New York City is by far one of the most desirable places to live in the US. Access to jobs, incredible entertainment, fantastic transport links – and that’s just for starters. Therefore, it makes sense that, on average, living here costs a pretty penny. But what is a good salary in NYC, honestly?
I’ve done some research and data-crunching for you, and it seems that per capita (for a solo earner), a salary between $45,000 and $60,000 is likely to get you by in NYC, though inflated costs here means many people aim for up to $100,000 as a base (per capita).
However, this isn’t necessarily considering your circumstances, tax expectations, and how much you’re likely to spend as a household. Let’s start breaking this down.
What’s a good salary in New York City?
As broken down in our other guides to salaries, the best answer to this question is within the data set at a variety of factors for New York City, New York State, and the US in general. Here’s a quick breakdown for salaries.
|Region||Median: All||Median: Male||Median: Female|
|New York State||$63,620||$68,058||$60,053|
While these statistics are useful, it’s worth remembering that they can and will change at any time. Therefore, I encourage you to take a look at our US income percentile calculator and Income Percentile by State calculator for the latest figures, and to compare your current salary with the city (and country) averages and medians. The calculator also lets you analyze the data by gender as well.
Median salary in NYC
As above, the median salary (which is the midpoint of all salaries within New York City) is likely to be around $65,600. It’s a substantial increase over the median salary for the rest of the country. However, keep in mind that the medians listed above are based on individual earnings.
On a household basis, the median income is closer to to $68,000. Interestingly enough, this is lower than the median household income for New York state at $74,300.
The median income per household in the US total is between the two figures at around $69,700.
Average salary in New York City
When working with average salaries in NYC, as you can see, the figures skew a little higher. Some resources and statisticians claim that individuals in NYC can earn as much as $100,000 per year on average. However, as you might expect, this is boosted thanks to higher wage earners (and might not give an accurate picture of what you could earn in the city).
The average household income for the US total is said to fall at around $91,000, whereas NYC households could expect to earn $112,000.
Again, these are only estimates and cover a broad range of different jobs and boroughs. Check out our US household income percentile calculator if you’d like to see how your household measures up against the rest of the country.
If you’re interested in how percentiles break down by state, the household income percentile calculator for different states is what you’ll want to try.
Median salaries in NYC by age
What’s interesting about salaries in NYC is that the medians seem to hit their peaks for people above the age of 25, yet below the age of 65. Here’s what estimated figures show us at the time of writing, based on NY state:
|Age of individual||Median salary in New York|
|Up to 25 years||$39,000|
|Between 25 and 44 years||$86,000|
|Between 45 and 64 years||$89,000|
|Over 65 years||$52,000|
Therefore, if you’re between the ages of 25 and 64 years old, earning between $86,000 and $89,000 is considered “typical” if you live in NY state. In NYC, being the capital, that’s likely to be even higher.
Other factors that drive salaries
While it’s easy to suggest what’s considered a “good” salary based on averages and medians in NYC, the cost of living here is fairly high compared to the rest of the country. For example, it’s estimated that an average family of four spends around $5.6k here before monthly rent.
For an individual, that breaks down at around $1.5k before rent, or $18k per year. That sounds like you’ve got money to spare based on the statistics listed above, but your circumstances can and will vary.
Costs you’ll need to consider
Before you leap in and accept that $50k job in NYC, here are a few other points to consider when pricing up the cost of living.
At the time of writing, you’ll pay 4% on all income up to $8.5k if you live and work in New York City. This rate increases above that threshold to 4.5%, with $340 on top.
If you were to earn between $13,901 and $80,650 as an individual in NYC, you’ll end up having to give 5.85% above the lower threshold over to the IRS, with a charge of $600 on top. Households earning between $80,651 and $215,400, meanwhile, start paying 6.25% on anything over the lower threshold and an extra $4,504.
That extra $4.5k is a big leap if you’re even a dollar over the lower threshold. Therefore, make sure to calculate your taxes carefully before moving.
Spouse wages and rent
To own a property in New York City, it’s often difficult if you’re a single earner – which means it really does pay to move with a partner!
A two-bedroom apartment in New York City will cost you around $5,100 per month. That’s actually decreased based on statistics from a year ago (at time of writing).
Renting a one-bedroom apartment here actually isn’t that much cheaper, and the costs of studio and single-bedroom living in NYC appear to be increasing, too. You’ll typically pay around $4,200 for a one-bed apartment in the city.
So, let’s add this to the figures mentioned above. For a family of four (so, including spouse and dependent children), you’re likely to spend around nearly $11k per month just to live in NYC in a two-bedroom apartment. That’s based on average rates, too – it doesn’t necessarily mean you get to live in the lap of luxury.
That calculates at around $132k per year, meaning you and your spouse should ideally bring in at least $66k each. But, again, your circumstances and needs will vary. For example, what if you want a third bedroom for your eldest child as they age? Can you expect two children to share a room at all?
And New York is famous for its 3x the rent rule, so you’ll need to keep in mind that you can show sufficient income to rent a place in the city.
For the single dweller, rent costs plus living expenses are likely to push yearly demands up to around $69k. Therefore, it’s only a little more expensive for single people living in the city than families.
When it comes to property rates if you’re buying outright, of course, you’ll look at a median real estate sale of around $700k. Time to start hunting down those mortgage deals…
The statistics quoted above do take into account average grocery costs in NYC, but let’s isolate them into their own section for a little more insight.
As of 2022, it’s reported that each individual is likely to spend around $486 per month on food and essentials. That’s a huge leap from the US average of around $348. Of course, these statistics will always change, but the difference between the US and NYC is always likely to be stark.
Keep in mind, too, that these costs don’t take into account any rates you’d pay for eating out or entertainment, either.
Average gas prices in NYC, too, clock in at around $3.87 per liter for regular, and $4.65 per liter for premium. In many ways, it’s cheaper to rely on public transit if you’re living and working in the city!
What are the best-paid jobs in New York City?
To stand any chance of making salaries to fend off the cost of living and renting in NYC, it seems you’d do best to find a role in healthcare or technology.
According to an Indeed survey, anesthesiologists expect salaries of around $428k per year, with orthodontists taking away $301k. Surgeons and psychiatrists, too, expect salaries on average to weigh in between $200k and $300k. This data is consistent with occupational income stats for the entire country too. No surprises here – being a doctor in the US and in NY really pays well!
That said, management positions also pay well and seem to keep costs of living at bay for the most part. An IT systems manager, for example, can expect to take away around $80k per year, with general managers of various brands making similar wages.
Advertising, marketing, and sales managers are also highly valued in NYC. Their salaries roll in between $83k and $92k on average.
Therefore, to make the most of living in NYC, it seems pretty lucrative to chase those promotions.
Is $100k a good wage in New York City?
For an individual, yes, $100k is likely to be a reasonable wage for living in NYC. However, you might not take home as much money from this salary as you’d expect – as rent, mortgage and grocery costs in the city are higher than the US average.