New York City and Los Angeles are some of the top economic hubs of the United States, attracting more and more people by the year. If you are considering moving to one of the two, you might want to compare the cities and make an informed decision.
Both NYC and LA are major cities with a lot to offer as far as opportunities go. NYC is more diverse than Los Angeles and is home to people from all over the world. On the flip side, housing, grocery stores, and restaurant prices are higher than in LA.
As big cities, it can be overwhelming to choose one over the other. Below, we compare these two cities on different elements that can help you determine the best city for you.
NYC vs. Los Angeles Population
New York City is the most populous city in the United States, which means it is always crowded. On the other hand, LA is less crowded, and you can enjoy a lot more personal space than in New York.
As of 2022, New York has a population of 8.4 million residents, whereas Los Angeles has a population of 3.9 million. New York has more than double the population of LA, yet it is much more compact.
This explains why NYC is almost always crowded and why there are always lines throughout the Big Apple. In Los Angeles, everything is spread apart, and more land area makes it less crowded; well, it has a much lower population density than NYC.
Regarding population diversity, NYC carries the day on this one. New York City is home to people from around the world who speak over 600 different languages. NYC has about 41.33% white, 23.82% black, 14.43 other races, and 14.29% Asian.
LA, the second largest city in the US, has a predominantly white population, making up 48.7% white and 44.6 % Hispanic or Latino. 0.8% of the population is Native American, 10.0% Asian, and 23.5% of other races. From these numbers, it is clear NYC is more diverse while LA has more white and Latino than other races.
On this note, New York is much more ‘friendlier’ than LA, considering its diversity. You are less likely to feel judged or suffer curious eyeballs in New York than in LA. But this does not mean LA is not diverse; in fact, it comes second to New York in terms of diversity.
Cost of Living in NYC vs. Los Angeles
Both cities are some of the most expensive ones in the United States, so it can be pretty challenging to pick one over the other based on how much money you should spend. But, there are still significant differences in consumer prices between the two cities.
One of the reasons why New York is one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world is the housing costs. A small one-bedroom apartment in New York can cost $3,000, which is quite a high bill to part with for most people.
This explains why people prefer to stay with roommates to share housing costs. Others choose to live out of the city center but still bear the costs of commutes to the CBD.
In LA, a one-bedroom apartment costs an average price of $2,400, slightly cheaper than in NYC. However, you need a car in LA to move around as most apartments are spread far apart from the city center.
Putting both cities side by side, you could say you get more value for money in LA having an apartment and a car for the same price as just an apartment in NYC.
If housing affordability is top of your considerations, Los Angeles is a better place. It has more affordable rent prices than NYC. But remember that other costs such as groceries, entertainment, transport, and restaurants are comparable.
The NYC public transportation system is vast and accessible for all. However, it is slightly more expensive than that of Los Angeles. But there is a catch with the LA transportation system; you need a car to get around since the system doesn’t cover the entire city, which adds to the cost significantly.
Metro rides in LA cost $1.75, while a bus ride on public buses costs about 50 cents per ride. An unlimited MetroCard, a 30-day pass, includes bus lines and metro and will cost you $100. In NYC, a single ride on the subway costs $2.75, and a monthly pass costs about $127.
This looks like a considerable difference, but if you consider the accumulative costs of private transport such as gas, insurance, and registration fees in LA, it turns out to be more expensive than NYC in terms of transport costs.
In NYC, you can get around without needing a private car since the metro lines get to every corner of the city. And the NYC taxis are affordable and accessible if you need one to get to your destination.
Additionally, New York is walkable, and you can get to the most convenient stores, restaurants, and parks without needing transport, thanks to its compact size. All factors considered, public transit costs in NYC are lower than in LA.
Job Opportunities in NYC vs. Los Angeles
Both cities hit the mark in terms of job opportunities, but the availability of these opportunities depends on the industry you are interested in. NYC boasts of a thriving industry in the finance sector, while LA is known for its buzzing technology and entertainment fields.
It’s agreeable that NYC has a higher cost of living, but it also comes with high-paying jobs. That way, you can sustain a comfortable lifestyle even with the high living costs. That said, your choice of city will highly depend on your background and career path.
Weather in NYC vs. Los Angeles
One of the best things about living in LA is the year-round weather. LA has an average of 284 days of sunshine a year which is 78% of the time. The climate in California is ideal all-around, and it’s hard not to love it.
That said, you will not experience winter living in LA vs. NYC, but you will not have the experience of true spring or fall. The mild temperatures in Los Angeles average between 70 to 80 all year, while NYC’s go as high as the 90s and as low as the 10s.
Like other east coast cities, the winters in NYC are brutal and can be pretty challenging to navigate as a newcomer. Equally, the summers are humid and hot, taking the extreme end of the spectrum. So if the weather is crucial to you, LA might have to be the choice for you.
Access to Nature in NYC vs. Los Angeles
If nature is an important motivator, you might consider how these two cities compare. LA ranks top, considering its vast land area, beautiful beaches, extensive parks, expansive deserts, and breathtaking mountains in the larger Los Angeles area.
And, since the weather is good all year round, you have more than enough opportunity to explore the city and soak yourself in nature. Some parks, such as Griffith Park, are within reach by public or private means.
As far as the city center goes, NYC has Central Park, which you can escape anytime you need a feel of nature. There are lakes and mountains too, but you would need to plan a trip and navigate the train system to experience them.
There may not be much to explore in NYC in terms of nature, but the parks in this city are epic. They redeem the city for lack of expansive green area and are well-maintained to provide that feel of nature you love.
Overall Lifestyle in NYC vs. Los Angeles
These cities are entirely different with the vibe they bring. New York City is fast-paced, buzzing, and busy, whereas Los Angeles is slower and calmer. New Yorkers are used to the lines, the rushed system, and generally busy routines.
LA locals are laid back and take their time doing things, and their system allows for that. LA residents are crazy about a highly healthy lifestyle, while New Yorkers are happy to grab fast food, a few drinks from liquor stores, and call it a night.
Even though the vibe is different, both cities have top-rated restaurants, a pool of concerts and nightclubs, and an array of events to explore.
Crime Rate in NYC vs. Los Angeles
NYC was known to be one of the cities with the highest crime rates in the United States, but this is no longer the case. Crime in NYC has gone down considerably with the increasing population, buzzing nightlife, and, of course, increased security.
On this note, there is a higher crime rate in Los Angeles than in NYC. According to a 2022 report by bestplaces.net, NYC ranks at 28.2 while LA ranks at 29.1 regarding violent crimes. This is in comparison to the overall US average of 22.7 for violent crimes.
New York recorded at 24.9 vs. LA’s 35.1 for property crime. This is in comparison with the national average of 35.4 for property crimes. These numbers are based on a 0 to 100 range, with 1 indicating low crime and 100 indicating high crime.
The Bottom Line
NYC vs. Los Angeles: Which is the best city in 2023? The best city for you entirely depends on your needs and preferences. Both cities have something unique to offer and appeal to people for different reasons; therefore, your needs, goals, and aspirations take first seat in deciding the better city for you.
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