What Is The Cost Of Living In Queens, New York?

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by Upgraded Home Team

Queens, New York is a borough of New York City with a population of well over 2 million residents. Settled in 1683, Queens has long been an ideal living destination for those working in New York City and searching for a little piece of the Big Apple.

With a cost of living index at 178.2, Queens is one of the more expensive places you can live in the United States. You’ll see soon what makes it so costly – but don’t expect to get a good deal on rent or housing! The average median household income in Queens is $73.696, higher than the median annual income across New York State by about 2%.

Is Queens right for you? Don’t make the move until you get all the financial facts, because the cost of living in Queens isn’t for the faint of heart!

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Housing Costs in Queens, New York

Median Home Values in Queens, Compared

LocationMedian House PriceHomeownership Rates
New York$355,00052%
United States$320,00065.8%

Wow, look at that median home price! With a housing cost of living index at 260.8, that number shouldn’t surprise anyone – it is incredibly expensive to live in Queens, New York. Surprisingly enough, Queens has a higher homeownership rate than many other places around the New York City metro area. The homeownership rate in Manhattan is just 24%, and in Brooklyn, 30%.

Median Home Prices in Queens, New York

Price RangePercent of Homes
$1.259 Million and Above6.9%
$944,000-$1.259 Mil15.4%
Sub $126,0003.9%

These prices shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone! While the statistics show that there are homes in the sub-$200,000 range, I would imagine it would come as a surprise to most Queens residents.

Only 19% of Queens homes are single-family dwellings, with 31.5% being smaller apartment buildings, and 40.9% being large apartment complexes. 49.5%, or nearly half, of all housing in Queens, New York was built between 1940-1969. Just 12.4% was built between 1970 and 1999, and 6.6% having been built since 2000.

The majority of homes in Queens have 2 bedrooms – 32.2%. 27.4% have 3 bedrooms, and 25.3% have just one bedroom.

Rental Costs in Queens, New York

Housing SizeQueen NY Metro AreaNew York StateUnited States
1 Bedroom$1586$1291$930
2 Bedroom$1886$1528$1148
3 Bedroom$2410$1948$1537
4 Bedroom$2676$2124$1791

No one should be surprised to see that rental costs in the Queens metro area are incredibly high! If the New York City area is known for anything, it’s outlandish housing and rental prices. These are nearly double the national average, and several hundred dollars a month over the state’s average.

Generally speaking, rent is higher in states that have higher incomes. New York State is among the top 10 states with the highest average monthly rental prices, and also among the highest earning states in the country. To put things in perspective, the following table outlines how the average monthly rent in Queens, NY compares to other areas in the state of New York:

City Average Rent
Queens, NY$2,561
Manhattan, NY$4,072
Rochester, NY$1,144
Buffalo, NY$1,132
Albany, NY$1,385
Kingston, NY$1,284
Springfield, NY$1,106

Taxes in Queens, New York

Taxpayers in Queens, New York pay three main forms of state and local taxes: local property taxes, a state and NYC income tax, and state and local sales taxes. When it comes to taxes in the state of New York, there’s New York and then there’s New York City. Since New York City levies its own income taxes, residents of Queens pay some of the highest local rates in the nation.

Sales Taxes in Queens, New York

The base sales tax in New York State is just 4%. However, local counties and governments can impose additional taxes upon this. This means that, depending on where you are in New York, you may have end up paying as much as 8.875% in sales tax. All five New York City boroughs, Queens included, are subject to the full city sales tax rate of 8.875%.

This rate is more than double the state minimum and quite a bit higher than the national average, which sits at 7.12% for sales tax.

Property Taxes in Queens, New York

In Queens County, the average county property tax is just 0.880, nearly half of the New York State average of 1.690%, and less than the national average of 1.070%. For a home purchased at the median value, or $699,000, a Queens resident would pay $6,151 annually in property taxes.

Income Taxes in Queens, New York

New York State has a progressive, bracket-based income tax system, as many states do. The lowest-earning residents in Queens pay 4% income tax, and the highest-earning residents pay 8.82%. These are generally higher than the national average.

However, you only pay the top rate if you are making over at least $1,077,550 a year as a single filer, $1,616,450 as a head of household, or $2,115,350 if you are married and filing jointly.

Utility Costs in Queens, New York

The utility cost of living index in Queens is 149.5, making it much more expensive than the average US city. Living in a 915 square foot apartment, the average Queens resident can expect to pay a startling $242/month for basic utilities, which include heating, cooling, water, garbage, and electricity. The average high-speed internet bill is approximately $66.

The average Queens resident also pays approximately 21.00¢/kWh for electricity, which is nearly double the national average of 11.88¢/kWh. It’s no wonder Queens is ranked so highly when it comes to utility costs!

Food Costs in Queens, New York

Food in Queens, New YorkPrices
Average Meal for 1$18-$22
Mid-Range Meal for 2$80-$95
Gallon of Milk$4.50-$5
Loaf of Fresh Bread$2.75-$3
12 Eggs$3-$3.50
1lb Chicken$5
1lb of Bananas$0.75

The grocery cost of living index in Queens is 116.3, making it more expensive than the average US city to live and eat in. This isn’t surprising, considering the population density of Queens. It’s not as if there are local farms within a 20-minute drive to get fresh produce or meats from, after all!

Depending on where in Queens you are, you could find yourself in a food desert. The neighborhood of Jamaica in Queens is considered one. A food desert is an area that lacks easy access to fresh, healthy produce and foods in general. In addition, there are 3 neighborhoods in Queens that are recently classified as “food swamps”, or areas with a high density of unhealthy food sources with few alternatives.

This isn’t something that someone thinking of moving to Queens might even notice. Until, of course, you’re in the middle of it.

Transportation Costs in Queens, New York

The transportation cost of living index for Queens, New York is a high 188.5, meaning it is nearly twice as expensive to move around in Queens than the rest of the United States. Transportation costs are another important factor that you must consider in order to determine the overall cost of living in a particular location. These include expenses such as gas prices, public transportation costs, and car insurance premiums.

The average one-way commute for a Queens resident is 43.6 minutes, which is nearly double the national average of 26.4 minutes. 31.8% of residents drive their own car to work. 6.7% choose to carpool, and over half – 51.7% – take the public transit system. This is really no surprise, as it is the stereotype of New York City and the surrounding areas that driving is difficult, but public transit is the most common way to get around.

Public Transit Costs in Queens, New York

Queens, New York is serviced by the MTA, or the New York City Transit system. This extensive network of buses and trains reaches all around New York City and the surrounding boroughs.

The base cost of a MetroCard is just $1. This card is reusable and refillable, and nearly every New York City resident has one. Riding the subway costs a base of $2.75 per ride, or you can set up an unlimited ride MetroCard for a set amount of time. A 7-day card costs $33, and a 30-day card costs $127. For the bus system, it is $62 for a 7-day unlimited bus pass.

There are reduced fare prices available for those who are 65 or older, and riders with disabilities – you can apply for a reduced fare card through the MTA website. The cost is 50% of the base price.

Car Insurance Premiums in Queens, New York

The average cost of car insurance premiums in Queens, New York is $278 per month, or approximately $3,336 a year. Though, your rate can vary based on your age, driving record, the insurance company that you choose, and whether you opt for full or minimum coverage. To help illustrate how car insurance premiums vary based on where you live in New York, the following table outlines average car insurance rates in five places in New York:

CityAverage Annual Premium for Full CoveragePercent Increase in Average Annual Premium
New York (Manhattan)$4,959114%

Schools in Queens, New York

Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of schools in the Queens area! There are 341 elementary schools, 223 middle schools, and 127 high schools. 354 of those are in the public district. There are 24 public charter schools, and 209 private schools for Queens residents to choose from.

Impressively, despite the staggering number of schools, the schools in Queens County generally rank within the top 20% of schools in New York State. The public school system has an average math proficiency score of 55% and an average reading proficiency score of 58%, compared to the state averages of 54% for both.

The student: teacher ratio in Queens public schools is 15:1, higher than the New York average of 13:1.

Entertainment Costs in Queens, New York

There is certainly a lot to do within Queens – ignoring that just a short bus or subway ride away, you have all of New York City to visit! The average cost of a movie ticket is $16, higher than the national average.

Queens has lots of art museums for all types of people. The Museum of the Moving Image, in Queens, has a variety of changing exhibits, and costs range from $15 to completely free, depending on when you go – Fridays from 4-8 pm there is no fee at all! The Socrates Sculpture Park overlooks the East River and is open year-round, completely free. The Noguchi Museum is just $10 for general admission or $5 for students and seniors 65+.

Clothing Costs in Queens, New York

Item of ClothingPrice
1 Pair of Name-Brand Jeans$49
1 Summer Dress (From a Chain Store)$34
1 Pair of Brand-Name Shoes$75
1 Pair of Dress Shoes$99

Just like with everything else, you’re going to be paying a premium when you’re shopping in Queens. There is a wide variety of clothing stores to choose from within a reasonable distance, however, so you don’t always have to spend a lot… but you can.

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Should You Move to Queens, New York?

Queens ranks as one of the most expensive places you can live in the United States. Housing especially is incredibly expensive – well over double the national average. However, with that comes a lot of benefits. A short subway trip away, you are in Manhattan. Within a few hour’s drive, you could be in Philadelphia, the mountains of upstate New York, or even Boston.

For many people, living in such a centralized and busy location is absolutely worth the price. What you give up in rent and utilities, you make up for in culture and ‘city action’. The school system in Queens is also fantastic, which is important for many families.

Should you move to Queens? Maybe – if you afford the high cost of living, it could be worth it for you.

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