Bigger Isn’t Always Better: The Battle of Atlanta Vs NYC

Newyork Vs Atlanta

Atlanta vs NYC– a debate that is getting more and more popular with each passing day. While both cities don’t have a lot in common, many people insist that Atlanta is the “new” New York City. Quite notoriously, Atlanta has even earned a new nickname, “the Big Peach” which shows how much people like to compare it to NYC, aka the Big Apple.

If you are considering settling down in either of these “fruity” cities, scroll through the article to find out just how alike and how different Atlanta and NYC are from each other. We will be comparing the two cities in terms of population, cost of living, crime rate, and much more. So let’s dive right in!

Why Compare? Atlanta Vs NYC:

To begin with, New Yorkers have started to exhibit general unrest, like never before. The Big Apple, known for its fiercely loyal locals, lately has residents moving out in large numbers. According to stats from the US Census Bureau, more than 1.4 million New Yorkers migrated to other states in the last decade. 

On the other hand, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission, 2021 brought approximately 65,000 new residents to Atlanta. What exactly is going on? Is Atlanta a better place to live than New York? Keep reading for an in-depth comparison.

Atlanta vs NYC Cost of Living

When talking about the differences between Atlanta and NYC, the difference in the cost of living is one that can’t be ignored. The cost of living in Atlanta is 2% below the national average and a mind-blowing 43% below that of New York!

Let’s have a look at some of the main expenses responsible for eating up major chunks of your salary.


Although the rents in both cities don’t show too much of a difference, the value that you get for your money is considerably more in Atlanta. 

Over the years 2017-2021, the average rent in Atlanta was $1342. On the other hand, the average rent in NYC, over the same time period was $1579. However, you would be renting out a spacious apartment in Atlanta for this price compared to a tiny one in NY in a shady residential area. 

Another thing worth mentioning here is the kind of luxury amenities that rental units in Atlanta have to offer. You can enjoy assigned parking, a fully equipped kitchen unit, plus a built-in washer and dryer. Comparatively, the rental trend in NY is only going to make you deposit a two to four-month rent in advance, before you move in. 

If you are interested in buying real estate, Atlanta presents a profitable deal. The average value of a housing unit is $346,000 in Atlanta, while it is a staggering $660,700 in New York. 

Cost of Food

NY has the most diverse food to offer and it probably can’t taste any better elsewhere. However, if you really want to pamper your taste buds, you’d be running out of cash sooner than you think. 

For insight, a three-course meal for two would cost you a hundred dollars in NY, while only $65 in Atlanta. Additionally, you won’t just be saving money on fine dining, but even if you plan to do the cooking at home. Groceries will cost you $150 less in Atlanta, compared to the Big Apple.

Taxes in Atlanta vs NYC

Atlanta is a clear winner if you’re looking for a tax-friendly place to reside. While the sales tax is the same in both cities, the income tax that New Yorkers pay is almost double what residents in Atlanta pay. (10.1% and 5.8 % respectively)


Salaries in New York are generally higher to account for the higher cost of living. The average salary in NYC is $6165, whereas it is $4856 in Atlanta. However, the higher salaries still do not make up for the high cost of living in the Big Apple. 

Atlanta vs New York Population

New York is attractive because of all the hustle and bustle associated with it. Whenever you think of a street in NYC, you are unconsciously connecting it to a crowd. This is another major difference that sets the two cities apart.

While both Atlanta and NYC own the “big city” badges, New York has a population of 8.2 million, whereas Atlanta is home to 512,000 people. 

One reason for the NYC population surplus is the massive size of the city. Its spans over 300 miles, while Atlanta encompasses 135 miles. In spite of the differences in size, the population densities in both cities are nowhere close to each other. NY has a population density of 27,476, way higher than Atlanta’s 3780.

Atlanta vs New York Crime Rate

Life in a big city comes with a price tag. In the case of living in Atlanta and NYC, be prepared for the incidents of crime that are a part and parcel of every major city. 

However, in spite of New York being more populated and bigger than Atlanta, it is still relatively safer. The crime index of New York is 49.5, while that of Atlanta is 63.8. 

Is NYC or Atlanta More Dangerous?

Atlanta has a high incidence of property and violent crimes. On the other hand, incidents of property crime in NYC are even lower than the national average. 

Atlanta vs New York Weather

One of the most significant differences between Atlanta and New York is the weather. Atlanta has a subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters, while New York has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and cold winters. 

The temperature difference can be quite significant, with Atlanta averaging around 90°F in the summer and New York around 85°F. However, New York’s winter temperatures can be frigid, often dipping below freezing, while Atlanta’s winters are relatively mild, averaging around 45°F. 

While Atlanta’s aka “hotlanta” hot summers may not be for everyone, the mild winters and lack of snow make it a popular destination for those looking to escape harsh winter weather. Don’t forget your sunblock and water bottle whenever you hit the road.

When in Atlanta, you can welcome the summer season from as early as May and soak in the sunshine till late October. Precisely why you’d see the locals flocking to Piedmont Park or hiking at the Silver Comet Trail.

New York, on the other hand, is a winter wonderland during the holidays and offers plenty of winter activities such as ice skating in Central Park and visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. If you are prone to winter blues then NY might not be your cup of tea. 

Living in Atlanta vs NYC


Both Atlanta and New York are diverse cities with rich histories and cultures. Atlanta is known for its prominent role in the civil rights movement, as well as its contributions to the music industry with artists like Outkast and Ludacris. The city also boasts a thriving art scene, with museums like the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

New York, on the other hand, is a global hub for art, culture, and finance. It’s home to iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, and it’s the birthplace of many cultural movements, such as hip hop and punk rock. New York is also known for its theater scene, with Broadway being a top destination for theater-goers worldwide.

There are some similar venues in both cities, which don’t let you feel homesick for long. If you’ve recently relocated to Atlanta from NYC and are missing Chelsea Market vibes, you can head out to the Ponce City Market in Atlanta and grab a quick bite, just like your good ol’ days in NY.

While New Yorkers are comfortable walking around all day long, Atlanta locals prefer moving around in cars of their own. 

New York’s nightlife is no mystery but Atlanta has a fair share of exclusive clubs and night lounges too. Residents in Atlanta have a taste for unwinding over the weekends and you’d see many rooftop bars packed with food, foodies, and their cocktail drinks. 


Both Atlanta and New York are known for their diverse and delicious food scenes. Atlanta is famous for its soul food, including dishes like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. The city also has a thriving barbecue scene, with some of the best BBQ joints in the country, like Fox Bros Bar-B-Q and Community Q BBQ.

New York is a foodie’s paradise, with cuisine from all over the world available at every turn. The city is particularly known for its pizza, bagels, and deli sandwiches, but you can find just about any type of food you crave in the city. From Michelin-starred restaurants to street vendors, New York has it all.

Atlanta vs NYC Transportation

New York has its mode of transport sorted out with a solid public transport system. Not only is it easy on the pocket, but convenient too. You can get anywhere that you want to by paying an amount ranging from $2.75 to $6.75. Additionally, since everything is so close by, most of the time, you can just reach your destination on foot.

On the other hand, things are quite spanned out in Atlanta and people prefer to move around in personal cars. As a result, you are susceptible to getting stuck in traffic, especially in rush hours. The highways are usually congested at these times, and commute takes an hour or so.

Atlanta vs NYC Job Industry

Keeping emotions aside, it is a good idea to have a look at the practical aspect of your move, as well. The job sector in NYC is as diversified as its food and people. You can land a high paying job in any field, from arts, to finance, to entertainment. However, the unemployment rate in New York is high too, standing at 11.2%.

Alternatively, the jobs in Atlanta may not be as high-paying, but there is a lower unemployment rate of 5.3%. The highest number of available jobs are in professional and business services, followed by trade, transportation, and utilities.

Overall, Atlanta has demonstrated a positive trend in the job sector, which has increased by 23% in the past decade.  


Is Atlanta or New York more expensive?

New York is more expensive than Atlanta. Keeping the standard of living the same in both cities, you would need $9100 in New York, as compared to $5741 in Atlanta.

Why are New Yorkers moving to Atlanta?

An increasing number of New Yorkers are moving to Atlanta because of the improved lifestyle that Atlanta has to offer. When residing in Atlanta, you can enjoy the comfort of a peaceful city as well as the thrills and activities of a busy one like New York.

Is Atlanta or NYC bigger?

NYC is bigger than Atlanta population-wise and land-wise. New York’s population is three and a half times the size of Atlanta’s population, whereas its land is one and a half times bigger than Atlanta’s.

Is Atlanta a fun city to live in?

Yes, Atlanta is a fun city to live in because the parties and nightlife in Atlanta are a notch higher compared to other cities. The factors making its nightlife better than the rest are bar accessibility, music festivals, and a greater number of dance clubs per capita. 


Choosing a winner between two different (yet similar too) cities is a difficult task. Now that you are aware of the pros and cons of each city deciding will be much easier for you. 

If you want to alternate between living a busy, big city life and retreating to a slower pace every now and then; then Atlanta is the place for you. Additionally, the place is cheaper, where you can live on a “less is more” principle. 

On the other hand, New York is the epitome of the “high life”. If you like things fast-paced and busy, New York could be your dream destination. There’s never a dull moment here. Sure, you’d be paying a little extra, but eventually, the Big Apple makes up for it. 

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