Did you know that nearly 13% of the American population moves to a new home or city each year? While most of these movers remain in the same general area, millions move to new states and cities.
Everyone is on the search for a city that they love, a place they can afford to live, and a place with ample opportunities to make a good living. The problem is that it can be tough to find a city that checks all of those boxes.
When people want to move to a big city, however, they typically choose between two places: New York City vs Los Angeles.
Situated on opposite corners of the country, both cities are massive. They are iconic destinations. And they are the dream come true for millions of people.
But which is better? Keep reading below to learn how to choose between the top US cities.
LA vs NY: The Population
Before we start talking about the quality of living, the best things to do, and the NYC vs LA lifestyle, let’s cover the basics.
New York City and Los Angeles are the two largest cities in America. New York is home to more than eight million people, while Los Angeles houses four million residents. Together, these two cities make up about 3.5% of the total American population.
Right off the bat, you can see that New York is twice the size of LA, as far as population goes.
New York City is 300 square miles, meaning that there are 27,000 people per square mile. This is the most densely populated city in the country, which is why everyone lives in high-rise apartment buildings.
Los Angeles is the 10th most densely populated city in the US. With a landmass of 469 square miles, there are 8,400 people per square mile. While it’s still crowded, you’ll have a lot more space in Los Angeles, and the opportunity to buy a home with a driveway and a yard certainly exists.
It’s important to understand population density when choosing a place to live. The denser the population, the more people, cars, and noise. Dense places experience the most traffic.
And they also experience the most competitive housing markets, both for renters and buyers.
Moving In, Moving Out
Between 2020 and 2021, New York City experienced an overall decline, losing 300,000 residents. That’s about 3% of the city’s population.
This can be largely attributed to the rise in remote work following the pandemic, where professionals are taking their jobs with them in search of a more affordable place to live.
In the same timeframe, Los Angeles had a net loss of around 40,000 residents or about 1% of the population.
These will remain the largest cities in the nation for quite some time. But it’s still important to know that more people are moving out than moving in.
Out of the many people who flee NYC each year, a decent amount end up moving to Los Angeles. Not nearly as many people make the move from LA to NYC.
Are you tired of cold winters and ever-crowded streets in NYC? Hiring a company like Cross Country Movers helps you move across the nation fast and affordably.
New York City vs Los Angeles: The Climate
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing one of these two cities is the climate. With Los Angeles in the Southwest corner of the US and New York in the Northeast, they experience very different weather.
Many people choose New York because you can experience all four seasons. What most New Yorkers love is autumn, where temperatures drop, the weather is dry, and you don’t have to deal with sweat or snow.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, only has two seasons; hot and less hot, otherwise known as a Mediterranean climate.
Southern California is extremely dry, so rain is very uncommon. But being near the coast, Los Angeles does get its share of cloudy, cooler days.
In the winter, anything below 70 degrees is considered a cold day. So yes, you can go to the beach almost every day of the year.
The problem with Los Angeles isn’t so much the temperature, but rather than natural disasters it experiences annually. Southern California is the wildfire hub of the nation, with many fires occurring over the summer.
They typically don’t present a threat to the city but can fill the air with smoke and ash for days or weeks on end.
Also, earthquakes are a big concern. Most are small and barely noticeable. But many experts predict larger earthquakes to hit at some point.
Both LA and NYC are very expensive places to live. To enjoy the culture and amenities that either city provides, there’s a massive tradeoff.
The median cost of a home in NYC depends on what borough and neighborhood you have your heart set on. The median in Manhattan is more than $1.2 million, while in the Bronx, it’s “only” $550,000.
If you want to be close to the best neighborhoods, you can expect to spend nearly a million dollars.
The average rent in Manhattan is $4,200. In Brooklyn, it’s $2,900.
In the city of Los Angeles, the average home price is around $775,000. If you’re okay with living further from the city center, the average drops to $700,000.
The average rent in Los Angeles is $2,700. However, with the remote work revolution, many people are moving out of the city center in favor of the suburbs surrounding the city.
NYC vs LA: The Lifestyle
When considering living in NYC vs LA, there’s one big elephant in the room that affects your entire lifestyle: transportation.
In New York City, owning a car isn’t the best idea. Or at least trying to drive it on a daily basis. Coming back to population density, you will always be sitting in traffic because there are so many people per mile.
Most New Yorkers accept this fact and instead embrace walking, biking, or taking the subway. While this mindset is common in much of the world, it’s largely absent in the US.
If you’re attached to your car and prefer to drive daily, NYC might be the only place you don’t want to live. Most people who own a car typically keep it parked unless they want to leave the city on the weekends.
Parking anywhere in the city will cost you money. So if you’re driving daily, parking will be a major line item on your budget each month.
In Los Angeles, the opposite is true. While New Yorkers can live happily without a car at all, those in LA can’t live without a car. The city isn’t designed for walkers or cyclists and doesn’t boast the most efficient public transit system.
Yes, you’ll still sit in traffic every day. But it’s your only choice if you need to get around town.
NYC is the entertainment hub of the East Coast, while LA is the entertainment capital of the country.
If you dream of working in show business, the music industry, or any other form of entertainment, the opportunity primarily lies in the West.
Careers aside, both cities are filled with fun ways to spend your time.
NYC is a place where locals and tourists alike spend their time bouncing from restaurant to restaurant and bar to nightclub. Many of the world’s top chefs come to NYC to open their dream restaurants, making New York a foodie paradise.
Broadway is big in New York, for those who enjoy live theater. Art shows are common in many neighborhoods.
Parties and events run long into the night. If you’re a night owl, NYC is ideal because the city really never sleeps. You can do anything you want at 2:00 AM, from having laundry done to getting dinner.
Los Angeles has a larger variety when it comes to entertainment. It has tons of professional sports teams and many different stadiums and arenas to visit. It’s the concert capital of the world, with every major tour and artist making a visit.
Disneyland is a short drive away. Universal Studios is close by.
The Santa Monica Pier is fascinating. Venice Beach is even more fascinating.
If you like variety when it comes to entertainment and activities, Los Angeles has more to offer.
Big cities aren’t often famous for their recreation opportunities. But NYC and LA happen to be exceptions.
Both are situated on the coast, making it possible to enjoy time at the beach. Los Angeles wins, though, with more sunshine and warm weather year-round, allowing you to go to the beach in February.
Ney York City is famous for Central Park, where you can bike, jog, picnic, and even fish. Aside from this one large green space, NYC is limited when it comes to nature.
Los Angeles is surrounded by natural spaces, however. To the north are the Santa Monica mountains. To the east is the Angeles National Forest and the highest peak in Southern California.
Camping and hiking opportunities are abundant in the area. Surfing and fishing are extremely popular at the nearby beaches. And if you’re willing to drive for about two hours, you can visit snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, endless deserts, mountain bike trails, and a lot more.
If you enjoy time in the outdoors, Los Angeles offers a lot more.
Make the Right Decision
New York City vs Los Angeles: which do you think is right for you?
Both are crowded, expensive, and full of fun and excitement. But the culture and the lifestyle are very different, not to mention the weather.
Moving isn’t easy, nor is it cheap. So it’s important to consider all factors before making the move.
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