Are you thinking about moving? A key consideration is the city’s cost of living. It significantly affects day-to-day living. Washington, D.C., and New York City are two cities that are regularly contrasted. Every city is alive and offers a variety of possibilities and experiences.

The center of political events is Washington, DC. Wherever you turn, there are historical sights everywhere. The labor market is expanding in several industries. On the other hand, New York, the “Big Apple”, is the stage for the whole world. It serves as a center of finance, entertainment, and fashion. The horizon line is recognizable and breathtaking. However, the fast pace of life here has a higher price.

Now, let’s explore the financial contrasts between residing in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

FactorWashington DCNew York City
Housing CostsAverage Rent: $2,600/monthAverage Rent: Over $3,700/month
Median Home Price: $664,000Median Home Price: $800,000
TransportationPublic Transit: VariesPublic Transit: Likely Higher
Vehicle Costs: VariesVehicle Costs: Likely Higher
FoodAverage Monthly Groceries: $300 to $400Average Monthly Groceries: $400 to $500
Dining Out: $5 to over $50 per personDining Out: Higher
EntertainmentMovie Tickets: $14 on averageMovie Tickets: $15.25 on average
HealthcareInsurance Premiums: Increased by 13.6%Insurance Premiums: Reduced by 48%
Common Procedures: VariesCommon Procedures: Likely Much Higher
TaxesIncome Tax: Up to 8.95%Income Tax: Up to 8.82%
Sales Tax: 6%Sales Tax: 4% (plus local taxes)
UtilitiesAverage Monthly Utilities: $258.21Average Monthly Utilities: $273.04

Housing Costs:

comparing housing costs in DC and in NYC

Comparison of Average Housing Prices and Rentals:

Living expenses have a big impact in New York and Washington, DC. By October 2023, the average rent in Washington, D.C., which takes into account all types of homes and bedroom sizes, will reach $2,600. Rents vary widely – from a modest $225 to a staggering $60,000 per month 1 [1]. On the other hand, New York is a more expensive playground. Known for its outrageous rents, the typical tenant in 2022 was spending over $3,700 per month [2]. 2 According to this scenario, rental housing in Washington, DC is about 27.1% cheaper than in New York [3]. Thinking about buying a house? Here and further, the financial environment is changing. Compared to New York, where it soars to $800,000, in Washington, D.C., the typical house price is $664,000 [4].

Discussion on the Types of Housing Available:

Washington DC:

Housing in Washington DC largely falls into three categories. First up are apartment units, totaling around 129,000. Next in line are nearly 93,500 single-family homes, followed by about 63,900 condominiums. Additionally, the city hosts about 7,300 units in public housing sites, overseen by the DC Housing Authority [5]​​.

New York City:

NYC is a housing kaleidoscope. It caters to its diverse populace with a variety of shelters.

  • Property types [6]:
    • Pre-war co-ops
    • Townhouses
    • Lofts
    • New construction condos
    • Luxury resale condos
    • Single-family houses
    • Multi-family houses​.
  • The city’s real estate spectrum broadens further to encompass condos, coops, townhouses, multi-family properties, new constructions, and sponsor units [7]​​.
  • Among these, single-family homes, multi-family homes, condos, and co-ops are common picks. Particularly, single-family homes win on privacy, thanks to their distinct structure and yard space​ [8]​.

Transportation Costs:

Public Transportation:

  • Washington DC:
    • Metro fares vary based on the service, ride length, day, and time you ride. While a specific cost wasn’t provided, it was mentioned that fares could be less than $2.00 for some locally operated transit services [9]​.
    • The price of a monthly public transport ticket is $106 [10]​​.
    • The DC Circulator’s buses cost just $1 to ride between popular tourist spots such as Georgetown and Union Station [11]​​.
  • New York City:
    • The fare for most riders on subways and local, limited, and Select Bus Service buses is $2.90, while express buses cost $7 [12]​.

Cost of Owning and Maintaining a Vehicle:

  • The total cost of driving from Washington, DC to NYC (one-way) is $37.04 at current gas prices, assuming your vehicle gets an average gas mileage [13]​. If you are preparing to move from DC to New York City, then visit our page.

The information implies that using public transportation in Washington DC may be marginally less expensive than using it in New York City, especially when taking into account the price of a monthly transit pass and the $1 charge on buses operated by the DC Circulator.

Moving Cost Calculator:

What affects moving costs from Dc to NYC infographics
DC vs. NYC: Navigating Your Moving Costs

Food Prices

Average Cost of Groceries

  • Washington DC:
    • The average monthly cost of groceries for a single person in Washington DC is around $300 to $400, while for a family of four, it’s about $1,100 to $1,200​[1​​4]​.
    • Some common grocery items and their average prices in Washington DC include:
      • Milk (1 gallon): $3 to $4
      • Bread (1 loaf): $2 to $3
      • Eggs (dozen): $2 to $3
      • Chicken breast (1 lb): $3 to $4
      • Apples (1 lb): $2 to $3
      • Potatoes (1 lb): $1 to $2
  • New York City:
    • The average monthly cost of groceries for a single person in New York City is around $400 to $500, while for a family of four, it’s about $1,400 to $1,500[​1​​5]​.
    • Some common grocery items and their average prices in New York City include:
      • Milk (1 gallon): $4 to $5
      • Bread (1 loaf): $3 to $4
      • Eggs (dozen): $3 to $4
      • Chicken breast (1 lb): $4 to $5
      • Apples (1 lb): $3 to $4
      • Potatoes (1 lb): $2 to $3

Price Range for Dining Out

  • Washington DC:
    • With many restaurants falling in between these two extremes, the cost of eating out in Washington, DC ranges from $5 or $6 at a fast-food joint to more than $50 per person at a luxury restaurant.​[16]​.
    • Budget breakfast options in parts of the city could cost between $7.50 and $11.00, while budget lunch could range from $8.50 to $13.00​[17].
  • New York City:
    • The restaurant prices in New York City are approximately 11.6% higher than in Washington DC​[18​].

Entertainment Costs

Comparison of Ticket Prices for Movies, Theaters, and Other Events

  • Movies: In New York City, movie ticket prices can vary, but a regular adult ticket price at Cinema Village is around $12, while at Regal Union Square Stadium 14 it’s $15.25​[19]. At an AMC theater in Manhattan, movie tickets are typically priced at $14.75 but are discounted to $8.75 before noon​[20]​. In Washington D.C., the average price for two movie tickets is $28​[21]​.
  • Theaters: Discount theater tickets in Washington, D.C. can be accessed through apps like TodayTix, with prices starting at $20​[22]​. The exact prices for theater tickets in New York City weren’t found, but given its reputation for Broadway shows, it’s likely more expensive.

Cost of Recreational Activities

  • New York City is praised for its diversity, arts, and culture scene, which can provide a variety of recreational activities, likely at a higher cost due to the city’s sheer size and variety of offerings[​23]​.
  • There are several free outdoor activities accessible in Washington, D.C. The city provides a range of free outdoor activities, such as touring nearby national parks or taking in contemporary art on the National Mall.​[25]​. There are also many chances for sports and outdoor activities, like as attending a Washington Nationals baseball game or watching the 2019 WNBA winners play at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.[26].

Healthcare Costs:

Comparison of Healthcare Insurance Premiums:

  • The healthcare insurance premium rates in New York and Washington D.C. have been diverging in 2023. In New York, the health insurance premium rates have been reduced by 48%, saving New Yorkers $799.5 million as healthcare costs return to pre-pandemic levels[​27]​. On the other hand, in Washington D.C., the average increase in 2023 premiums across all health insurers is 13.6% for individuals and 13.3% for small group coverage, saving District residents over $17 million​[28​].

Cost of Common Medical Procedures:

  • The cost of medical procedures varies significantly between Washington D.C. and New York. While exact costs of common medical procedures were not available, it was found that the healthcare costs per capita in New York ($14,007) are higher compared to the average in some other states, indicating potentially higher costs for medical procedures as well​[29​]. In Washington D.C., the cost of an Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery averages $7,241[​30]​. These figures suggest that medical procedures may generally be more expensive in New York than in Washington D.C.


Comparison of Utility Bills Including Electricity, Water, and Internet:

  • In Washington D.C., the average monthly cost for utilities including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for an 85m2 apartment is not specified, but it’s known that residents spend an average of $258.21 per month on utilities[​31​]. The average monthly residential power bill is around $103.53​[32​].
  • The average monthly utility in New York City is $273.04. This estimate includes gas, electricity, and water are included in this fee [33].


Through a comprehensive comparison, it is clear that the cost of living in New York City is generally higher than in Washington D.C. across various aspects including housing, transportation, food prices, entertainment costs, healthcare costs, taxes, and utilities. But keep in mind that New York is a very large and diverse city. And the prices in it very much depend on the specific place of residence. As a professional Moving company in DC we have the knowledge of the cost of living in the area by using credible sources and share this information with you to help relocate.