What Are Income Taxes Like in NYC Compared to SF?

December 22, 2022 / Written by Corporate Suites Staff

The income taxes between NYC & San Francisco are similar, but California has lower taxes than New York for lower incomes, but higher state income taxes in the highest brackets. California’s lowest bracket is 1% compared to New York’s 4%, but California’s highest bracket is over 12%, whereas New York’s is 10.9%.

While these taxes do matter, there are pros and cons to living in each city. At the end of the day, you’ll probably spend more money in San Francisco, where housing is the most expensive in the country.

Keep reading to see how these cities compare with taxes and the general cost of living.

NYC Income Tax

In New York City, the income tax rate is 4% for those who make less than $8,500. For anyone making over that amount, there are six different brackets up to 10.9%, which applies to individuals earning more than $1 million.

San Francisco Income Taxes

In San Francisco, the income tax rate is 1% for those who make less than $8,932. This goes all the way up to 12.3%, which applies to individuals making over $1 million.

NYC VS. San Franciso

When it comes to which city is the best to live in, you need to consider much more than income taxes. There’s the quality and cost of living, house, and job opportunities. 

Another aspect is your own personal hobbies and interests. Maybe both cities will work for you. But there’s a chance one will be better than the other, as they have different climates, politics, and demeanor. Essentially, they’re both lollipops, but they’re different flavors.

NYC Is Up First

New York City is known for being an expensive place to live, especially concerning the cost of living. The monthly rent in NYC for a studio apartment is over $3,000

On top of that, you’ll also have to pay for transportation and utilities, which can be quite costly depending on where you live.

However, there are plenty of job opportunities in various industries, so you can make up for the cost of living with higher wages.

SF Is Up Next

San Francisco is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The average monthly rent in San Francisco is nearly $4,000.

On the plus side, San Francisco has a booming tech industry; many residents are well-paid engineers and software developers. This means that people who work in tech can often make up for the higher cost of living.

How Do They Stack Up in Other Areas?

Taxes and rent are a big deal. But they aren’t the end all be all. Let’s take a look at some of the other equally important attributes.

Crime Rates

There are considerable differences between New York City and San Francisco regarding crime and safety. While NYC is well known for its high crime rate, San Francisco consistently registers lower scores in this area of violent crime but has higher property crime rates. 

It’s also important to note that crime varies widely in NYC depending on the neighborhood. The Bronx has the highest crime rate, with Queens and Staten Island having the lowest.

Both cities have seen steady drops in overall crime as the crack epidemic started coming to a close more than two decades ago.  

2020 saw a big dent in overall crime between both cities, but as lockdowns were removed, crime slowly increased, which it did in every major American city. 

Despite these differences in safety ratings, both cities offer excellent public resources to protect citizens from harm. For example, both cities have implemented successful initiatives such as community-based policing, which fosters strong relationships between law enforcement officers and local neighborhoods.

Who Has the Best Public Transportation?

Public transportation in New York City and San Francisco has its own unique appeal; however, there can be no doubt as to which of the two is better. 

New York City’s train and subway systems are much more extensive than San Francisco’s. With a more significant number of lines and stations, there are plenty of options for people to get around town without relying on cars or public buses. 

There are also direct lines to Connecticut and New Jersey.

The MTA offers discounts and deals that make using public transportation in NYC a great budget-friendly option. Furthermore, their extra safety features, like increased lighting and surveillance cameras, give riders added peace of mind while traveling. NYC takes the cake when it comes to public transport.

Which Is More Family-Friendly?

Finally, when it comes to family-friendliness, New York City wins. The city has parks, recreational activities for children, and top-notch schools. 

While San Francisco has many museums and parks, it doesn’t compare to what NYC offers. It has fewer kid-friendly attractions, and the public school system can be hit or miss.


When it comes to food scenes in the United States, New York City and San Francisco couldn’t be more different. If you’re looking for an old-school experience—think diner culture for breakfast, lunch counters for midday dining, and classic Italian restaurants at night—your best bet is a trip to New York. 

But if you’re on the hunt for something a little more modern and contemporary, like award-winning chefs with innovative tasting menus or endless cuisine options from around the world, your search should take you to San Francisco. 

Both cities offer culinary diversity that can satisfy any taste or desire, so no matter where you are in the county, there’s an option for anyone seeking out great food experiences.

How’s the Weather?

Comparing weather between New York City and San Francisco is like comparing apples with oranges – there’s no real winner since both cities have distinct climates that come with their own charms. 

NYC’s humid summers can be oppressive, but nothing beats the city’s energy during a hot day in July. On the other hand, San Francisco weather is mild year-round, with fog rolling in each evening over the bay; plus the mornings are often sunny making for a bright start to the day. 

While there may be snow storms, Nor’easters, and heat waves on either coast, there’s something special to experience in both cities when you step outside and feel the temperature change on your skin.

How Much to Buy a House?

Finding affordable housing in large cities like New York City and San Francisco has always been challenging. Many people struggle to keep up with rents continuously rising and limited supply. 

But what about purchasing a new home?

The winner here is New York, and it’s not even close. The average home in Manhattan is over $700,000, and just under $1,000,000 in Manhattan, which may seem extreme if you’re from a rural area. But San Francisco homes average more than $1.3 million.

The reason? Tech companies. 

Many employees worked from home during the pandemic. They sold their houses and moved away, thinking they’d live away from the city for years. However, many of these companies have recalled their employees, who now have to buy new homes. This is causing home prices to continuously increase in a city where it was already super expensive to buy a house.

How About the Traffic and Commute Times?

While both New York City and San Francisco are known for their busy streets, there is a significant difference in how long it takes to commute between the two cities. 

NYC commuting times average about 40-45 minutes per day, depending on which source you get your information from and the mode of transport used, whereas the average commute times in SF are around half an hour. 

Although both cities may have crowds of bustling people and traffic jams during rush hours, SF residents have nearly half the amount of time invested in their daily commutes compared to NYC dwellers. 

This is primarily due to the population difference between the cities. New York City has a metro population that’s closing in on 20 million while the SF metro population is roughly a quarter of that.

Although shorter commutes can save money on gas or public transit fares, it also gives those residing in SF more time for recreation or relaxation after work.

Are Both Cities Diverse?

Finally, both cities are known for their diversity. San Francisco has a long history of being an inclusive city, and it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world. 

Meanwhile, New York City is home to people from all over the globe, making it one of the most diverse cities in the United States.

Overall Cost of Living

Comparing the cost of living in New York City and San Francisco is a complex task, as it depends mainly on an individual’s lifestyle and budget. In general, New York is more expensive than San Francisco. 

Groceries are also more expensive in NYC; however, those living there often have access to a greater variety of goods than what’s available to residents of San Francisco. 

Both cities’ entertainment costs can be high depending on personal choice, but they can offer plenty of free or low-cost events to attend. 

Residents in both cities should also consider taxes when calculating their cost of living, as income tax can be significantly higher in New York City than in San Francisco. Ultimately, it all comes down to finding the right balance between location and cost to determine which city has the best cost of living for an individual.

Will I Find a Job?

The job prospects in major cities like New York City and San Francisco have been compared by many people seeking a new career. NYC has its iconic Wall Street, while the Bay Area is making strides in the tech industry – both strong points for launching any number of successful career paths. 

However, there is a clear difference in the cost of living between these two metropolitan hubs. 

San Francisco outweighs NYC with one of the highest costs of living in the nation; therefore, job seekers looking for a secure salary should consider this, as they’ll need a higher wage to live the lifestyle they desire. 

Despite having higher real estate prices and rental rates, San Francisco offers more diverse economic opportunities due to its rapidly developing start-up culture and higher median wages than its East Coast cousin across the country. 

Though wages may be high in SF, they are not high enough to match exorbitant housing prices, which also need to be considered when beginning your job search.

The Winner? – New York City

Lower taxes, robust living options, and the country’s most efficient public transportation system beat what San Francisco offers. Unless you’re qualified for a high-salaried position in the tech industry, you’ll have issues being able to afford the city.


Is California’s income tax higher than New York’s?

Yes, California’s income tax is higher than New York’s. California’s top marginal income tax rate of 12.3% is the country’s highest state income tax rate, while New York’s taxes top out at 10.9%.

Is it cheaper to live in SF or NY?

It depends on your lifestyle and budget. On average, the cost of living in San Francisco is much higher than in New York City due to its high monthly rent prices. Taxes are also typically lower in NYC than they are in San Francisco.

How much is NYC tax on income?

Income tax in New York City depends on your income bracket. For example, those with an annual income of $1 million or less, the most you’ll pay is 6.85%. Those with an income of up to $8,500 pay no state income tax.

San Francisco vs. New York size

New York City is much larger than San Francisco. New York City covers a total area of 302 square miles, while San Francisco covers an area of only 47 square miles. 

San Francisco vs. New York cost of living

The cost of living in San Francisco is much higher than in New York City.

New York vs. San Francisco population

New York City has a metro population of more than 18 million people, whereas San Francisco has a population of only around 4.5 million.

Looking for an office in the city? Corporate Suites offers furnished offices spaces, virtual offices & conference rooms in several prestigious locations across New York City.