New York Vs. San Francisco

New York vs San Francisco

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    Seems difficult to decide between living in New York And San Francisco. Well, it’ll surely be.

    Both are the two most popular and most expensive cities in America. So, it’s obvious to debate which city is better and why. 

    Both New York and San Francisco have a lot to offer their residents, with each having its own pros and cons.

    While New York is known as the financial and cultural hub of the USA. On the other hand, San Francisco is known for its technology and the iconic Silicon Valley.

    New York offers a hustle culture and magnificent city-like vibes, while San Francisco offers ancient Victorian architectural vibes and beautiful Peninsula Bay views.

    Not only this but there is much more information to encounter like this. So, read on to know which one is better, New York vs San Francisco’s cost of living in 2023. 

    Is NYC or San Francisco more expensive?

    The cost of Living in San Francisco vs New York is slightly costlier than the latter by 10.2%. While both cities feature a much higher cost of living than the US average.

    The overall cost of living in New York is 168.6, i.e. 68.8% higher, while the cost of living in San Francisco is 244, i.e. 144% higher than the US average. 

    Is it cheaper to live in New York or San Francisco?

    It is cheaper to live in San Francisco than in New York. While the average living expense of a single individual in New York is $1521 per month without rent, in San Francisco, it’s $1850 per month without rent. 

    Differences between Living in New York and San Francisco?

    MIT compares NY vs SF’s cost of living into seven different typical expenses along with other miscellaneous costs for each state: real estate, education, transportation, tax rates, and more.

    Let us dig into the topic more and more so that it will help you weigh between California vs. Texas.

    Check out the factors that are considered in making a difference between New York and San Francisco in the article below.

    1. Cost of living in New York vs San Francisco

    Both New York & San Francisco have been listed as the most expensive states in the US.

    Cost of living in New York vs San Francisco

    The cost of living depends on several parameters like food and groceries, property prices, transportation costs, average incomes, healthcare, utilities, education, quality of life, and more. 

    The average cost of living for a single individual to live in New York is $5300 & for a family of four is $7900 per month.

    Similarly, the average cost of living in San Francisco for a person is $5600 & for a family of four is $8600 per month.

    You can find a slight difference in the parameters between both US cities. Let us compare all the parameters and try to conclude a comparative cost of living between the two cities.

    The cost of indices is based on the national US average of 100. A value below 100 means New York is cheaper than San Francisco or the US average and vice-versa.

    Overall New York’s cost of living is 168.6

    Overall San Francisco’s cost of living is 244

    Cost of living indicesNew YorkSan FranciscoUS The difference in COL between NY and SF 
    Overall168.622410031% less
    Food and groceries116.6116.6100Equal 
    Housing cost 294.3596.210050.6 less
    Utilities150.595.510050.5% more
    Transportation181.1158.210014.5% more
    Health 127.611510010.9% more
    Miscellaneous121.2120.51000.6% more


    Is San Francisco more expensive than New York?

    As per statistical reports, it is more expensive to live in San Francisco than in New York by 30.9%.

    2. Housing Prices in NY vs. San Francisco

    The cost of housing makes San Francisco the most expensive city to live in. Even though its prices touch sky-high, it gets sold very quickly within a 10-20 days period.


    The median housing price in San Francisco is $1,500,000 and the rent of a one-room apartment averages $3800 per month. 

    While in the case of New York, the average home and rental prices remain less than that of  San Francisco, but costs are higher than that of the US average. 

    The real estate market in New York is quite diverse, easily available, and depends on the area you buy.

    The median housing price in New York is $830,000 and the rent of a one-room apartment averages $3400 per month in 2023. 

    But sometimes searching for an apartment in New York can be daunting.

    You might face challenges like small and costly houses, long-term rental agreements, and paying broker’s fees, which makes NY so expensive.

    So, searching for a home through agents and ditching some belongings on rental storage are recommended.

    Is housing more expensive in San Francisco or New York?

    In 2023, the housing prices in San Francisco were quite expensive than in New York by 102.7%.

    Is rent higher in NYC or San Francisco?

    The monthly rent in San Francisco is higher than in NYC. The average monthly rent in San Francisco is $3767 and in San Francisco is $2495.

    Is New York or San Francisco better for Rent?

    The rent in New York is less than that in San Francisco, making it a better city for rent.

    3. Crime rate in New York vs. SF

    When we compare New York Vs San Francisco Crime Rate, New York is considered much safer than San Francisco, despite both being safe for a metro city, The San Francisco crime rate compared to other cities has more assault, substance abuse, and robbery because of its large homeless population, single homes with no security, and a slanted approach to criminal punishment.

    Safe City

    But in the case of New York, buildings have watchmen and security systems, the communities and tourists are constantly protected by the police force, streets are bloomed with lights, the entire city is checked by CCTV surveillance, and more. 

    Crime typeNew YorkThe USA.USA
    Violent crime28.24022.7
    Property crime257935.4


    Is New York safer than San Francisco?

    No, New York is 42% safer than San Francisco.

    4. Economy in New York vs. San Francisco

    San Francisco is known for its technological businesses; besides, it is renowned for its financial, cultural, insurance, professional, and medical services in the USA.

    Compare Economy

    This empowers the state with a GDP of $501 billion, making it the #6 largest, and global economic hub in the US.

    On the other hand, New York also enclosed the largest economy in the US with a GMP of over $2.1 trillion & GDP of $1.5 trillion with a 23.6 million population.

    This makes the state rank in the 34th position for its economic growth in the nation. 

    In terms of median household income, San Francisco pays $96,265, which is 39.9% more than New York’s $57,782.

    Is San Francisco’s economy good?

    San Francisco’s economy in 2023 is better than NY’s. Silicon Valley in SF is the technological hub driving various startups on a global, regional, and international level. Due to this, SF’s economy is ranked 23rd in the world & 6th in the nation in 2023.

    Why is San Francisco so economically successful?

    San Francisco is a leading region for entrepreneurship, technology, and investment business. Leading technological advances have been conceived and scaled in SF, leading to economic growth and prosperity in the region.

    5. Weather in NY vs SF

    There is a wide diversity in climatic and weather conditions in NY and SF.

    San Francisco maintains a steady Mediterranean climate throughout the year; summers are warm, and winters are mild and foggy at times due to its proximity to the ocean.


    The average temperature that the city notices ranges from around 50°F during winter to 72°F during summer. 

    But, New York experiences all four seasons in one go, along with harsh weather conditions year around.

    Spring and fall are pleasant to experience & is the best time to visit New York weather-wise.

    However, the summers are extremely hot with an average temperature of around 80-100°F and extremely chilly winters, with extremely low temperatures dropping down to 14°F and below.  

    In contrast, NYC also experiences extreme winters and summers.

    Why is San Francisco warmer than New York?

    Hot air from the desert hits the coasts of San Francisco, leading to warmer temperatures in San Francisco than in New York.

    Why is New York City so hot?

    New York is located at 41 degrees latitude and in a place where different winds combine. Cold winds from Canada and warm winds from the Gulf of Mexico combine to present a warm and unstable climate.

    6. Population Comparison between San Francisco vs New York

    NY is the second-most densely populated after San Francisco.

    According to recent statistics, NY has 8.5 million inhabitants living in 302 square miles of area, making a population density of 27,000 residents per square mile.

    Population Comparison

    On the contrary, San Francisco’s population comprises 864,000 inhabitants, living in a 46.9 square miles area, making a population density of 18000 residents per square mile. 

    Thus, New York is 6.5 times smaller than San Francisco, in terms of population and makes SF less crowded. Isn’t it a great point to note for those moving to San Francisco?

    What is the current population of San Francisco?

    The current population of San Francisco is around 0.8 million inhabitants.

    How much is the Population in New York?

    The growth rate in NYC is about 7.7% between 2000 and 2010 and shows a consistent and surging population growth.

    7. Education System in NY vs SF

    If you’re moving to New York with a family, you must know that NY offers the best public, private, and NPS schools than SF. 


    It hosts the largest public school system in the US and spends most of its budget on educational facilities and amenities.

    It has received #4 in school quality, #23 in pupil safety factor & #13 in pupil success in 2023, as per Scholaroo.

    Besides, New York University and Columbia University are the most expensive institutes globally, spending more than $15000 per student each year against the national average of $10,560.

    While in the case of San Francisco, the public schools are highly appreciated and are 114 in number with 55,000+ enrolled students, making it the 7th largest School district in the state.

    Besides this, San Francisco also has NPS and private schools including leading University is like California State University of California & California community colleges system.

    Does NY vs SF offer any scholarship program?

    NY spends $20,257 per student on scholarships which is  60% more than San Francisco’s per-student expenditure of $12,975.

    What is the teacher students ratio in NY vs SF?

    The average public student-teacher ratio in NYC is 13:1, and 23:1 in San Francisco. 

    Which is Better in Education-New York or SF?

    New York is better in education as compared to SF. NYC spends about 19% of its budget on education and is known to host better facilities and amenities.

    Are NY public schools good?

    Yes, NYC hosts some top-rated schools, and the education offered is of a very high standard. The NYC Public School System is the largest in the US.

    8. Job Opportunities in NY vs SF

    Both New York and San Francisco are well-known for offering quality jobs with handsome salaries in various fields. 

    Job Opportunities

    While NY is considered the financial, technological, and medical hub, SF is known as the startup capital of the US.

    Also, SF pays 4% more salaries to their employees than that of NY.

    SF is an innovative and technological center, and the Great Silicon Valley is where leading innovations are conceptualized and scaled.

    Should I move to SF or NY for a job?

    As far as job opportunities are concerned, between NY and SF depends on various factors like job role, average salary, and type of company. But fairly, both cities have great employment opportunities to explore and join in.

    Are salaries higher in SF or NYC?

    Salaries are higher in SF compared to NY. The average wage in SF is $96,265, and in NYC, it is $57,782.

    9. Taxes in New York vs San Francisco

    New York vs California taxes play a major factor in creating the cost of living differences between the states. 


    Both the cities have high-income taxes, with NY having a 3% city tax which SF doesn’t have. 

    While San Francisco has a marginal tax rate of 4% for low earnings, New York imposes 5.5% on higher annual incomes.

    Taxes are used for the management of administrative systems and infrastructure facilities.

    The rest tax details of both cities are listed below:

    Taxes New YorkSan Francisco 
    Income tax4% to 8.82% (+3%-4% city tax)1% to 13.33%.
    Sales Tax8.52%8.63%
    Property tax1.62%1.18%
    Gas Tax17.35 cents per gallon 18 cents per gallon


    Does San Francisco have high taxes?

    No, San Francisco does not have high tax rates. Tax rates are charged at a modest rate of 1.50% of earned income in addition to California income tax and Federal income tax.

    Are taxes higher in SF or NYC?

    New York has the highest marginal income tax rate in the US.

    What is the tax rate in New York?

    New York imposes 8.52%  of total state and local sales tax (4% + 4.875%) and 4% to 8.82% of income taxes on taxpayers for the tax year 2023.

    Does San Francisco have a city income tax?

    No, San Francisco doesn’t have any city income tax. 

    10. Public Transportation in SF vs NY

    NYC has the best public transportation system in the US, followed by San Francisco at a close second.

    Both of them have buses and trains for local transportation for the entire city.

    Public Transportation

    Transportation depends on factors, like convenience, number of transit routes, the distance between the stops, and frequency.

    Based on these factors, NY tops the chart of best public transportation systems.  

    The San Francisco Public transportation System consists of city cars, cable cars, BART trains, and ferries.

    SF has cheaper public transportation services. But it fails to provide service quickly as it experiences heavy traffic during peak hours. 

    Why does San Francisco not have a subway?

    San Francisco does not have a subway because of the unusual topography of the mainland and faulty lines in the area.

    How good is San Francisco public transportation?

    San Francisco has the second-best public transportation system in the US. Naturally, the infrastructure and efficiency of SF are quite good.

    What is the main transportation in New York?

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, also known as MTA, is the main transportation authority in New York.

    The city’s rail and bus system comes under the MTA, which is affordable, environmentally friendly, and operates around the clock.

    New York vs San Francisco FAQs

    Is New York the best city for America?

    NY provides access to world-class facilities, amenities, and infrastructure and ample outdoor things to do in NY like walking, kayaking, biking, etc.

    Further, NYC has the best transportation, education system, safer communities, affordable housing facilities, and great nightlife, making it the best city in America.

    Is San Francisco the best city in the world?

    San Francisco was crowned as the best city in the world in 2021 due to the way it handled Covid-19, quality cannabis, high vaccination rates, and judicial inclusivity as per the survey conducted by Time Out magazine. San Francisco also has open, green spaces and thriving art culture.


    Now that you have gone through every parameter and difference between living in NY or SF, the main question is which one is better?

    Actually, it all depends on you and the factors you consider based on your income, priorities, efficiency, and affordability.  

    You have got to make the best choice. So, Make sure to do the background check right before moving to NYC or SF or any other US state or vice-versa. 

    This article answers most of the queries.  We hope it helps!

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