Sydney vs New York: A cost of living comparison
Moving overseas can be expensive, but the last thing you want is to discover your hard-earned money doesn’t stretch very far once you’ve settled into your new home. We all know that Sydney’s a pretty expensive place to live, but just how does it compare to one of the US’s most bustling cities – New York?
We’ve put together a quick rundown of the basic costs of living in each of these cities. Even if you’re not planning to move from one to the other, it’s a good idea to compare where you’re living now with where you hope to move to, as this will help you get an idea of whether the grass really is greener on the other side.
Sydney: basic expenses
We’ll start by pointing out that Sydney is the eighth most expensive city in the world to live in, according to research carried out by Lloyds TSB. That’s five places higher than Melbourne – the next Australian city on the list – and a whopping 24 places above Adelaide (the lowest Aussie destination in the top 50).
Rent in Sydney averages at AU$2,123 per month (or $2,172), which is very steep. What’s more, rental costs in the city are rising, with a 2.07 per cent increase posted between 2010 and 2011.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only area where Sydney is expensive. A study published in May last year by financial firm AMP and the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the University of Canberra revealed the average household in the city was spending AU$11,074 per year on food and AU$1,967 on electricity and other utility bills in 2011.
The AMP-NATSEM research also found the average annual cost of transport in Sydney stood at AU$9,356. Despite this, however, the study highlighted the comparatively low cost of petrol in Australia, noting that only the US, Canada and Mexico offer cheaper fuel.
One thing worth remembering, though, is that people who work in Sydney enjoy some of the highest incomes in the world, which offsets the cost of living in the city.
New York: basic expenses
By contrast with Sydney, New York is ranked by Lloyds TSB as the 39th most expensive city to live in, with no other US destination making it into the organisation’s top 50. That said, there are some areas where it’s more expensive than Sydney – such as rent. In New York, the average monthly rent stood at $2,823 (or AU$2,754) in 2011.
In comparison to the rest of the US, two of New York’s districts have been highlighted as being particularly expensive – Manhattan and Brooklyn topped the Council for Community and Economic Research’s annual Cost of Living Index for 2012. Queens also made it into the top ten, coming in at number six.
It’s difficult to find figures to directly compare other aspects of costs of living between New York and Sydney, but, to give you some indication, you can expect to spend an average of $1,440 annually on utilities if you live in an 85 sq m apartment, according to Numbeo. Meanwhile, a monthly pass for public transport will set you back around $104, so $1,248 per year. As we’ve already mentioned, petrol is cheaper in the States than it is in Australia, so this is a considerable saving.
Although Manhattan is the most expensive of New York’s five boroughs, it also has the highest average weekly wage – standing at $2,464 in the first quarter of 2012 the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed. This was 2.5 times higher than the national average. So, while it might cost you more to live here, you should be earning more to make it viable.
Kat Lewis upped and left her home country (the UK) several years ago in search of excitement overseas. After travelling extensively (including a period down under), she finally settled in Egypt, where she is enjoying life as an expat.