Boston vs New York City: Which Is Better? (2023)

By PropertyClub Team
Jun 18th 2023
New York and Boston are the two largest cities in the northeast. As a result, they often draw comparisons as to which is better. Both have their own unique culture with a lot to offer residents. But New York is much larger and features a wider variety of opportunities than Boston, which is smaller in both size and population and features a more homogenous culture.

Here is a deeper look at New York City vs Boston and which excels in what category.

hash-markCost of Living

New York City is more expensive than Boston but not by much. NYC ranks the most expensive city in the US, while Boston is fourth (San Francisco and Honolulu are 2 and 3). The cost of living in New York is 129% higher than the national average, whereas it’s only about 48% higher in Boston. The cost of housing, groceries, and transportation are all much higher in NYC than in Boston. But surprisingly, Boston has New York beat when it comes to the cost of healthcare and utilities. 


Being two coastal cities in the Northeast, Boston and New York both have a similar climate. However, New York tends to have slightly warmer winters because it’s farther south. They both feature a pleasant fall and spring punctuated by cold winters and blistering summers. But the summers in both places tend to be comparable, while Boston experiences colder winters with more snowfall. The average low point for a night in January in NYC is 26 degrees Fahrenheit, while in Boston, the average low point for the same month is 19F. Boston also averages about 48 inches of snowfall per year, while New York averages around 25 inches.

hash-markPublic Transportation

NYC has one of the best public transportation systems in the country. It’s the only transit system in the world that runs 24/7, and it can get you almost anywhere in the city for one flat rate. Boston’s public transportation system is also fast and efficient with a solid mix of buses, subways (also called the T), commuter rails, and ferries. But Boston is a much more sprawling city, making it challenging to get across town. Plus, most Boston trains stop running by 1 am and don’t start up again until 5 am.

hash-markJob Opportunities

New York also has Boston beat in terms of job opportunities. New York offers a diverse job market fueled by financial services, healthcare, retail, technology, and education. Boston’s economy is more tightly focused on healthcare, finance, and higher education. New York is the land of opportunity. Although the job market is competitive, you can find a high-level position doing almost anything if you have the requisite skill set. While Boston also offers a variety of high-paying positions for job seekers, it doesn’t offer as much variation or the sheer volume of opportunity as New York.

hash-markCuisine and Lifestyle 

New York is the clear winner when it comes to cuisine. While you can certainly find plenty of unique local restaurants in Boston, New York has a culinary scene that is world-famous and some of the best restaurants in the world are located in the Big Apple. Plus, you can find spectacular dishes from all across the world in New York. Boston offers a more laidback, family-oriented lifestyle that is attractive to many residents. New York, in comparison, is much more work-oriented and offers round-the-clock entertainment that ranges from nightclubs to karaoke bars and everything in between. So, NYC certainly provides more action and excitement, but it definitely isn’t for everyone.  

hash-markCrime Rates

Both places are considered quite safe for large cities, however, Boston tends to feature a slightly higher crime rate. According to an index created by Best Places, Boston scored 37.3 out of 100 for violent crime and 35.8 for property crime. New York, in comparison, scored 28.2 for violent crime and 24.9 for property crime. The national average is 22.7 for violent crime and 35.4 for property crime. While both are considered safe, walkable cities, they are still major urban areas. But the NYPD is one of the most well-funded police forces in the country, which helps keep crime to a minimum across categories.  

hash-markCity Culture

Both have a distinct culture that will attract a slightly different demographic. New York is the city that never sleeps and is well known for its work hard, play hard attitude, which often includes long work weeks and action-packed weekends. Boston has a more collegiate atmosphere, with several top universities based in the city. It still features a popular bar scene but doesn’t have quite the same energy as New York. NYC is great for those who want excitement, diversity, and the ability to climb the corporate ladder. In contrast, Boston is better for those who want big-city amenities but not quite as much round-the-clock action as New York.

hash-markCommute Times

Boston tends to feature slightly more favorable commute times. On average, the commute time for a Boston resident is 10% shorter than for a New Yorker. The average commuter in New York takes about 41 minutes to get to work, whereas the average commuter in Boston takes about 30 minutes. New York City features far more traffic congestion than Boston (although not by much), so most commuters take mass transit to work. Boston features a mix of drivers, walkers, and mass transit riders. But, 19% more workers in New York work from home compared to Boston.  

hash-markQuality of Life Index

According to the index created by Numbeo, Boston has a higher quality of life score. This scale takes into account crime statistics, healthcare quality, climate, cost of living, property prices relative to income, and the amount of traffic and pollution. Boston scored 175.95 on this scale, which is considered very high. New York, in comparison, scored 138.9, which is considered moderate. The biggest factor impacting the quality of life in New York is the housing prices relative to the average income.


Both cities have a lot to offer residents in terms of culture and opportunity, but New York has Boston beat in many important categories. It offers more cultural attractions, employment opportunities, and an energy that is hard to match. But it’s also more expensive and crowded than Boston. Boston may be better suited for those who want a more relaxed lifestyle as it offers many of the benefits of New York without some of the negatives. But when it comes to action and excitement, New York is the clear winner. 

hash-markNew York vs. Boston Comparison Winner



New York

Cost of Living






Public Transportation



Job Opportunities



Cuisine and Lifestyle



Crime Rates



City Culture



Commute Times



Quality of Life Index