The True Cost of Living Alone in New York City, Mapped

photo: street easy
photo: street easy

If you’re under the age of 35, it’s more than likely that your living situation resembles a college dormitory or hipster-millennial co-op than a tranquil, one-bedroom apartment that you alone get to call home. In New York, this situation is only avoidable if you make a considerable amount of money, but how much exactly? Well, a new report via Street Easy outlines the exact hourly wage one needs to afford various neighborhoods throughout New York City. And it’s sob-worthy material for anyone with aspirations of living a life unencumbered by noisy roommates.

Unsurprisingly, anyone working for the state minimum wage of $8.75/hour is completely shut out from the possibility of living alone, and needs an hourly wage over four times higher ($38.80) to meet the median cost of rent in New York City, which Street Easy estimates at $2,690 for this year. Low wage workers earning less than the proposed $15/hr minimum wage would still only have one neighborhood amenable to a solitary lifestyle: Throgs Neck in the Bronx only requires an hourly wage of $13.64 to afford rent, while a few others, like “New Dorp ($15.76), Woodstock ($16.45), Fordham ($16.79), and Far Rockaway ($17.09)” almost make the cut at $15/hr, according to Street Easy.

Predictably, Street Easy found that the wages necessary to meet the cost of living in various neighborhoods throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn are quite expensive. Central Park South, which requires the highest hourly wage, necessitates that inhabitants make $85.07/hr to afford proximity to some of the city’s most cherished cultural institutions. Combine that with Tribeca’s $79.93/hr and you get an idea of how much money various denizens of these neighborhoods are making annually.

Brooklyn sees a pretty sharp decline compared to the most expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan, although the numbers are still quite extreme. Residents of Williamsburg would need to earn $46.57/hr, while Greenpoint requires $41.19/hr. Park Slope mandates a wage of $42.03/hr to live alone while Cobble Hill is a bit pricier at $46.30/hr.

Street Easy also released all of their findings via an interactive map, complete with the hourly wage necessary to live alone in each New York City neighborhood.

To put it plainly, anyone earning under $21.26/hr, the lowest wage one can earn to afford a single-dwelling apartment in the Bronx, cannot live by themselves. Or as Street Easy put it in especially realistic terms:  “low-wage workers face three options: find several roommates to lower their personal rent burden, take on more than one job, or move out of New York City.”

Follow Sam Blum on Twitter @Blumnessmonster 


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