6 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Moving to New York

Should you move to New York?

Like other hopeless romantics and ambitious go-getters, you’ve always dreamed of living in New York, New York—the city so nice, they named it twice. The sights, sounds, and even some of the smells, all seem so exciting. Well, before you book your one-way ticket or rent that Penske, here are a few questions that will help you decide if you should move to New York or not.

1. Are you good at budgeting your money?

New Yorkers are an industrious bunch—mainly out of necessity. For the New York City region, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reports the area median income is $93,900 for a family of three. Although you could make it rain with that much mullah in other cities, according to a study by SmartAsset, a family living in New York City would have to make over $158,000 a year just to live comfortably in a two-bedroom apartment. So you can see why penny pinching or getting a side hustle is necessary to make ends meet.

2. Do you have a job?

A word to the wise—have a gig lined up before you make the move to Manhattan or one of the outer boroughs. However, if you plan to job hunt once you arrive, the good news is the city’s unemployment rate has slightly improved, 4.2 percent in March 2018, unchanged from February but down 0.4 of a percentage point from March 2017.

Private sector jobs in New York City rose over the year by 74,600, or 1.9 percent, to 3,912,100 in March 2018. According to the New York State Department of Labor, gains were greatest in educational and health services; professional and business services; financial activities; natural resources, mining and construction; trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; information; and other services. Manufacturing was the only sector to lose jobs.

3. Do you have friends or family nearby?

When everyone is busy hopping from point A to point B, usually with their heads buried in their mobile device, it can be difficult to meet new people. And even if you have thousands of Facebook “friends” and Instagram followers, there’s nothing like having a Good Judy or Jerry that you can actually reach out and touch. But if you don’t have friends or family nearby, use your social media savvy to connect with fellow city dwellers. Meetup.com is also a good way to meet peeps with shared interests.

4. Are you claustrophobic?

Tiny apartments. Non-stop traffic. Sardine-packed subways. With limited wiggle room, New York City is not an ideal place for nervous Nellies who get anxious about close encounters. In 2017, the city’s population reached a record high of over 8.6 million and has climbed 5.5 percent since 2010, according to a Department of City Planning analysis of new Census Bureau population estimates.

5. When it comes to your personality, are you a lion or a lamb?

Remember that famous scene from Midnight Cowboy where Dustin Hoffman slams the hood of a yellow cab and yells, “I’m walkin’ here!” Well, that’s a level of aggression most New Yorkers either possess innately or develop over time.

While there may be plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing, this is not a city of lambs (unless you count the Mariah Carey fans). Actually, depending on the time of day, New York can feel more like Silence of the Lambs. Scary. You have to know when to speak up or there’s a good chance you will be ripped off. You also have to become hyper aware of your surroundings in order to avoid confrontation with the countless crazies you’ll encounter.

6. Do you enjoy diversity?

If you answered yes, then you will feel right at home in this multicultural melting pot. Dubbed “the great equalizer,” the city’s subway is where you will stand shoulder to shoulder with folks from different races, ethnicities, faiths and cultural backgrounds. As Prince once sang, “White, black, Puerto Rican, everybody just-a-freakin’.”

According to recent Census data of the city’s population: 43.1% are white alone; 24.4% are black or African-American alone; 13.7% are Asian alone; 29% are Hispanic or Latino alone; and 3.3% are two or more races.

Tracy E. Hopkins