What Is a Good Salary in NYC?

New York City is the most expensive city in the U.S. Leading a comfortable life here can be challenging, especially for people with low-income levels. So, if you just got a job offer in this incredible city, what is a good salary to live comfortably in NYC as a single person or family?

What Is a Good Salary in NYC?

A good salary in New York City is around $70,000 to $80,000 a year for most people. According to data from the United States Census Bureau, the median income for all occupations in New York City is around $70,663 per year. This is within the range of the national median household income and slightly higher than in most cities.

The iconic Statue of Liberty in New York City holds a torch above her head with her right hand

However, the average salary for certain high-paying professions, such as finance, law, medicine, and technology, can be significantly higher.

NYC is one of the most expensive cities, with main expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and healthcare significantly higher than the national average. The cost of living index is 146.6, much higher than the U.S. average of 100. Earning anything from  $70k a year will allow you to cover most of your living expenses.

Factors That Determine a Good Salary in New York City

NY City is known for its competitive job market. Most people are still drawn to the city for its endless opportunities and vibrant culture.

Various factors will determine if you earn a good salary in New York City. Understanding how these factors impact salary can help you make informed decisions about how to live comfortably while pursuing your career goals in the city. These factors include:

  • Occupation
  • Experience and Education
  • Location
  • Cost of living
  • Lifestyle
  • Taxes


New York City is home to various occupations, from finance to fashion. And while some professions are more in-demand than others, they all come with different salary expectations. So, if you want to make the most money in NYC, which occupation should you choose?

According to data from Zip Recruiter, the median income for all occupations in New York City is $51,586 per year. However, the average salary for certain high-paying professions, such as finance, law, medicine, and technology, can be between $100,000 to $150,000 a year. Attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals earn an average of around $126,000 annual income.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation with the highest average salary in NYC is management, which includes positions like chief executive, general and operations manager, development manager, and financial manager.

These professionals usually earn six figures, with their average salary being around $164,010 per year. Other professionals, such as business analysts, can earn close to $100,000.

Experience and Education

As you gain more experience in a certain field or profession, you are likely to command much higher than the minimum wage. Experienced professionals are considered more valuable to employers, as they have a proven track record of success and can handle more complex tasks.

For example, a recent New Yorker graduate in a finance field may start with around $50,000 to $70,000 annual salary in New York City, while someone with several years of experience in the same area may make between $100,000 to $150,000 annual income.

Professionals with advanced degrees and specialized skills typically earn higher salaries. For example, a person with a Master’s degree in a specific field may earn a higher salary than someone with a Bachelor’s degree.

A woman in a black blouse holding US dollar bills in 100


The location you reside in as a New Yorker will determine whether what you earn is a good salary. Generally, the average wage in Manhattan is higher than in the outer boroughs. This is primarily due to the higher cost of living in Manhattan.

A financial or business analyst working in Manhattan may earn around $77,810 to $120,000 per year, while a financial analyst working in Brooklyn or Queens may earn around $72,000 to $100,000 per year. There are also more job opportunities in Manhattan for high-paying jobs, like in Wall Street, Midtown, and other financial districts.

Cost of Living

According to statistics from Rent Cafe, the cost of living in New York City is 95% higher than the U.S. average. The cost of housing in the city is 258% more than the national average, with the median home price being around $729k. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment can go for an average of $4,000 per month, with the price being higher in boroughs like Manhattan.

Additionally, the cost of living index of New York state city is 146.6 compared to the U.S. average, which is 100. Being the most expensive city, NY generally has a high cost of housing, transportation, health insurance, and other necessities. So, to lead a comfortable lifestyle, you will need to earn not less than the median household income.

You can also minimize costs and save money by finding affordable housing options and cutting down your expenses. This includes renting a room in a shared apartment or looking for apartments in less expensive neighborhoods. You should also consider using public transport or living close to your workplace to minimize transport costs.


Your lifestyle choices, such as spending habits, savings, housing costs, transportation, and other expenses, will significantly inform how much you need to earn in NYC. If you choose to live in a more expensive area, such as Manhattan and Washington heights, you will need to make enough money than most New Yorkers to cover those costs.

The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is around $4,501 per month. This can consume a large portion of your salary. On the other hand, if you choose to live in a less expensive area, such as Brooklyn, your housing costs will be lower, allowing you to live comfortably on a lower salary.

Even if you are a single person but have expensive hobbies or a high cost of transportation, your salary will need to be higher to cover them and your utility expenses. On the other hand, if you live in a less expensive area and have more modest spending habits, you may live comfortably on a lower salary in New York City and put more towards your savings.

US dollar bills on top of a silver laptop placed on a brown wooden table


Taxes can have a significant impact on your salary in NY City. This is because the city and New York State have some of the highest income taxes in the country. The combined state and local income taxes in NYC can be as high as 12.7%, which will significantly reduce your take-home pay.

Income taxes is the primary source of tax revenue for the state and city of New York. The New York state has a progressive income tax system, with tax rates ranging from 4% to 8.82% based on your income. New York City also has its own income tax, with rates ranging from 3.078% to 3.876%.

There is also federal income tax, which ranges from 10% to 37%, and sales tax which is 8.875%, making it 7.25% higher than the average federal tax. This makes everyday purchases such as groceries and clothing more expensive for New Yorkers.

Related Questions

Is $200K a Good Salary in NYC?

Yes, $200k is a good salary in NYC, whether you are a single person or a family. It is much more than the median household income and will afford you a good apartment, go out to eat, and enjoy the city’s many cultural offerings. However, being an expensive city, you will still need to watch your expenses and ensure you are living within your means in order to lead a comfortable life.

What Is Considered a Good Salary in NYC?

A good salary in an expensive city like New York can vary depending on the individual’s profession, experience, and cost of living. However, generally, a salary of around $70,000 to $100,000 per year is considered a good starting salary for professionals in New York City. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median income for most New York households is around $70,663.


Being one of the most expensive cities globally, determining what constitutes a good salary in New York City can be tricky. You must look at professions, experience, cost of living, taxes, and location. Minimize your expense by finding affordable housing options, being mindful of transportation costs, cooking meals at home, and taking advantage of free events and activities around the city.

Jared Bauman is the owner and editor of PFGeeks.com. He has started and sold several companies, along with owning several investment properties. His interest in personal finance started as a young kid, developed through his entrepreneurial ventures and real estate investments, and continue through his conversations with friends and colleagues.

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