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Cost of living comparison: Brooklyn Vs Manhattan

December 15, 2022 | By Roomrs


Historically, Manhattan rent boasted higher price points, driving New Yorkers to venture across the bridge for more affordable housing options. But more recently, Brooklyn has become somewhat of a “hot” destination for renters. Couple that with gentrification, and some neighborhoods in Brooklyn are becoming even more expensive than those in Manhattan.


So with all that being said, which is cheaper, Brooklyn or Manhattan?


According to a 2021 report of rental findings published by Douglas Elliman, In May 2021, the median rental price in Manhattan averaged around $3048. In Brooklyn, the median rental price came to $2750. Based on these recent statistics, rent in Manhattan still exceeds that of Brooklyn. However, it seems as though what used to be a much larger gap, is closing significantly.


From the data collected, it appears that rent is in fact cheaper in Brooklyn.


But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t expensive apartments in Brooklyn. There are several luxury, high-end buildings located in Brooklyn that will cost a huge chunk of your budget to rent every month. Neighborhoods like DUMO, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope, can cost you just as much, if not more, than apartments in areas like the Upper East Side or Lower Manhattan.



Cost of Living

Yes, when attempting to compare the cost of living between two boroughs, analyzing rental costs is a huge factor. Nonetheless, rent isn’t everything.


You also have to account for the price of groceries, transportation, health care, utilities, and so much more.


RocketHomes analyzed and broke down cost of living in both Manhattan and Brooklyn in a recent 2021 article.


According to their findings, cost of living in Manhattan and Brooklyn are as follows:


Cost of living: 142.5% higher than the U.S average
Cost of housing: 406.9% higher than the U.S average
Cost of healthcare: 10.9% higher than the U.S average
Cost of groceries: 38.4% higher than the U.S average
Cost of transportation: 28.5% higher than the U.S average


Manhattan has a vibrant restaurant scene, night life, museums, and is home to people from all over the world. They also are the most expensive city in all of the United States. Although wages in Manhattan are almost 40 percent higher than the national average, due to the exorbitant cost of living, their income ranks 43.2% lower than the average American who has chosen to reside in a different city.



Cost of living: 83.2% higher than the U.S average
Cost of housing: 232.2% higher than the U.S average
Cost of healthcare: 7% higher than the U.S average
Cost of groceries: 24.5% higher than the U.S average
Cost of transportation: 12.4% higher than the U.S average

As previously stated, Manhattanites began crossing the bridge in hopes of sussing out more affordable housing options in Brooklyn. Though the break down of numbers reflect overall cheaper costs, Brooklyn residents appear to make far less than those living in Manhattan. Due to the wage gap, income in relation to cost of living shows earnings for Brooklynites are about 48% less than the national average (compared to 43.2% for those living in Manhattan).

Spotlighting Transportation

Although cost of transportation in Brooklyn appeared to be 12.4% higher than the U.S national average, compared to the 28.5% in Manhattan, residents who have lived in both boroughs have made very surprising claims.


Those who have moved to boroughs outside of Manhattan, have said that some areas are extremely residential. Trains and buses appear to be less accessible, and the commute to the city can be tiring.


Manhattan is fairly small, and there are main train lines that can take you anywhere you want to go. Most of the time, its also a very short walk to and from your desired stop. Certain areas in Brooklyn show a scarcity in transportation. You may have to walk 15-20 minutes to get to a train station. This is especially common in areas like Williamsburg. It’s also likely that you will have to transfer to a second train line before arriving to your destination. Traveling within Brooklyn can also be frustrating. What would be a 10-15 minute drive, may take you 30 minutes to an hour via public transportation.



Overall Observations

Currently, Brooklyn is cheaper than Manhattan. After breaking down all available statistics, overall cost of living is less in each category (including rent, groceries, health care, and transportation).


But besides price, there are more things to consider. What does your perfect apartment look like? Do you prefer more space or better access to transportation? How far are you willing to commute for work? Do you like the hustle and bustle of the city or would you rather a more quiet, residential neighborhood?


All of these questions will affect what borough you ultimately choose to live in. Keep in mind, the price gap between Manhattan and Brooklyn is no longer as significant as it used to be, so think about all these factors when ultimately making your decision.

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