NYC Vs. Philly: Which City is Better in 2023?

NYC vs. Philly

New York City and Philly are some of the major and most expensive cities in the United States, presenting a vibrant and fast pace. They are attractive to people looking to better their lives, as they have many opportunities to offer. But, which one is better?

The size of Philadelphia is close to the size of NYC; however, New York is more crowded than Philadelphia. Philadelphia gives access to city perks without the congestion on the streets of New York City. But NYC wins with its array of career options. 

If you are considering living in one of the two big cities, it is only fitting that you compare them. You want to ensure you can live within your means, get opportunities to grow, and have access to entertainment, regardless of the city you choose. 

Below is a detailed comparison of NYC and Philadelphia; hopefully, you can make a more informed decision on the city to live in at the end.

Which City is Bigger: NYC or Philly?

Philadelphia is bigger than New York City in land size, offering more green space than New York. NYC has a higher population than Philadephia, which explains why New York is more congested than Philly, holding many residents in a small area. 

NYC vs. Philly Cost of Living

The Big Apple, New York City, is known as the most expensive city, but is Philly any better? It has a higher cost of living than Philadelphia, even though it is a major city. If you are familiar with the two, you might be surprised at how different they are regarding the cost of living. 

According to a study by, a person living in Philly and making $68,820 would need to make $130,000 in New York City to maintain the quality of life. This clearly shows that you would need to make twice as much living in New York as in Philly to lead a decent life. 

The cost of living index is significantly different between the two cities. For example, the overall index for the cost of living in Philadephia is 101.2, while New York City’s is 187.2. When it comes to food items and groceries, the index marks 102.5 for Philly and 116.6 for New York City. 

From the numbers, the cost of food and other essentials is higher in New York than in Philadelphia. This may not accurately represent the actual cost difference between the two, but it can give you a rough indication.  

Therefore, if you want to move to a new city to cut costs, Philly would be a great option. But other factors come to play in deciding which one is more affordable for you; again, depending on your job, how much you earn and where you live. 

Housing Costs in NYC vs. Philly

The price of renting in New York is higher than in Philly. For example, a two-bedroom apartment can cost about $4,000 in New York, and the same small apartment can cost an average price of about $1,300 in Philadephia. 

This makes New York 349.9% higher than Philly in terms of housing costs. 

You might want a house with dedicated office space if you do remote work. If you go for New York, you would have to pay much more than in Philly. And, the chances of owning a home in New York are slimmer than owning one in Philly. 

Only 32.6% of new yorkers own the homes they live in. On the other hand, about 52.7% of Philadephia’s residents own homes. This says a lot about how expensive housing is in New York, with only the high-level employees and entrepreneurs affording it. 

Public Transportation in NYC vs. Philly

Getting around the city is a crucial factor to keep in mind, as it is most likely that you will need to move around the city often. The public transit system in New York is more popular and advanced than that of Philadephia. 

New York City is known for its subway system, which operates seamlessly with a simple card swipe. On the other hand, the best way to get around the city in Philly is by using personal cars. But, the public transportation system is accessible should you need to use it. 

The New York transportation system has more coverage, and you can access any city corner. Philadelphia’s is not as extensive, but it is cheaper and offers a better quality ride than New York’s. 

New York’s Subway costs about $120 per month, and even though this is quite affordable for Newyorkers, it is old and prone to delays. Philly’s costs around $83 per month and is newer and more timely than New York’s. 

Both cities have a network of buses and taxis which are great alternatives to the metro. But like the subway and Septa, bus tickets and taxi rides are cheaper in Philadephia than in New York.

Attractions in NYC vs. Philly

Both NYC and Philly boast of parks and many other attraction sites; therefore, each has something to write home about. However, Philadelphia has more and is a better option since it is geographically bigger than New York City. 

Philly has about 300 neighborhood parks, 166 trails, and 40 historic sites. It has over 60 community gardens, orchards, and playgrounds. On the other hand, New York just has parks, museums, and other places. 

Philly gives you more options to explore, and all the attraction sites are within a 3-hour radius of the metropolitan area. In New York, if you get tired of the city, there is nowhere to go. 

But this does not mean there is not much to explore in New York. Central Park, Times Square, and the Hudson River are top attraction sites among various art museums spread across the city. 

Culinary Scene in NYC vs. Philly

Dining out after work is always a good idea, especially living in these hustle-spirited cities. Boat cities have a wide variety of culinary delights at various price levels. However, New York wins with variety as far as representing the globe goes. 

New York has a variety of Chinese, Japanese, and African cuisines to cater to its diverse population in the city center. It has a variety of coffee shops and fast food joints. Philly has some options; however, the most popular ones are homegrown. 

One of the most popular is Philadelphia’s cheesesteaks which, if not your cup of tea, you could savor in their soft pretzels or carb-bombs. You can still enjoy Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and other cuisines in Philly. 

One thing that stands out with Philadephia is the breweries. You can grab a beer regardless of where you are in Philly, and there is so much to sample. 

Employment in NYC vs. Philly

New York City is known as a hub of opportunities, which in all might, it is. It is attractive to business owners and career-oriented individuals looking for opportunities to invest in and grow. 

Because of this, New York has a myriad of establishments ranging from small-sized companies to large corporations. These contribute to NYC’s growing workforce, translating to its low unemployment rate. There are thousands of jobs to choose from, regardless of the career. 

New York’s unemployment rate stands at 4.5%, much lower than Philly’s 7.1%. The significant difference puts the city of New York at an advantage. There are notable differences between both cities regarding salaries and wages. 

New Yorkers get an average of $31,300 annually, while Philadelphia’s workforce makes an average of $21,600 per year. New York’s salaries are attractive; however, the cost of living is much higher than that of Philly- essential to keep in mind. 

Final Thoughts

Which is better to live in? Philadelphia is better in many ways, including the overall cost of living, transportation, and more. On the other hand, New York has more job opportunities, and the salaries are higher than Philadephia. 

If you are looking to move for job opportunities, New York is your best bet, even though you will have to deal with the high cost of living. But if you are looking for a small-town feel with the perks of a big city and a lower cost of living, then Philly will do it for you. 

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