People need six figures to be middle class in New York

They say New York is the city that never sleeps, but that's because no one can afford to.

People who live outside the five boroughs are probably aware that New York is expensive. What would probably shock them along with some residents of the "town so nice they named it twice" is just how much cheaper it is to live elsewhere.

According to the New York Daily News, someone making $123,322 a year in New York would have the same standard as someone making $50,000 a year in Houston. A $60,000 Manhattan salary equals $26,092 in Atlanta. New York rents average $2,801, 53% higher than the second-highest market San Francisco, the paper said.

New Yorkers also pay the most for phone service, home heating and childcare. The Daily News pegs those costs at $25,000 a year for one child depending on the neighborhood. Of course, some of the more selective daycare centers are tougher to get into than an Ivy League college.

Increasingly, people are moving farther and farther from the city because of its costs. New York commuters have discovered the Poconos in Pennsylvania. They are even traveling far south down the New Jersey Turnpike to the suburbs of Philadelphia where I live. Buses to New York are always full. I used to make that trip every day and it sucked.

So, my hat is off to you New Yorkers. Between the cramped apartments, crowded trains and the guys passing out newspapers on the subway, I don't know how you cope with the stresses of city living. I, for one, am glad to be hold up in my fortress of solitude in the suburbs.

For me, New York is a nice place to visit. If you are wealthy, it's a great place to live. It's a struggle for everyone else.

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