Philadelphia Vs. New York (Pros, Cons, Differences)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA downtown city skyline at dusk.


Philadelphia and New York City are two large metro cities with large populations.

Both cities are also quite old and have been part of crucial moments in American history.

If you’re trying to decide which city to move to or visit on vacation, you may wonder what each city offers.

Philadelphia and New York City have quite a few differences between them like crime rates, household incomes, and housing prices, but here’s a deeper look into some of their differences.


Philadelphia Vs. New York (Pros, Cons, Differences)


1. Population

Times Square featured with Broadway Theaters


One of the major differences between Philadelphia and New York City is their populations.

Philadelphia has an estimated population of 1,619,355 people.

New York has an estimated population of 8,930,002 people.

Clearly, New York City has a much larger population than Philadelphia.

This is important to consider when determining where you want to live or vacation.

A larger population means more traffic congestion.

It might also mean that activities you want to do get booked up early because many other people also want to do the things you want.

You can also expect more noise and activity in areas with a higher population.

If you’re someone who can’t handle activity and distractions while you’re sleeping, then moving to Philadelphia may be a better option.

There’s a reason that New York City gets a reputation for being the city that never sleeps.

Philadelphia may also be a better option for a vacation if you want a more relaxing atmosphere.

While New York City has its share of spas and other relaxing venues, it isn’t a very calming city.

The sheer number of people there can potentially make things irritating for you.

That said, if you’re someone who loves the high energy of a city, then you might prefer New York City over Philadelphia.

Due to its sheer size, you’re never going to run out of things to do there.

One thing to consider when deciding to live or vacation in Philadelphia or New York City is population size.


2. Cost Of Living

cost of living


Another important factor to consider is the cost of living.

This is important whether you’re planning to move to a city or vacation there.

If you’re planning to move there, then it’s worth knowing the cost of living to ensure you’re able to afford it.

If you’re planning to vacation there, then the cost of living can give you a good idea of the type of prices you’ll see when booking a hotel or going out to eat.

That can help you plan your budget and determine if one city is too expensive for you to visit.

The average cost of living in Philadelphia is $3,742 without rent for a family of four.

The average cost of living in New York City is $5,142 without rent for a family of four.

For a single person, the cost of living in Philadelphia is $1,039 without rent.

For a single person in New York City, the cost of living is $1,395 without rent.

Clearly, it is far more expensive to live in New York City than in Philadelphia if you have a family.

However, if you don’t have a family and you’re living on your own, then the differences aren’t too severe.

Regardless, in both cases, New York City has a higher cost of living.

If you’re someone who lives on a budget, then living in New York City may be difficult for you to afford if you also support a family.

If you have a higher income, then New York City may not be that difficult for you to afford.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t include rental fees or mortgages either.

Including a monthly housing payment might make one city far more expensive than the other.

Philadelphia and New York City are different because New York City has a higher cost of living than Philadelphia.


3. Housing Prices

Nicely Landscaped Single Family Home in Suburban Philadelphia


If you’re planning to move to either Philadelphia or New York, then one of the most important things you need to look at is the difference in housing prices.

The amount that you pay for your home can determine quite a few things in your life.

First, it determines how much debt you tack onto your finances.

If the home is particularly expensive, then you might end up taking on high monthly payments just to afford to keep it.

That doesn’t include maintenance costs either.

It’s only a matter of time before something expensive breaks that needs repair.

It also might determine how much you’re able to sell it for later.

For example, if you buy a home and the area ends up increasing in value, then you might be able to sell your home for far more than what you originally paid for it.

Because of how much the price of your home can impact your life, it’s worth comparing the average housing prices in both Philadelphia and New York.

In Philadelphia, the average housing price is $237,595.

In New York, the average housing price is $776,946.

Clearly, Philadelphia’s housing is far cheaper than New York’s housing.

If you’re someone who doesn’t want to spend that much on a house, then you’ll want to look for homes in Philadelphia.

However, if you want to invest long-term and gamble a bit with the housing market, then you might want to get a home in New York City.

There’s a chance that you might be able to sell your home for far more than you paid eventually.

New York City is a place that sees continual growth.

People are always going to be looking for homes in New York.

The price of housing can also impact your vacation if you’re looking to stay at a vacation rental or an Airbnb in one of the cities.

If someone buys an expensive house to use as a vacation rental, then you can be sure they’re going to rent it for a higher price.

They need to pay the mortgage and other bills.

As such, you can probably expect that vacation rentals in Philadelphia are going to be a bit cheaper than those in New York City.

Philadelphia and New York are different because Philadelphia has cheaper housing than New York.


4. Rental Costs

House model near cubes with rent lettering on wooden table


If you’re not quite ready to buy a home, then you may be looking at apartment listings.

Like housing, your monthly rent can determine how expensive your lifestyle becomes in a new city.

If your rent is high, for example, then that means you have less money to utilize elsewhere.

You may not be able to invest or save as you had planned.

However, if your rent is low, then you might be able to do other things with your money more easily.

The average cost of renting a 794-square-foot apartment in Philadelphia is $1,877.

The average cost of renting a 702-square-foot apartment in New York City is $4,265.

New York City has far more expensive rental costs than Philadelphia.

While there are always certain factors in play that may allow you to find cheaper apartments in New York, in general, you can expect Philadelphia to be cheaper.

You also get more space for cheaper prices in Philadelphia.

If you were to rent an average-sized apartment in New York, for example, then you’d be paying more for less space than if you were renting in Philadelphia.

This is important because it also determines whether you need to find a roommate in the city or not.

In Philadelphia, you have a better chance of being able to live on your own if you have the salary to support it.

In New York, unless you make a very high salary, you’re probably going to need to live with a roommate.

That can also influence your lifestyle and the choices that you make.

Philadelphia and New York are different because rental costs are more expensive in New York than in Philadelphia.


5. Household Incomes

Happy couple managing home finances


One of the most important statistics you should compare when deciding to move to a new city is the average household income in that city.

Knowing the average household income can tell you a lot about the city.

It indicates whether the city has a larger portion of minimum wage jobs or jobs with higher salaries.

If the average household income is quite low, for example, then this might indicate that the city has more minimum wage workers than executives or other employees making a high salary.

This might also indicate whether the salary you wish to make is a realistic goal in that city.

It can also give you an idea of existing issues with poverty when you compare household incomes to the cost of living in the city.

If the average household income isn’t much higher than the cost of living, then you can probably expect that a lot of people are barely making ends meet.

If the average household income is far higher than the cost of living, then you can probably expect a happier and more active community.

The average household income in Philadelphia is $49,127.

The average household income in New York City is $67,046.

New York City residents tend to make more than Philadelphia residents.

However, a large part of that is because New York City also has a very high cost of living.

Residents need higher salaries to be able to afford to live in the city.

That said, it’s worth looking at the poverty percentage for both cities, too.

Philadelphia has a poverty percentage of 23.1%.

This means 23.1% of Philadelphia’s population is living in poverty.

That’s almost a quarter of its population.

In New York, the poverty percentage is 17.3%.

New York has fewer people living in poverty than Philadelphia.

Philadelphia and New York are quite different when it comes to household incomes and the number of people living in poverty.


6. Crime Rate

Crime Scene


A final difference to consider between Philadelphia and New York is the crime rate.

This is important for considering which city to move to and which to vacation in.

NeighborhoodScout gives Philadelphia a crime index of eight.

This means that Philadelphia is safer than 8% of other cities in the United States.

NeighborhoodScout gives New York City a crime index of 19.

This means that New York City is safer than 19% of other cities.

From the get-go, New York City seems to be safer than Philadelphia.

Considering that New York City also has a larger population, that’s quite remarkable and likely comes down to the highly-trained and extensive police force that the city has.

The crime rate for violent crimes in Philadelphia is 9.82 per 1,000 residents.

The crime rate for violent crimes in New York is 5.80 per 1,000 residents.

This indicates that you’re more likely to be a victim of a violent crime in Philadelphia than you are in New York City.

The crime rate for property crimes in Philadelphia is 29.48 per 1,000 residents.

The crime rate for property crimes in New York is 20.00 per 1,000 residents.

Again, you’re more likely to be a victim of a property crime in Philadelphia than in New York City.

As such, when it comes to crime, New York City is a bit safer than Philadelphia.


What Are The Pros Of Philadelphia?

Philadelphia cityscape


Now that you’ve examined the differences between Philadelphia and New York City, you may wonder what the pros and cons of both cities are.

Here are some pros of Philadelphia.


1. Small-Town Charm

Despite being a large city, Philadelphia manages to hold onto a sense of small-town charm.

The communities are tight-knit and try to support one another.

It’s a neighborly place where everyone tries to remember your name or what you do.

If you like living in the big city but still want to retain that sense of close community, then Philadelphia is the right environment for you.


2. Prime Location

Another great thing about Philadelphia is that it’s in an ideal location.

It’s not too far from other big cities like New York City, Washington D.C., or even Boston.

For those who can handle a slightly longer trip, taking a road trip to Detroit or Chicago isn’t even out of the question.

Its location is ideal for travelers who want to make it easier to visit some of the other large cities in the United States.

You’re never too far from many big attractions when living in Philadelphia.


3. Lots Of Cultural Institutions

If you support the arts or love history, then Philadelphia has you covered.

Besides being a historic city itself, the city also boasts a large number of museums and other cultural institutions.

The Mummer Museum is one of its most unique museums and features exhibits that celebrate the Mummers Parade.

There’s no shortage of places to visit in Philadelphia for those seeking culture.


What Are The Cons Of Philadelphia?

Traffic jam on highway


While Philadelphia has its share of positives, it does have a few negative qualities.

Here are some of the cons of living in Philadelphia.


1. Traffic Congestion

While you may think that traffic congestion is mostly a problem for larger cities, it’s a major problem in Philadelphia, too.

Part of the reason the city has such problems with traffic is because of its population.

While public transport and biking are popular in the city, a lot of people still rely on their cars to get around.

If you’re not a fan of sitting in your car in a traffic jam, then you might not like living in Philadelphia.


2. Wage Taxes

Despite the importance of taxes, a lot of people dislike having to pay them.

An unfortunate thing about Philadelphia is that they have a wage tax.

Those who work in the city pay 4% of their income for this wage tax.

This means you’ll bring home less money than you may expect.

That said, you’re also due a bigger tax refund at the end of each tax year.

However, if you’re someone who counts on every penny, then this additional tax might be very frustrating.


3. Crime

It’s no secret that Philadelphia struggles with crime.

While some areas are worse than others, crime is a real problem.

If you can’t find an affordable home in the safer parts of the cities, then you may worry about the safety of your family or your possessions.

One of Philadelphia’s biggest problems is its crime rate.


What Are The Pros Of New York City?

New york cityscape, tourism concept photograph


New York City is famous for lots of reasons.

If you’re curious about moving there, then you may wonder what some of the draws to the city are.

Here are some pros of living in New York City.


1. Career Opportunities

One of the reasons New York City is a great place to live is because there are numerous career opportunities in the city.

With its huge population, there are always new businesses opening and looking for employees.

You can find minimum wage jobs as well as jobs with higher salaries there.


2. Public Transport

If you don’t like the idea of being part of New York City’s famous traffic problems, then you can enjoy its public transport.

It has some incredible public transport services like an extensive subway system and bus routes.

New York City makes it possible to get around easily so you never have to worry about owning a car again.


3. Great Food

One of the best things about New York City is its food.

Whether you want to dine at restaurants that feature celebrity chefs or order a New York-style pizza, there’s no shortage of great food.

You can even find local restaurants that offer authentic food from many different cultures.

If you’re a foodie, then New York will never disappoint you.


What Are The Cons Of Living In New York?

Rent House Concept


While New York has tons to offer, there are a few negatives about living in the city.

Here are some cons of living in New York.


1. High Housing And Rental Costs

Property values in New York City are high.

This makes buying a home or renting an apartment quite expensive.

While some neighborhoods are more expensive than others, you can expect to pay more to live in the city.

That might not make the city ideal for those who want to live independently but have low-paying jobs.


2. Fast-Paced Lifestyle

There’s always something happening in New York City.

People are awake at all times of the day as a result.

If you prefer something quieter and laidback, then you might find living in New York to be quite difficult.

Everyone is on the move all the time.


3. Tourism

While you share the city with your fellow New Yorkers, you also share the city with tons of tourists.

Every year, tourists flock to the city to partake in all the fun and excitement.

Whether it’s to eat at famous restaurants or catch a show on Broadway, there are always people coming to see and experience the city.

This can make living in the city difficult since you’re competing both with your fellow residents and with tourists to get access to certain activities.

If you’re not a fan of tourists, then New York City may not be a great city for you.



Philadelphia and New York City are quite different from one another.

While Philadelphia is smaller than New York City, it has a greater crime rate.

That said, there are plenty of pros and cons of living in both cities.

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