With all the glitz and glamour associated with New York City, it can be hard to keep expectations in check when considering a move to the Big Apple.
While it's true that there are many unique and exciting things about moving to New York City, there are also downsides when the initial shine wears off and the grind of day-to-day life sets in.
Below we've weighed up the pros and cons of moving to New York City.
Lifestyle in New York City
+ PRO: A global cultural capital
New York City has an almost legendary status as a cultural goldmine. From cultural marvels such as Broadway and the Met to famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, there’s an endless array of things to see and do in New York City. And unlike tourists, expats living in the city will have much more time to take in everything the city has to offer.
Accommodation in New York City
- CON: Expensive and often small accommodation
Given that New York City is the USA’s most populated city, it comes as no surprise that space comes at a premium. Renting is the norm when it comes to accommodation in New York City as the cost of buying real estate is extremely high. Not that rental costs in the city are cheap either, with the average New York City rental price being double the national average.
Cost of living in New York City
- CON: One of the world’s most expensive cities
It’s not just the accommodation that’s pricey – though it certainly does its bit in pushing up the cost of living in New York City. Other expenses such as healthcare, food, transport and international schooling can add up fast.
Getting around in New York City
+ PRO: Well-developed transport network
With the subway running 24/7 through its network of more than 400 stations across the five boroughs, getting around in New York City is easy. The subway is also well integrated with other types of public transport, such as buses and commuter trains.
Working in New York City
+ PRO: A thriving and diverse economy
New York City is one of the world’s top financial centres and the city is replete with headquarters of large multinational companies in all kinds of industries.
- CON: Stiff competition for jobs
With a highly educated population, expats looking to find work in New York City will find themselves up against some strong candidates when it comes to job applications.
Education in New York City
+ PRO: Local schooling is a good option
Public schooling is free of charge and, as long as expat families are living in a good school district, they can expect a good quality of education.
+ PRO: Lots of options for international schools
International schools are private institutions offering the curriculum of a foreign country, usually in that country’s main language. As a multicultural and diverse city, New York City has plenty of great international schools for parents to choose from.
This includes British, German, French and Japanese schools among others. International schools also frequently offer the International Baccalaureate, which is a global curriculum allowing easy transition between schools around the world.
- CON: Extremely high cost of international schools
When making the decision to opt for international schooling, expat parents should be mindful of the fact that fees and other associated costs are high and will take up a large chunk of their budget.
Healthcare in New York City
+ PRO: Experts and cutting-edge medical facilities
For those who can afford it, healthcare in New York City is of an excellent standard and is one of the main industries driving its economy.
- CON: Often unaffordable without medical insurance
Without medical insurance or other means of paying medical bills, hospitals may refuse to treat a patient, unless it is an emergency. In this case, patients will receive treatment to be stabilised but will then need to secure payment for long-term treatment.
► Find out answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about New York City
"New York is a unique place being so busy and so tightly packed. It’s frantic, it’s loud, and you learn to love the trash on the sidewalks. I moved here because I wanted to be part of a big city, and that’s exactly what I got." Read more about Josh's expat experience in New York City.
"I love the energy and vibrancy of New York, and the accessibility of culture – theatres, museums, galleries are all within walking distance for us." Laura talks about the highs and lows of her expat experience in New York City.
Are you an expat living in New York City?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to New York City. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
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