NYC Vs. D.C.: Which City is Better in 2022?


NYC vs Washington D.C

Are you thinking about making a major move and getting a change of scenery? Before you call the moving company and start packing those cardboard boxes, you should weigh your options thoroughly. Both New York City and Washington D.C. are great places to live, but they have significant differences. You will need to consider what is most important to you in a new place of residence before you make any moves.

Both NYC and D.C. have a similar cost of living, weather, and cultural opportunities. However, D.C. will give you more space for roughly the exact cost and has access to more historical sites. Crime is also higher in D.C. than in NYC, although NYC has a larger population than D.C.

Take a closer look at how these two major cities compare in top categories like population, cost of living, and more.

NYC vs. D.C. Population

If you are worried about which city will have more congestion, the population is paramount. It will likely come as no surprise to most that New York City has a bustling population, much larger than that of the small city of Washington D.C. One represents big city living while the other is a fairly urban area but much smaller.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, NYC has a population that hovers right around 8.4 million. On the other hand, D.C. has a population of just under 700,000 people.

NYC vs. D.C. Cost of Living

For many people, the cost of living is a huge factor in where they decide to move. It influences everything from the cost of your apartment to your grocery bill. Take a closer look at some of the major categories to consider regarding the cost of living in NYC vs. D.C.

Cost of Housing in NYC vs. D.C.

You might be surprised by the cost of housing in these two cities. While many people believe that NYC is more expensive, Washington D.C. boasts a higher median rent. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the median gross rent for D.C. is somewhere around $1,600 compared to NYC’s $1,489.

If you were hoping to own a home instead of renting, the opposite is true. Washington D.C. has a lower median value of owner-occupied housing at $618,100. At the same time, NYC comes in at $635,200.

However, there is one thing that you should consider when it comes to the price discrepancy between the two major cities: space. Apartments and homes in New York City tend to be much smaller than those found in D.C., which may account for the lower median rent. The homes in D.C. may be as much as twice the size of those offered in NYC.

Cost of Food in NYC vs. D.C.

Everyone has to eat sometime, so you should know how much to budget for your meals. Both major cities have higher than average costs for your food budget. Consider some of these numbers:

Remember that these numbers are based on grocery purchases, assuming that you will make all of your meals at home. This isn’t realistic for most people who order takeout or visit an upscale restaurant a couple of times each week.

NYC has a more expensive fare for eating out in a mid-range restaurant. A meal with three courses for two people will set you back about $100. In Washington D.C., you can expect to pay about $75 for a three-course meal for two.

Transportation in NYC vs. D.C.

Transportation is an important thing to consider in both cities. NYC has an average commute of 41.4 minutes, while D.C. residents will have a much shorter 30.9-minute commute. The real question is, how much will you pay for your transportation between the two cities?

NYC boasts an impressive public transportation system that makes the commute more appealing. It allows you to get work done on the subway or in the backseat of a taxi as someone else ferries you from place to place. If you can take advantage of public transportation, you will pay far less for transportation in the city. Costs range from $2.75 to $6.75 for fares on public transportation in NYC.

Fortunately, Washington D.C. may not have the complicated subway system that NYC does, but it still has an extensive public transportation system. Their prices vary based on what time of day you ride, but costs range from $2.25 to $6.00 during peak hours.

Lifestyle and Culture in NYC vs. D.C.

You will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the culture in both NYC and D.C. offers plenty of things for you to do. It simply depends on what you like to do in your spare time. NYC has a robust social life and nightlife, while D.C. has more historical sites for you to visit.

New York City is a city full of a rich culture that never stops, no matter what time of day it is. The city is known for Broadway plays, great music, and thriving nightlife. If you want something to do at any hour, day or night, then New York City is the right fit for you.

During the day, you can plan a visit to Central Park, the Empire State Building, or the Statue of Liberty. You can tour museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the American Museum of Natural History. There are endless possibilities in this bustling city.

Washington D.C. is full of rich history, monuments, and memorials that you can visit, many of them completely free. For example, you may want to see some of these sites to learn more about the history of our nation:

  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Jefferson Memorial
  • Capitol Hill
  • Arlington Cemetery

Of course, there are also plenty of inexpensive museums you can tour, including the Smithsonian museums and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Both areas have lots to do and learn, but NYC is a busier city. If you want to live in the city that truly never sleeps, then NYC might be the way to go. Washington D.C. has plenty of things to do, but many of them are restricted to daytime hours.

Job Industry in NYC vs. D.C.

Both New York City and D.C. have thriving job industries where you can earn a decent living. Keeping in mind that both are relatively expensive places to live, you may require a larger-than-average salary. That is why Inc. put together a list of the best places to live if you want to make more than $100,000 annually.

According to their ranking, NYC comes just one spot above Washington D.C. New York has more than 22,000 jobs in this pay range, while D.C. has just over 17,000.

In terms of unemployment, NYC has a slightly higher rate hovering around 8 percent, while D.C. has a rate of 7.5 percent.

Both areas will have robust job opportunities for qualified candidates. Diversity is plentiful, giving you the chance to explore many possibilities for your career. If you are serious about growing in your current field, you may be able to find a position that suits you in either city.

Climate in NYC vs. D.C.

Climate won’t be a major deciding factor for you if you are thinking about making a move to one of these two cities. Because they are so close to one another geographically, you can experience a similar climate. They tend to have milder summers than some of the more southern cities, with temperatures reaching between 85 and 90 degrees.

In terms of rainfall, both cities will see roughly 45 inches of rain annually. However, snowfall is a bit different. NYC can bank on seeing more snow than D.C., with NYC getting 25 inches of snow each year compared to D.C.’s 13 inches.

Crime Rate in NYC vs. D.C.

When it comes to crime rates, Washington D.C. has the highest crime rate in the country. This is one factor that you will definitely want to consider before you start packing those boxes. They have roughly 5,400 incidents per 100,000 people. Unfortunately, this statistic doesn’t tell the whole picture. Their crime rate is decreasing, but homicides are on the rise.

NYC is one of the safer big cities in the country. There are roughly 1,300 crimes per 100,000 people. Unlike D.C., homicides and murder rates in the NYC area are declining for the upcoming year.

Which City is the Better Choice?

Both cities are great options if you want to make a major move this year. They will have similar access to culture, public transportation, and career advancement opportunities. The living costs are comparable though you may get more space in the D.C. area. If you want to move to a bustling area with plenty of opportunities, you can’t go wrong with either one of these major cities.

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