expensive cities in the country. NYC consistently remains in the top five if you’re looking at the priciest places to live in the US. San Francisco stays number one, but you must make some real money if NYC sounds appealing.

If you live on your own in NYC, you need far more money than you must make if you live in a smaller city like Rochester or Albany. However, even smaller New York cities have a higher price tag than places you could rent throughout the South or Midwest.

That means, unless you have a job where you make very good money, you probably need to live with a significant other and put both your incomes toward rent. You might also get a roommate or roommates. You can do that and survive more easily, either in NYC or a smaller New York city.

What About if You Hope to Purchase a House?

If you hope to purchase a house, it should not surprise you that NYC houses cost an obscene amount. The mean average price keeps going up year after year. Even the smallest homes in NYC cost far more than you’d pay for a place in Syracuse, Rochester, etc.

Even houses in smaller New York cities or towns upstate keep becoming less affordable, though. In the past few years, reasonably affordable homes in cities and towns upstate have skyrocketed.

That’s true virtually everywhere in America. Housing prices have calmed down slightly over the past year or so, but they still remain very high in most places.

If you intend to purchase a house that’s in NYC, you must probably win the lottery or inherit some significant family wealth. You might also get a very high-paying job. Something in the legal profession, the medical profession, or possibly becoming an architect might get you the money you need.

Other than that, you’ll probably keep renting. You won’t do much better upstate, but at least you won’t pay those completely crazy NYC prices.

Other Considerations

When you consider NYC, you’re looking at the City that Never Sleeps. That’s not an exaggeration. There’s always something going on, whether that’s professional sports, parties, live music, etc. You can always visit a museum or attend a play on Broadway.

You pay top dollar when you live in NYC, but you get to say you live there. That’s part of what you’re buying, or renting, in most cases.

When a person asks where you live, you can say you reside in the world’s most famous city. That alone makes you someone who’s tough and resilient. You must embody those qualities, or the city chews you up and spits you out.

If you live somewhere else in New York State, you might like the perks we mentioned earlier, but perhaps you don’t feel you can afford NYC on your own. A time may also come when you live in NYC that the grind gets you down. You may not like taking the subway everywhere and enduring the endless times the train gets stuck on the tracks, delayed because of traffic passing ahead.

If you fancy Albany, Rochester, Syracuse, or Buffalo, you can pay less money in rent, and you’ll get a more subdued experience. You don’t get the frantic pace that NYC thrusts at you every moment.

You won’t have the same cultural opportunities, but you’ll probably know your neighbors, which rarely happens with the average NYC dweller. You can enjoy a small-town, communal feel, which you likely won’t experience in the nation’s largest and most hectic city.

You can also live somewhere completely rural. New York State has plenty of farmland, but that’s an entirely different experience and one that not everyone enjoys.

Consider everything we’ve mentioned, and make your choice accordingly. NYC and the rest of the state have completely different flavors. A frenetic pace might sound attractive, but someone else may want a calmer, more relaxed environment.


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