Sunday, September 12, 2010

Los Angeles Versus Manhattan

In this corner, with 3.7 million people, 39.8% of its housing units 1-unit detached, and 11.2% of its workers taking transit to work, the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California!

In the far corner, with 1.5 million people, 0.3% of its housing units 1-unit detached and 59.6% of its workers taking transit to work, New York County, New York, a.k.a. Manhattan!

Let's get ready to rumble! . . .

A lot has been made of how "terrible" it would be if Los Angeles became more like Manhattan, so I thought it would be fun to actually examine a bit, with Census data, how different these places really are, or aren't. All data comes from the 2006-08 American Community Survey.

Link to the Los Angeles City data
Link to the Manhattan data

Households with no vehicle available
LA: 12.7%
Manhattan: 77.3%

Housing units that are owner-occupied
LA: 39.4%
Manhattan: 23.6%

Population that is "white"
LA: 49.5%
Manhattan: 56.0%

Median household income
LA: $48,610
Manhattan: $66,525

Households with one or more people under age 18
LA: 34.6%
Manhattan: 19.8%


  1. You forgot to add the average price for rent. That 66,000 doesn't begin go to pay for an apartment in NY if you don't know someone who can give you a hook-up.

    One bedroom average 2100 NY (one bedrooms in NY can be tiny, no way to have more than one kid and a couple, you have two or three, good luck.)
    One bedroom average 1200 LA

    And the rents in Manhattan can easily go up to 3000 and 4000 dollars for ONE BEDROOMS! Go to Craigslist and find a place in NY.

    Also try getting a working class job in NY, try doing odd jobs in Manhattan. It is impossible, virtually impossible. Jobs at McDonald's are valuable. You know how in LA there are all of these little psuedo apartments that you can find, space is such a premium in Manhattan there is none of that at all. The last one that existed Ran (the other half of The Bus Bench) lived in and they knocked that down.


  2. These census figures list the Manhattan median rent at $1,174 and the median for LA at $1,029 (under "housing characteristics").

    Interestingly the percentage of renting households paying over 35% of their income on rent is higher in LA than in Manhattan (48.2% and 34.9% respectively), but of course the median incomes are higher in Manhattan.

    What I take away from this is that housing is way too expensive in both LA and Manhattan, and a bit worse in Manhattan. However in Manhattan, you don't have to own a car to live a full life, which is a huge cost savings.

  3. Median rent in Manhattan 1,174!! No way!! Find me a place in Manhattan for 1,174 and I will move there today. The studios average 1,500 (on the low, low, low end sharing a bathroom) in Manhattan.

    From Forbes average rent for a studio in NY in 2006, $1800

    NY Times for a studio in Manhattan $2,500

    Bloomberg 2010, 2800 for a one bedroom. Studio 2,100

    I need to know where did you get $1,100.

    You don't have a car, but you have to do alot of other things you don't have to do in LA, like clothes. In NY clothes are very important. The amount people spend on clothes out there to show that they are ok, could be a car payment.

    I think NY is great, fabulous, but try living there. Try doing it for a summer, it will break you financially if you're not working super hard AND connected.

    If you have family and friends out there, then you might be able to survive, but try getting an apartment even if you have the money, because space is such a premium they are some picky bastards in regards to even renting out there, it might be changing owing to la crisis, but still.

    The reason LA is great is because you can be lazy, you can wear jeans, you can find a 700 dollar apartment in civilization (you the Valley, SGV, Whittier, Carson...) Immigrants move here, because it's accessible.

    In NY live outside of Manhattan and well it's a different world. It's super segregated, racially, seriously I didn't even see any ethnic white people when I was in Manhattan, maybe I was hanging out in the wrong sections, but I was asking "Where are the Puerto Ricans, the Italians, the black people, hell are there any Irish people here..." I don't know, you really need to go to New York. I think you have a false impression of it.

    It is awesome. I'm not saying NY is not awesome, but there is a reason the rent is so high, it's like some other planet. It is very posh there, very posh more posh than Beverly Hills, Palos Verdes, it's like old money Pasadena times 100 out there.

    People iron their jeans there, it's wonderful, literate, artful, but it's not class diverse.


  4. Browne, check out this Craig's List post. Harlem, apparently is a place to find cheap housing in Manhattan:

    I won't hold you to moving there :)

    The median rent figures are from the 2006-08 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The link for Manhattan is in the main post.

    Some people in Manhattan might spend a lot on clothes, but I don't see how that makes it a mandatory expense.

    I've spent, in total, months of my life there visiting people I know, so I know a bit about the place.

  5. That 1,100 dollar number is off for current rents. That number is average of all the rents.

    You have rent controlled apartments in NY, so many people have those and pass them down from generation to generation. I have friends who live on the Upper Westside and pay practically nothing, because they live in apartments passed down from parents and grandparents. Those rent controlled apartments often where places that were racially restrictive, so in general anyone who is new who moves to Manhattan sans certain locations in Harlem.

    Oh by the way did you notice the you must make at least 42,000 dollars a year to rent that apartment. That means you move NY and you get a job at McDonald and some odd jobs you're not allowed to live there and I'm pretty sure they will reject your application if you have more than one person on it. Yeah NY seems really easy place to live that they make you go through all that for a 895 dollar a month apartment that pretty much screams no poor or bohemians need to apply in Harlem...


  6. By my calculation you have to make $35,800 per year before taxes to live in that apartment (40 * $895) which means you have to make enough so that the rent is 30% of your income or less. I've seen landlords in LA do stuff like this too.

    LA also has a form of rent control for some housing units called the Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

    True, working at McDonald's you wouldn't be able to afford that place on your own. But then again, what place in LA would you be able to afford on your own either at that salary?

  7. I think that's a typo. I think it means 4X 895 which would equal 42,000 dollars a year.

    Find a place in South LA or the Eastside that's 895 dollars (there are some posh places that care, but the 895 dollar places don't) that has those kind of stringent requirements to move into a studio.

    In NY apartments are like houses, people have been in apartments for generations in NY you don't have that same history, that low number is not real and you know it's not.

    This isn't about winning this particular online point this is about the truth.

    Do you want to have a serious conversation or do you want to play a game? This is about the lack of class diversity in high density housing and the lack of planning; let the poor have the crumbs we don't want isn't an actual plan.

    In LA you can live with some roommates in a studio in South LA or the Eastside and some parts of Hollywood and the landlord is not going to give a damn how you get the money or if your credit is good or not. In NY even in one of the least desirable neighborhoods you have to have good credit and make 15k to 20k more than the average American.


  8. "[T]hat low number is not real and you know it's not"

    I stand by everything I've written in this post. I have cited it rigorously.