The Real Cost of Living in Brooklyn, NY

February 21st, 2023

The Real Cost of Living in Brooklyn, NY

Cost of Living in Brooklyn, NY

Are you moving to Brooklyn, NY? Make sure you know the cost of living in Brooklyn before moving there! 

Brooklyn, NY, is one of the five boroughs of New York City and is a hub of creativity, innovation, history, inspiration, and home to residents from all walks of life. With a population of 2.577 million, it is the most populated borough, accounting for 31 percent of New York City's population. 

Known for its live music and art scene, hundreds of parks, including the 526-acre Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge, diverse and delicious food, spectacular Manhattan skyline views, and home to many recognizable names in our history, Brooklyn is a great place to live.

Buildings in Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn entices not only some of the 56.4 million tourists that visit New York City each year but also many artists, young professionals, and people looking to live the city life. Only a short commute to Manhattan and other NYC boroughs, Brooklyn provides a great area to live while being close to the excitement of the attractions and spots in Manhattan. Although its beautiful brownstones lining the streets, easy transportation into Manhattan, artful and creative cafes and restaurants, and bridges and parks showcase amazing views are definitely a draw to living here; it is very expensive. 

Before moving to Brooklyn, know the realities of living here and if your budget can afford it. This article outlines the realistic expenses and costs of living in Brooklyn and what you can expect. If being surrounded by art and culture and a vibrant city offering unique attractions and opportunities interests you, read below to find out what you should save up before signing a lease or buying a home here. 

Cost of Living 

The cost of living in Brooklyn, NY, is 16% higher than the state average and 80% higher than the national average. This means that the housing costs are much higher and other expenses such as goods and services, transportation, and taxes. But, due to the elevated costs of everything, the average income is also much higher, and jobs typically pay more than in other states. Before making a move to Brooklyn, you should outline the cost of everything per month or year to see if your budget realistically allows you to live comfortably here, as well as be made aware of expenses that you might have yet to think of. 

Let's see how the cost of living in Brooklyn compares to the national data: 

Cost of Living Item Brooklyn  National Average 
Annual Income  $94,828 $54,132
Rent  $3,252 $1,169
Mortgage Payment $2,199* $1,672*
Natural Gas (Therm) $1.85 $1.67
Electricity (kWh) $0.24 $0.175
Public Transportation  $127 per month  $102 per month
Gas  $3.87 $3.45

*denotes median rather than average 


The average annual income for a Brooklyn resident is $94,828, with the median being around $62,952. This is about $4,000 above the national average, which is no surprise with the prices being so much higher. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for people over 16 years old living in Brooklyn was 5.9% in December 2022, with the state of New York at 4.3%. This is over 2% higher than the national average of 3.5%. Unemployment rates being so higher could be due to the number of nationwide layoffs occurring with just a larger population in this area and other circumstances over the past year. 

Due to the unemployment rate being much higher than the national one, it's unsurprising that the poverty levels reflect the same results. The national poverty rate is 11.6%, meaning that the poverty rate in Brooklyn is over 7% higher at 17.7%. 

Being located next to the largest city in the nation, many residents living in Brooklyn commute to work in Manhattan or other boroughs every day. New York City's top jobs are in healthcare, retail sales, operation management, and education. So, although the finance and technology industry is thriving in this city and pays the highest wages, there are other job fields for residents. 

Brooklyn Apartments with balconies


When looking to rent or buy a home, individuals oftentimes need to pay more attention to the cost of utilities factored into the total cost of monthly payments. In Brooklyn, energy bills cost around $181.93 per month on top of rent or mortgage payments. A benefit to living in New York City is that landlords must provide water and heat at no charge, but other expenses are still added on, such as laundry.

Many apartments and homes in Brooklyn do not have in-unit laundry causing you to have to pay for a laundromat, or if there is laundry in the building, often you still have to pay to use the services. A typical expense for a wash cycle in the city is around $2.25, and drying is around $1.75. So, if you do laundry once a week for a month, you have to pay $16 per month minimum to your monthly expenses. 

A fitness center or gym is an amenity that some apartment complexes or housing communities also have here that might cost extra on top of utilities. Some apartments tack on the expense already into your rent, while others might charge an additional fee to get a key or access to this amenity. If your complex or community still needs to get a gym attached to it, the average cost of gym membership in Brooklyn is around $100 a month, depending upon what type of gym and membership. So, these are other expenses that you might not think about but need to be made aware of before moving. 


Restaurant with wine glasses and tables

The BLS estimates that New York City residents spend around 12.9% of their budget on food. A significant impact on the cost of food is also if individuals get their food from home or outside of their homes. Grocery shopping is a bit more taxing in the city compared to other areas of the nation because most of the population uses public transportation instead of utilizing their own car.

The typical New York household spends $5,987, or 61.8% of their food money, at home and $3,706 (38.2%) on food away from home. With these numbers, a typical NYC household spends around $9,693 on just food a year compared to the national average of $5,259. 

In the past year, food prices have increased by 8.6 percent overall, with at-home food prices rising by 10.1 percent and away-from-home food prices advancing by 6.3 percent. So, although there are food options on every corner here, the cost of food has increased dramatically, at the overall costs are much higher than the national average. 


The current national cost of gas per gallon is $3.35, with the Brooklyn average being $3.87 per gallon. Most people living in Brooklyn utilize the public transportation systems instead of owning their own car due to the cost of gas, traffic, and parking difficulty. Actually, 56.5% of the population is car-free, but the other percent has to factor in the cost of gas, parking, tolls, and garage or parking spaces at their own home. 

Premium parking garage rates in Brooklyn start at $10 and go up to $40 daily. That means parking your car in a garage could cost more than the gas and tolls to get there or sometimes keeping it at home. Luckily, many street parking spots in Brooklyn are free, but you have to be aware of street cleaning days to know what sides and areas are available on what days. So, for many people owning a car is too much of an extra expense to make the convenience worth it. 


In New York, health insurance costs an average of $776 per month, based on an individual buying a Silver health insurance plan. That is about $200 more monthly than the national average of around $560 for a Silver insurance plan. Although many jobs have health insurance benefits, many individuals must be self-insured or uninsured and pay the total cost for appointments, procedures, etc. 

Let's look at the cost estimate of co-pays in New York for uninsured individuals: 

  • Primary Care-$149
  • Dental $75-$200
  • Vision $185-$200
  • Dermatologist-$150-$200
  • Physical Therapy-$75-$150
  • Specialty Doctor-$265 

Public Transportation 

Subway in New York City Brooklyn Bridge

According to the New York Public Transportation Association, 56% of Brooklyn residents utilize the public transportation systems, even if they own their own car. Known as one of the oldest public transportation systems, the NYC subway first opened in 1904 and is still being utilized by thousands of people each day. But, the subway isn't the other means of transportation in the city and its boroughs, the bus and ferry systems are the same price and are under the same company that runs the subways, also being utilized by many people daily. 

Over 1 million people commute to Manhattan daily from surrounding boroughs, cities, and even states. Some of the other public transportation systems used by many are the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), New Jersey Transit, and the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH). 

Let's take a look at the cost of each public transportation system and its cost per ride: 

Ferry Bus Subway  NJ Transit  LIRR  PATH
$2.75 $2.75 $2.75 $5.75-$12 $10-$19 $2.75


The current average national sales tax rate is between 4-7%. The recent New York sales tax rate is currently 4%, meaning it is on the lower end, but goods and services are typically higher in cost. But sales tax rates are not the only taxes you must be concerned about paying while living here; there are also income tax, property tax, and federal taxes. 

If you are making a move: 

  • The average property tax rate in New York City is 0.88% 
  • New York City's income tax rates are 3.078%, 3.762%, 3.819%, and 3.876%
  • New York taxes capital gains as income, and the rate reaches 8.82%
  • New York does not charge inheritance tax 
  • You must file a New York estate tax return if the estate is more than $6.11 million 

DUMBO Brooklyn buildings cars and people


Is it expensive to live in Brooklyn? 

It is costly to live in Brooklyn, NY, but the minimum wage is $15 an hour, and there are ways to save money, such as the monthly public transportation pass that is $127 a month, getting you unlimited rides. 

What salary do I need to live comfortably in Brooklyn? 

Living comfortably looks different to everyone, but to be approved by a landlord, you need to make triple the rent. 

What is the benefit of living in Brooklyn compared to the other boroughs? 

Brooklyn is a more affordable borough than Manhattan and Long Island, with a neighborly feel, hundreds of parks and businesses, and less tourism. 

Cost of Living in Brooklyn, NY - Final Thoughts 

There are several factors to consider when determining your living costs in Brooklyn, like utilities, transportation, taxes, and more. But, if living in the art and culture capital of the U.S. is worth the cost of living, it is a great place to live with many opportunities awaiting your arrival. 

If you or anyone you know is thinking about moving to Brooklyn, NY, contact us here so that we can connect you with one of our Realty Specialists. No matter what neighborhood or style of home you are looking for, we will help you to find your new Brooklyn home and make moving the easiest part of your new journey. 


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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.