Philadelphia vs NYC: Which City Reigns Supreme?

philadelphia vs New York City

Thinking of residing on America’s famous East Coast? Two options will stare you in the face. It must be the Big Apple or Philly if you want to enjoy the big city feel. Both cities have unique cultures, histories, and attractions that draw visitors from all over the world. Both cities have so much to offer, choosing between them is hard. 

This article has been put together to help you pick a favorite. We will look into how the two cities compare in terms of size, crime rate, cost of living, weather, and much more. Keep reading to get enlightened!

Philadelphia vs New York City Size

Do you prefer a city thronged by large crowds or would you rather enjoy some solitude? This is an important factor when it comes to choosing a place to reside. New York, with a population of over 8 million people, is not only the largest city in the US but also one of the largest cities in the world.

On the other hand, Philadelphia has a population of just over 1.6 million, which means that you can expect some peace and quiet when you go out to eat or shop. 

Although Philadelphia has a much smaller land area compared to New York, the Big Apple has a population density of 27,476 people per square mile, whereas Philadelphia has 11,759 people per square mile. 

Even if you’re just visiting the cities, the number of people there does make a difference. Visiting New York means that you would have to book your trip and activities, way in advance. If you are looking for a calming trip, away from the crowds, then Philadelphia might be your cup of tea. 

However, because of its size, there’s always something happening in New York and you will never run out of things to do. 

Philadelphia vs NYC Cost of Living

New York is an expensive city and this statement certainly didn’t send waves of shock through communities. It’s more like a universal truth! Therefore, assessing the cost of living before you relocate or plan a trip is necessary to avoid a financial crisis. 

According to data, New York City is a striking 60% more expensive city than Philadelphia! Let’s take a deeper look into the costs of different amenities in the two cities.

The cost of living in New York City is driven up by several factors, including the high demand for housing, the city’s high taxes, and the cost of doing business there. In contrast, Philadelphia has a lower cost of living, with lower housing costs and a lower overall tax burden.


Housing costs are one area where the difference in cost of living is especially noticeable. Housing in New York is a whopping 95% more expensive in New York than in Philadelphia. The situation is bleak even if you’re considering renting out the tiniest space in NY.

The average house rent in Philadelphia is $1670, compared to NY’s sky-high $3210. Owning a home in Philadelphia is easy on the pocket and you would probably end up paying lesser than the US national average. 

On average, a Philly home will cost $205,900, whereas being a New Yorker you would have to put aside a hefty sum of $677,200. It certainly doesn’t come as a surprise when you see a lot of  Philly residents as proud homeowners. 

Additionally, if your workplace is based in New York, but you predominantly work from home, you can even consider residing in Philadelphia while working in New York! You’ll be saving big bucks in the process.


Even though New York’s public transport is cheap, when you add up the higher gasoline prices in New York, transportation costs end up being higher in the Big Apple, than they are in Philadelphia. 

Food and Groceries

Even if you buy plain old bread and eggs in New York, it will cost you more than in Philadelphia. Grocery prices in Philadelphia are 16.9% lower than in New York. Even a happy meal at McDonald’s will cost you less in Philly, giving you a bigger reason to be happy!


According to data collected by the US Census Bureau, the median household income in New York is higher than in Philadelphia; $75,157 compared to Philadelphia’s $52,649.

However, the higher cost of living in New York City means that residents may not necessarily have a higher standard of living than those in Philadelphia. 

Living in Philadelphia vs NYC

So, what’s the real feel of living in Philadelphia or New York? Since New York is considered to be the cultural capital of the United States, moving to Philadelphia might make you nervous about missing out on a lot. 

However, Philadelphia also has a thriving arts scene with institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. 

Of course, New York’s cultural scene is a class apart, being home to iconic venues like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Broadway theaters, and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. 


There is plenty to write home about when it comes to the attractions that New York and Philadelphia have to offer. 

If you’re visiting Philadelphia, don’t forget to check in at the Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Reading Terminal Market. 

New York’s world-famous attractions need no introduction. The city has plenty to boast about with its Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Central Park. New York is the second most visited city in the US, with over 13 million visitors in the year 2019. Philadelphia doesn’t make it to the top ten list, but its attractions still draw plenty of visitors each year. 

If you are a die-hard sports fan, the sports scene in both cities will not disappoint you. Each city has a passionate fan base for its professional sports teams. Philadelphia has a strong Eagles fan following, whereas New York is home to several teams including the Yankees, Giants, and Knicks. 


One thing’s for sure. You can forget all about your fad diet when you’re on a trip to the East Coast! The culinary scene in both cities is lip-smackingly good, with both cities acing at their own food specialties. 

Philadelphia is famous for its cheese steaks, soft pretzels, and hoagies. When in Philadelphia don’t forget to try out its famous Philly Cheesesteak- a sandwich made with thinly sliced steak and cheese that melts in your mouth. 

Philadelphia also has a thriving craft beer scene, with numerous breweries and brewpubs throughout the city. Some of the most popular breweries include Yards Brewing Company, Victory Brewing Company, and Evil Genius Beer Company.

On the other hand, NYC is a foodie’s paradise being the inventor of several iconic foods like New York-style pizza, bagels, and hot dogs. Additionally, thanks to its diverse population, the city also serves the best international cuisine. You can try out anything and everything from Italian, to Chinese, to the most authentic Middle Eastern food.

You will also find plenty of dining-out options in both cities, from high-end restaurants that will cost you a kidney, to casual cafes and diners!

Philly vs NYC Crime

Crime is always a concern whenever a big city is involved, even if you are just visiting for a short time. However, it is important to note that crime rates can vary greatly depending on the neighborhood.

In spite of being the smaller of the two, Philadelphia has a higher crime rate both for violent and property crimes. Property crime in New York stands at 24.9, which is even lower than the national average. On the other hand, Philadelphia has a property crime rate of 46.6.

Violent crime in Philadelphia is something to look out for too. It is ranked at 50.8 in Philly and 28.2 in New York City. 

Philadelphia vs NYC Weather

Both cities provide the classic four-season weather during the year. However, if you prefer warmer temperatures, Philadelphia might be a more suitable option for you. 

Philadelphia has an average high temperature of 87 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas NYC has one of 84.2. 

Taxes in Philadelphia vs NYC

As far as taxes are concerned, these US East Coast cities happen to be more heavily taxed than the rest of the country. Although Philadelphia’s tax rates are lower than that of the Big Apple, locals refer to their hometown as “Taxadelphia”.

Philadelphia has an income tax rate of 7%, compared to New York’s 10.1%. On the other hand, the sales tax in both cities is somewhat comparable, being 8% in Philadelphia and 8.9% in New York. Therefore, if you’re visiting the East Coast, you can just shop from the city that is convenient to you without worrying about paying extra sales tax. 

Philadelphia vs NYC Transportation

Being overpopulated cities, getting around can be a bit of a challenge. However, the public transportation services in both Philadelphia and New York can be life-saving and time-saving too!

In New York City, you won’t meet a local who hasn’t used the subway. It is the most popular form of public transportation, with a daily ridership of over 5 million people. 

Philadelphia has a similar system with its SEPTA subway and bus system, serving over 300 million people yearly. 

One major difference between the two cities is the availability of taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. In New York City, taxis and ride-sharing services are readily available and often the easiest way to get around. However, in Philadelphia, they are less common and can be more expensive.


Is it cheaper to live in Philadelphia or New York?

Living in Philadelphia is much cheaper than living in New York. The cost of living in Philadelphia is 37% less than the cost in New York. This is one of the reasons why a lot of New Yorkers have started relocating to Philadelphia.

Is Philly bigger than NYC?

It’s the other way around. New York is twice the size of Philadelphia and has a population four times that of Philadelphia’s population.

Which city is more expensive than New York?

According to the annual Economist Intelligence Unit survey, New York and Singapore hold a joint slot as the top most expensive cities in the world.

Can you live in Philly and work in NYC?

Yes, it is possible to live in Philadelphia and work in NYC. Thousands of people have started doing so ever since the rising trends of working from home and flexible work schedules. 

Wrapping Up

When choosing between these two popular cities on the East Coast, it all comes down to your personal likes and dislikes. 

If you’re on the lookout for a city with a larger population, a more vibrant cultural scene, and world-famous attractions, New York City may be the better choice for you. 

However, if you prefer a more affordable cost of living, a less crowded city, and a food scene that includes iconic cheesesteaks and soft pretzels, Philadelphia might be the way to go. 

Both cities have their pros and cons and offer plenty to explore and experience. Whether you choose to visit or live in Philadelphia or New York City, you’re sure to find a lot of things that interest you and suit your lifestyle.

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