Deciding between LA vs NYC is not an easy thing. It is because both cities are popular destinations for tourists and people looking to relocate. In order to find out which one is a better choice, I invite you to check out this detailed city comparison guide. Let’s start exploring!
LA and NYC both are amazing cities to live in. They share some great traits which are the following:
- Best accommodations;
- The healthy job market;
- Countless cultural events;
- Great nightlife.
On the other hand, both have their differences as well. LA has a larger size and a relaxed city vibe while NYC is densely populated and has cultural diversity.
However, these two cities have considerably more to offer. Continue reading as I dive deeper into their living costs, famous attractions, crime rates, and much much more. Let’s get started!
LA vs NYC Comparison Table
Let me present you with a table that will provide a quick comparison between LA vs NYC:
Cost Of Living
Good for vacations
Good for vacations
$3000 - $4000/month
Higher crime rate
Lower crime rate
Normal public Healthcare
Great public healthcare
Venice Beach, Hollywood
Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty
Living in Los Angeles: The Positives and Negatives
Living in LA has both some perks and downsides. Let’s take a look at them:
Let’s look at some of the pros of LA:
- Bigger accommodations: Los Angeles has bigger houses and apartments than New York City. It is the better choice for you if you have always wanted a dream garden or lawn at home.
- Education: LA offers a wide variety of educational options from primary schools to universities and research centers. A lot of international students move there because LA is a hub of research and technology.LAUSD, USC, and UCLA, unarguably are the best educational institute there.
- High Wages: LA offers pretty much higher wages than the most of US. The average hourly wage is $33.43 which is 12% more than the US average.
Here are some of the downsides you should know:
- High taxes: LA, being in the state of California, is in the highest tax bracket in the US. The income tax is a high 13.3%. Now this could be a concern for some folks as they would prefer paying lower taxes.
- Crime rate: The budget allocated for the police force is a lot smaller in LA compared to New York. A consequence of this is fewer police officers, a lack of equipment(such as guns and armor), and of course a smaller area coverage. This is one of the reasons why the number of crimes in LA has gone up.
Living in New York City: The Positives and Negatives
Let’s take a look at some perks and downsides of living in NYC.
The following are the plus points of NYC:
- Medical Care: New york city is the hub of medical and research centers that provides almost all kinds of treatments. The bed capacity in NYC medical facilities is more than as of LA which means you don’t have to wait for long to receive care.
- Subway System: NYC has an extensive public transportation system with 424 stations. The total length of its track is 399 Km making it the fifth longest in the world. The majority of people there utilize public transportation as daily ridership of this transit system is around 2.4 million
- Employment opportunities: Affectionately known as the Big Apple, there are plenty of job options in NY. Some of them include healthcare, finance, and tech, which make the city a thriving hub for various careers.
Here are the downsides of this location you should know:
- Traffic: The traffic in New York is one of the worst aspects of the city. The streets and roads of New York are jam-packed with vehicles since the city has a huge population too.
- High living costs: New York has one of the highest living costs in all of the United States. The average living has increased a lot in the past couple of years. Mainly due to the cost of electricity jumping up recently. This makes New York all the more expensive to live in.
Comparing the Area and Population Density
Both of these locations are the most densely populated cities in the US.
- New York City: It is more diverse than Los Angeles. As of 2023, the population is estimated to be 8.4 million. The land is 304 sq. miles so it is bigger than most east coast cities. The population density is approximately 26,400 people per square mile.
- Los Angeles: It is the largest city on the West Coast in size with 472 sq. miles of land. The number of people residing here is 3.9 million. The population density is around 8500 people per sq. mile. It is less congested than New York City.
Comparing Real Estate Prices
Speaking generally, buying a property in Los Angeles costs more than in NYC. However, rent prices are higher in NYC.
- Purchasing a home: On average, you will have to pay from $750,000 to $1 million or higher if you want a decent residence in NYC. Meanwhile, similar quality houses in Los Angeles sell for around $990,000-$1.5 million.
- Rental accommodation: Be prepared to spend between $3000-$4,000 monthly for a One-bedroom apartment in the Big Apple. Single-bedroom NYC apartments cost more as in LA they usually start at $2,700 per month.
LA vs NYC Cost of Living
Living expenses can be influenced by several factors, such as:
- Healthcare expenses;
- Housing costs;
- Grocery prices;
- Transportation costs.
Even though both NYC and LA are expensive places to live, the cost of living in NYC is usually higher than in LA. Data says that there is a 27.9% difference between the two cities. The living cost in New York is $9,000 and in Los Angeles, it is $6,200.
Let’s look at some other examples:
- A normal meal in New york city cost about $25 while in Los Angeles it only costs about $17.5.
- One liter of milk costs $1.23 in New York City and $1.13 in Los Angeles.
- Basic household costs such as electricity, gas, and water will cost you about $160 in New York City and $136 in Los Angeles.
Analyzing Employment Opportunities
Both cities have thriving businesses. However, NYC is the place to be if you are in finance, while Los Angeles will be better for you if you are in the entertainment industry.
You won’t be short of job options in either city. However, companies in New York City will pay a higher wage than in LA.
How Educational Institutes Differ
The education system is better developed in New York compared to LA. The reason is that the state government has allotted a bigger budget for education. This has led to:
- There are more teachers per student;
- More than double the pre-schools and schools in NY compared to LA.
Now let’s look at some of the best schools and pre-schools both cities have to offer.
New York has an extensive public school system, with 295 schools compared to LA’s 111. This creates a student-to-teacher ratio of 12 for New York and 21 for LA. This goes in favor of the Big Apple as a lower ratio means a teacher can provide help to students more equally.
Townsend Harris, New York
Townsend Harris is an excellent school, ranked number 1 by most publications in New York. It has an unbelievable 100% graduation rate and an equally brilliant 98/100 college readiness rating.
Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy
Harbor Teacher is one of LA’s premium public schools. It matches Townsend Harris with a perfect 100% graduation rate but has a lower college readiness rating of 88/100.
NY comes out on top yet again with 951 preschools while LA has a still impressive but relatively fewer 495 preschools.
The 92nd Street Y, New York
The 92nd Street Y, New York Pre-School has been open since 1938, and throughout that time it has given a nurturing environment that encourages young children’s curiosity, creativity, and intelligence. Through a curriculum tailored to kids’ individual stages of growth, the program helps kids succeed in all areas of development.
Next Generation Montessori, Los Angeles
Preschoolers at the Next Generation Montessori School are exposed to a well-rounded education that includes reading, writing, and literary comprehension in a classroom with a small student-teacher ratio. Unlike other Los Angeles preschools, Next Generation tailors its curriculum to each student’s individual strengths and interests.
Overview Of Taxes In Both Cities
Taxes in both areas are higher than in most of the U.S:
- Los Angeles has an income tax of 13.3%. Not only this, it also has a sales tax of 10.25%.
- NYC isn’t as harsh as LA. It has a lower income tax of 10.9% and a sales tax of 8.5%.
An Insight Into the Crime Rate
With a crime score of 52.5%, Los Angeles is slightly more dangerous than New York, which has a crime rate of 49.4%. So NYC wins when it comes to safety.
Let’s take a look at the most dangerous and safest places for both cities:
Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Westwood
Manhattan's Upper East Side, West Village
Places with high crime rates
South Central and East LA
South Bronx and East New York
How Does LA vs NY Weather Compare?
The two cities are situated on opposite ends of the country, so their weather is contrasting compared to one another.
The warm, humid climate that Los Angeles experiences brings wet winters and dry summers. You can find the sun shining brightly even on cold, cloudy days. Earthquakes and wildfires are regular occurrences in LA.
While snow might be a very rare occurrence in LA, it certainly isn’t in NYC. Get ready to experience all 4 seasons in full in NYC. New Yorkers get to live in harsh winters, colorful autumn, and rainy, mild spring.
Rating the Public Transportation System of Los Angeles vs New York City
Both cities have a good public transport system. However, let’s look at which one is better:
Buses, rail, and trains are all good ways to get around LA. But remember that owning a car may be necessary as LA is much larger in size than New York City.
It is known for having some of the best public transportation in the world. NYC is home to one of the largest and busiest subway systems on the globe. It also has good bus, ferry, and yellow car services. Not owning a car will not stop you from exploring all this city has to offer because NYC has an affordable transport system.
How Does Their Healthcare System Differs
The healthcare system has certain distinctions in both cities. Take a quick look at the table first:
NEW YORK CITY
Health Care Index
Health insurance plan per month
The healthcare system in New York City is mostly based on its big hospitals, like Mount Sinai, which hire a lot of employees. These hospitals give a variety of medical treatments, from basic care to expert surgeries. Medical costs are also slightly less expensive in New York City compared to Los Angeles.
The healthcare system in Los Angeles is more broken up, and medical groups play a bigger part. These groups of doctors may be experts in a certain area of medicine, like physiology or heart. They also usually have their own offices or practices. This can make it harder to find your way around the LA healthcare system.
Comparing the Cuisine Of Both Cities
The following cuisine section is a must for food lovers. If you are a foodie, you are in luck, because both places have excellent food.
Many eateries in Los Angeles place an emphasis on locally grown products. This is because there are a lot of vegans and vegetarians in the city. Here you can find different kinds of food, like Korean, Mexican, and Thai.
Tourists from all over the world come to New York City to sample its delicious food. That should say enough! Exploring its various restaurants offering delicious food like cheesecakes, bagels, and pizza will be a feast for your eyes(and stomach).
For more insights, I would recommend you check out this amazing video.
Exploring The Night Life Of Both Cities
Los Angeles and New York have quite a few similarities when comparing their nightlife.
It has the greatest nightlife if you’re seeking high-class enjoyment. Street performers light up the sidewalks, and food vendors offer tasty treats at every corner.
There is a wide range of local and high-end clubs to choose from when exploring LA’s nightlife. This is the place to be if you enjoy going out to hip nightclubs and listening to live music. Rooftop bars in the city are well-known for their spectacular views and as a place to meet new people while enjoying a drink.
Which City is The Best For Sightseeing?
Both Los Angeles and New York City will fascinate you with the sheer amount of things to see and do that draw people in. NYC is known for its famous buildings, museums, and theaters whereas LA is known for its beaches, amusement parks, and outdoor activities.
Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory, Universal Studios, Disneyland, the glamor of Hollywood, and Venice Beach are just some of the interesting places in Los Angeles. If your taste is more exploring some beautiful nature, sunbathing on pristine beaches, and going to theme parks and film sites, LA will be the perfect match for you.
NYC also has a lot of top attractions, like the Statue of Liberty and Long Island, Broadway, the beautiful New York Skyline, Central Park, and many more. So, if you like going to museums, seeing Broadway shows, and visiting historical places, NYC might be a better choice.
Which Location Has The Better Nature?
If you live in Los Angeles, you are surrounded on all sides by beautiful beaches, stunning mountains, and huge fields. Also, the weather is nice all year, so you’ll have plenty of chances to enjoy the great outdoor activities in the area.
If you want to live in New York City, you can go to Central Park. Otherwise, Upstate NY is the place to go if you want to see real nature. The lakes and scenery you will see there will truly be a sight to behold.
The Lifestyle Distinction
Let’s compare the vibe and lifestyle of LA and NYC:
NYC is known as “the city that never sleeps” for a reason, so you can easily place an order at 2 a.m. from any store you want. New Yorkers are very different because they speak many different languages in the city. This makes for a great mix of cultures. Plus, the city has a very fast-paced lifestyle, so if that sounds like you, you’ll fit right in.
LA has a very different vibe compared to New York. People are more self-centered and care a lot about how they look. Life in general is much slower-paced. Los Angeles has some arts, museums, and cultural shows, but they are not as varied as those in New York City.
The Quality of Life in Los Angeles and New York City
Los Angeles is more laid-back and has jobs in technology and entertainment. New York, on the other hand, is busy and has a strong financial sector. The heavy traffic and long trips in Los Angeles hurt the quality of life of its residents. While the high cost of living in New York City can make it hard for some people to enjoy what the city has to offer.
According to data collected by the great Numbeo.com, both cities have a very comparable Quality of Life index rating. Measured out of a total of 240, LA comes in at 138.3 while NY scores 136.4. So overall, both cities pretty much have a similar quality of life. Here is a quick comparison table for a better understanding.
Purchasing Power Index
Very High 115.70
Health Care Index
Very High 95.50
Cost of Living Index
Very High 100.00
Property Price to Income Ratio
Traffic Commute Time Index
Very High 57.48
Quality of Life Index
Why do people like LA more than NYC?
People like LA more than NYC because it has warmer weather, a lower cost of living, and a more wealthy lifestyle, especially with the presence of Hollywood.
Is LA or NYC more stressful?
NYC is considered more stressful than LA because of its bad traffic and high population density.
What’s more expensive LA or NYC?
NYC is more expensive than LA as its living costs are around 27.9% higher.
Do more celebrities live in New York or Los Angeles?
More celebrities live in LA because of the presence of Hollywood.
Is it better to live in NYC or LA?
It can be good to live in either city. LA has a lower cost of living and warmer weather while New York has a higher average salary and a safer crime rate.
Both cities are great places to live but in very different ways. New York’s food, like the world-famous pizza and cheesecake, and culture, like its variety and busy way of life, is very appealing. This makes it a plus for both tourists and people who want to move there. The high-paying jobs and the beautiful sights of New York such as the empire state building and the Statue of Liberty will keep you amazed.
LA is another great place to live. It has a relaxed atmosphere and a warmer climate. Also, don’t forget it’s a great entertainment scene. You can go explore Hollywood and its many film sets. Maybe you can even meet a famous celebrity. Plus it is cheaper to live in too.
Both cities are great in their own way. Just pick whichever suits your vibe. If you found this article informative please do share it with your friends.