New York City vs. Philadelphia

By PropertyClub Team
Feb 14th 2024
New York and Philadelphia are two of the largest cities on the East Coast and frequently face comparisons. While New York is the larger city and offers greater access to world-class amenities, Philadelphia has its own unique charm and a lower cost of living. Here is a side-by-side comparison of living in New York vs. Philadelphia. 

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia Cost of Living

New York is much more expensive than Philadelphia. The cost of living index is a good way to judge the affordability of an area compared to the rest of the US, which is represented by 100. The cost-of-living index for Manhattan is 255, which indicates that it is 155% more expensive than the rest of the country.

The COLI for Philadelphia, in comparison, is 109, which means it’s only 9% more expensive than the rest of the state and 146% less expensive than Manhattan. The median home price across New York’s five boroughs is $820,000, while in Philadelphia, it’s only $259,000.

Interestingly, NYC and Philly are two of the only US cities to have an additional city income tax on residents. The Philly income tax rate is a flat 3.79% for residents, while the NYC income tax rate is between 3.078% and 3.876%, depending on your income. While the city tax burden is more or less even, the big advantage of living in Philadelphia is that state income tax rates are much lower in Pennsylvania than in New York State. 

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia vs. Philly Weather

Philly and NYC tend to have similar weather, although New York gets more sunny days and more snow. On average, NYC experiences 233 sunny days per year, while Philly averages 207. But NYC averages 25.8 inches of snow per year, while Philadelphia gets about 13.1. They both average 47.2 inches of rain per year, and the average temperatures range from the mid 80s in the summer to the high 20s in the winter.

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia Transportation

NYC has a much better transportation system. New York’s MTA System is one of the best mass transit systems in the world, and it runs 24/7, allowing access to virtually every part of the city. Philly’s SEPTA system also ranks among the best public transportation systems in the country. However, unlike in New York, it stops running after midnight and before 4 a.m., and there isn’t one comprehensive system that can take you to every part of the city.

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia Job Opportunities

The job market in New York offers a wider range of opportunities and more future growth than Philadelphia. New York is a major hub for industries like finance, technology, media, fashion, healthcare, and law and is home to countless Fortune 500 companies. Philadelphia also has a strong economy supported by financial services, transportation, health care, biotechnology, manufacturing, and food processing. But NYC also has a stronger rate of job growth at 31.5%, compared to 28.4% in Philadelphia.  

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia Cuisine and Lifestyle

New York has a more cosmopolitan atmosphere with world-class restaurants from virtually every culture across the globe and a lifestyle that you won’t find anywhere else. There are 72 Michelin-star restaurants in New York, and it’s a major for haute cuisine, with many of the top chefs working in restaurants in the city. The lifestyle in Philly is more laidback, with plenty of craft breweries, sports bars, and historic attractions. It’s also the birthplace of the Philly cheese steak, and its cuisine takes major influence from the Pennsylvania Dutch and Italian Americans who populate the city.  

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia Crime Rate

New York also has a lower crime rate than Philadelphia. The total crime rate in New York is 2,236 incidents per 100,000 people, which is 9% lower than the national average. In comparison, Philadelphia has a crime rate of 4,006 incidents per 100,000 residents, which is 71% higher than the national average. Both cities have a violent crime rate that is higher than the US average. But in New York, it’s 49% higher, while in Philadelphia, it’s 134% higher than the rest of the country. The murder rate in NYC is also 5.6 per 100,000 people (14% lower than the national average), while in Philly, it’s 22.1 (109% higher than the US average).

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia City Culture

New York offers more glitz and glam and world-class cultural institutions, while Philly offers a more relaxed pace of life and historic attractions. New York features some of the best nightlife, museums, art galleries, and live entertainment venues in the country. Philly is the home to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and also has plenty of world-famous museums and cultural centers. New York tends to have more of a work hard, play hard atmosphere, while Philly is more laid back with plenty of beer halls, neighborhood bars, and professional sports teams to keep residents entertained.

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia Commute Times

Commute times in Philly tend to be better. New York is known for its gridlock traffic, and residents often commute from all over the Tri-state area to work in Manhattan. According to census data, the average New York resident spends about 41.4 minutes commuting per day, while the average Philadelphia resident only spends about 33 minutes.

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia Quality of Life Index

Philadelphia has a higher quality of life index than New York City. The index is based on factors that impact the day-to-day happiness of an average resident, including purchasing power, access to health care, traffic, pollution, safety, and more. The quality of life index for New York is 136.35, which is moderate, versus 149.77 for Philadelphia, which is high. New York scored lower on traffic, cost of living, and property price-to-income ratio.  

hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia Comparison




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Cuisine and Lifestyle



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Commute Times



Quality of Life Index



hash-markNew York City vs. Philadelphia Bottom Line

Overall, New York ranks higher in at least 5 out of the 9 categories, indicating it is a better place to live based on crime rates, job opportunities, and general lifestyle. Philadelphia is definitely more affordable and features better commute times. But the weather is debatable, and the quality-of-life index is also very similar when you discount traffic and affordability. However, New York dominates when it comes to culture and lifestyle, job opportunities, safety, and public transportation, making it a slightly better place to live than Philadelphia.