London vs New York: Which Is Better for Living

Like every other ambitious person, moving to New York or London has been half-obligation and half-dream for everyone trying to relocate and find life-changing opportunities. There’ll never be a perfect way to describe what it’s like to make a move in either of these highly sought-after cities.

While these two cities are both famously pricey, they are also perfect for living like a local and visiting like a vacationer. London or New York is probably the most challenging decision you would ever make as both are top destinations for both immigrants and tourists. Both cities pride themselves on fantastic culture, lifestyle, and excellent cuisines.

Choosing between moving to New York or London is a good point in your life. Although these two cities are famous for being the most expensive and competitive places to live in, they’re highly desirable places for relocation among expats.

Although the whole experience of a new city will depend solely on you, this guide will give you a clear understanding of everything you need to know before deciding where to move to London or New York.

Is New York or London better to live in?

New York and London are alike but with slightly noticeable differences if you’re looking for a place to work, grow, and have fun.

When it comes to the cost of living;

  • consumer prices in London are 17% lower than in New York
  • rent prices in London are 30% lower than in New York
  • restaurant prices in London are 14% lower than in New York
  • while groceries prices in London are 38% lower than in New York.
  • consumer prices in London are 17% lower than in New York
  • rent prices in London are 30% lower than in New York
  • restaurant prices in London are 14% lower than in New York
  • while groceries prices in London are 38% lower than in New York.

Average monthly expenses for a single person in London are $3,971 per person per month, while it’s $4,277 in New York.

If money is no object, New York will be your safe bet.

New York stands at 8.4 million, with 1.6 million people living in Manhattan regarding population. This translates to a population density of 27,000 people per square mile, the highest in America.

On the other hand, London has 9 million people, which may seem relatively high than New York. Still, the difference lies in London having a population density of 15,328 per square mile. This makes London a more livable city even with minimal housing.

However, jobs in New York are better paid, yet the rent is 30% lower in London. This means that, on average, housing prices in London are a third of New York’s rates.

With staggering differences in the cost of living, both cities have an excellent tolerance for immigrants and their diverse cultures. Depending on what you’re seeking, moving to either of these cities will be the best decision you’ll ever make.

Pros and cons of living in London

The advantages of living in London may include:

  •     Attractive salaries with a possibility of excellent career growth
  •     Impressive work-life balance
  •     Museums are free with tons of walking tours
  •     Best place to visit for Harry Potter fans
  •     The food experience is fantastic, with Londoners being great at sourcing their produce locally
  •     Cheap and easy to move around
  •     London is friendly and safe
  •     Free healthcare
  •     Beautiful landscapes, more green space, spectacular views than other cities
  •     Great travelling point for all your international flights and local commute
  •     Friendly and safe
  •     Plenty of money-saving deals
  •     London is home to diverse nationalities, making it multicultural
  •     A plethora of entertainment and plenty of things to do

Cons:

  •     High cost of living
  •     Ludicrous rental prices make it complicated and expensive to get decent apartments
  •     Heavy traffic makes it costly and extremely tasking to travel, especially during rush hour
  •     The damp and overcast weather can be unbearable
  •     London is excessively touristed which can be too much after a while
  •     Dining out without a reservation is impossible
  •     Lack of privacy due to the CCTV cameras installed throughout the city
  •     Driving can be pretty expensive
  •     Brexit has led to a lot of political and legal unrest
  •     Overly polluted with too many cars, buses, trucks, and industries
  •     Overcrowding with people all over the world coming to chase their dreams

Pros and cons of living in New York

The benefits of living in New York include:

  •     Massive opportunities for entrepreneurs and job seekers with plenty of options to consider
  •     Higher salaries than for the same roles elsewhere
  •     Vast mobility system
  •     Great social scene and profound networking connections
  •     Home to world-renowned art and the most culturally exciting cities in the world
  •     Almost everything is accessible, with most businesses open till late
  •     It’s the most diverse city in America
  •     There’s always plenty to do
  •     The food is superior, with plenty of incredible choices to suit your palate and pocket
  •     Lots of picture-perfect public parks
  •     Great fashion hub
  •     Public transport can be cost-efficient
  •     World-class healthcare
  •     Plenty of free events for the socially connected people
  •     Creates different neighbourhoods with each having its style, cultural norms, and vibes
  •     It’s considered a haven

Cons:

  •     Fierce job competition
  •     High cost of living
  •     The public transport situation is a mess
  •     Mental health issues are rampant
  •     Work-life balance is a challenge with long
  •     Rent prices are astronomical
  •     Climate can be highly unforgiving
  •     It can get heavily crowded
  •     You may need to grow a thick skin since New Yorkers are blunt in the way they speak
  •     Finding an apartment is not easy
  •     New York City is not one of the cleanest, with rats and roaches everywhere
  •     Homelessness is a common problem
  •     Bumper to bumper and loud traffic
  •     It’s the number one terrorist target in the USA
  •     Air pollution is a constant problem
  •     Restaurants are ever-full
  •     Paid entry to museums with long queues

London vs New York: Quality of life

According to the Guardian, London has overtaken New York as home to the world’s highest concentration of dollar millionaires.

A recent survey by Knight Frank named London the rich person’s city of choice for lifestyle. This includes the affluent demand from cities such as Michelin-starred restaurants, universities, theatres, opera houses, sports, and shopping centers.

If you were to judge by that, London has far much to offer on the quality of life. New York might not be your ideal destination if you plan to live on a budget, as living costs are high.

Besides, New York’s luxury isn’t on the same level, with a huge number of people earning minimum or below minimum wage. In London, it’s less common.

Living in London

Work-life balance

London’s employers try to create a great balance environment by establishing a standard work time from 9 – 5:30. At the same time, people are constantly competing to who makes the most sacrifices or is the biggest workaholic.

Yet, in London, you will find a reasonably neutral work balance that also enhances productivity and enjoying what you do.

Housing

London’s biggest problem is the continued rise in housing and real estate costs. If your dream or perfect image about living in London is getting an apartment near all the basic amenities, you might need to reconsider.

Keep your mind open, especially if you’re eyeing Zone 1, as you might need to share with a couple of residents.

Education

The diversity of different cultures makes studying a prestigious and exciting experience allowing you to choose a tailor-made program according to your needs. The students also receive support from the local government and excellent job opportunities.

Weather

One thing London gets associated with is bottomless tea and blankets. The cold, rainy, and wintery weather conditions in England are not everyone’s cup of tea. However, Realhomes.com has a different opinion about the weather in Central London.

London has been ranked as the fourth friendliest place to live in the UK for its pleasant weather. London has less rain and is pretty warm compared to the rest of the UK. This also doesn’t mean that it’s fully exempted from the bad-weather bracket, but it’s better than most cities in the UK.

Besides, many people find London’s summers very pleasant, with many warm days to enjoy!

Safety

The Central areas of London have gone through gentrification, making it a safe place to live. Yet, there are also unsafe spots in London, like the South and East, where you might need to exercise caution.

The good news is that the police have enforced severe measures on knife crime between youngsters and gangs, which has subsequently toned down crime. London is considered safer than most European cities, with just a few petty crimes.

Population

London has over 9 million people with a density of 15,328 per square mile. The population in London continues to decrease with how expensive housing is. For example, Kensington, City of London, and Chelsea are the least populated boroughs, while Croydon and Barnet are the highest populated.

Living in New York

Cost of living

New York ranks as the 7’th most expensive city in the world. Hence, you may experience substantial financial setbacks if you’re looking to relocate to New York.

Swiss Zurich and New York have similar price tags, and you might have heard how painfully expensive Switzerland is.

Your daily expenses and budgets will be worlds apart from your usual, from rent prices to groceries or eating out. You may be required to make plenty of lifestyle adjustments for survival.

Work-life balance

With the city incredibly focused and busy, most people put in many hours of work or juggle 2-3 jobs to get by. Full-time workers average 42 hours and 50 minutes of work each week.

It’s not uncommon to see people replying to emails on the weekend or receiving phone calls during their free time.

New Yorkers are known for working long hours and commutes than people in other cities. If you want to have a lot of free time for family or self-care, moving to New York might not be the best choice.

Housing

The astronomical cost of housing in New York City is out of reach for most people. You may need to keep your expectations in proportion before moving to this city. The more rural and farther away you get from New York state, the lower the cost of living.

Living costs tend to be higher in the smaller cities in Upstate and lower farther away from them.

The average cost of buying a house in New York is about $650,000, with every neighborhood having its average. Before purchasing a home, consider the cost of living, as this will help you plan better on your mortgage repayments and daily expenses.

When looking for an apartment, check on the proximity to a subway station or living with roommates to cut costs.

Weather

The weather is entirely predictable yet intense in New York. With scorching summers and ice-cold winters, the city experiences highs of 29 degrees Celsius (84.2 Fahrenheit) between July and August and lows of 3 degrees Celsius (26.6 Fahrenheit) in January.

February has, on average, over 9 inches of snowfall every year (233 millimeters). Average rainfall sits around 4-inches (100-120 millimeters) a month. So, New York is a better place for all snow lowers, while you will barely see any in London.

Spring and fall are the most delightful seasons, with calming breezes and flowers blooming.

Population

New York has about 8.4 million people with a density of 27,000 people per square mile, making it the 27’th largest state geographically. According to worldpopulationreview, New York is expected to continue growing, although much slower than most cities.

Lifestyle

New York City life is exciting, fast-moving, and filled with great experiences. There are always plenty of things to do, from extraordinary theatres, symphonies, and great small galleries, to libraries that are an architectural delight.

New York gives you no reason to be bored at home. If you’re an art and history person, you’ll fall in love with the city.

New York is also a cultural wonderland with superior food choices. The diverse cultures make the dining experience unforgettable.

London VS New York: Job opportunities

Chances for foreigners

With over 8 million people in New York, commuters overflow from neighboring areas, and students graduating from NYC colleges, the workforce is bloated.

Employers are exclusively looking for the most talented to join their teams. Securing a job and keeping it requires more effort than in most cities.

On the other hand, London also has a competitive job market, which means you need to strategically position yourself to find work. Look for a visa or work permit and do extensive research if you want to stand out.

Salaries

About 30% of New York households make six-figure salaries which are pretty rare in London. $81,000 per year is New York’s average. In London, average workers make about $70,000 per year.

To live a good life in New York, expats should look for a salary above $100,000 before tax. In London, an annual income of $78,000 will give you a nice lifestyle as a single.

Nonetheless, a salary starting from $65,000 is already considered good in London since living costs are much lower than in New York.

Read more about salaries in London in this post.

High-demand jobs

In London, the most high-demand jobs are:

  1. Programmers and Software Developers
  2. Cyber Security Specialists
  3. Health services and Residential care
  4. Architects
  5. Graphic Designers
  6. Physical scientists

Read about in-demand jobs in London.

In New York, the most in-demand jobs are:

  1. Retail sales associate
  2. Registered Nurse
  3. Customer Service representative
  4. Licensed Practical Nurse
  5. Real estate agent
  6. Sales associate
  7. Nursing assistant
  8. Shift manager

Top companies for expats

In London, the top companies to work for as expats are:

  • Unilever (consumer goods)
  • AstraZeneca (pharmaceutical)
  • Royal Dutch Shell (oil and gas)
  • BHP (mining)
  • Rio Tinto (mining)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (pharmaceutical)
  • HSBC (finance)

Read about how to get a job in London as an American.

In New York, the best companies to work for as an expat are:

  1. Zillow Group (Information Technology)
  2. Salesforce (Information Technology)
  3. Cooley LLP (Professional Services)
  4. Power Home Remodeling (Construction)
  5. Orrick (Professional Services)
  6. Slalom, LLC (Professional Services)
  7. Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. (Retail)

Best salaries

The best-paid jobs in London are in Finance & Banking with an average income of $104,410 and Management & Business with $99,834 annually.

Some of the best salaries in London include:

IndustryAverage salary
Financial Services$113,000
Executive Management & Change$107,000
Legal Department$98,000
Legal & Paralegal$97,000
Agriculture & Forestry$93,000
Compliance, AML, KYC & Monitoring$87,000
Highest paying jobs in London

Read about top paying jobs in London.

Top salaries in New York include:

JobAverage salary
C Level Executive$172,512
Physician$140,256
Dentist$120,809
Data Scientist$114,105
Attorney$105,038
IT Manager$97,561

The difference between living in London and New York can be staggering. Sure, New York is congested with more population and a high cost of living, but the pay is equally attractive.

On the other hand, the cost of living is lower in London for nearly the same if not better quality of life.

Moving to these cities can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Do extensive research before moving to either of these cities, as the neighborhood you settle for will determine the kind of lifestyle and the money relationship you’re going to have.

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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