New York City: More Affordable Than You'd Think, for Some

For professional-class workers with annual household incomes in the top income quintile, New York is a comparatively affordable place. A recent study attributes lower costs to competition between businesses that cater to upper-income people.
April 24, 2013, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"New Yorkers assume that we live in the most expensive city in the country, and cost-of-living indexes tend to back up that assertion. But those measures are built around the typical American’s shopping habits, which don’t really apply to the typical New Yorker — especially not college-educated New Yorkers with annual household incomes in the top income quintile, or around $100,000," writes Catherine Rampell. "According to a recent study by Jessie Handbury, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, people in different income classes do indeed have markedly different purchasing habits. That may not be surprising, but once you account for these different preferences, it turns out that living in New York is actually a relative bargain for the wealthy."

"There is, however, an ominous flip side to Handbury’s findings. When you look at the cost of living for low-income people based on their tastes and preferences, New York’s poor turn out to be even poorer than you think."

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Published on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 in The New York Times
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