The Cost to Live


Charles Rabus, Editor

New York City has always been one of the most expensive places in the world. Recently, that statistic has been increasingly accurate. Living in New York is more expensive than ever. The cost of living in NYC is 80% higher than the national average. The average price for an individual is around $6,200 a month, while it’s closer to $8,850 for families. Making it the second most expensive city in the world, only behind the Cayman Islands.

The problem stems from a much larger issue. The average cost of living in the United States in 2023 is $38,266 annually. That’s almost 23% higher than the nation’s median income—meaning most Americans cannot afford to live. Over the years, this gap between the cost of living and average income has caused the total personal debt in the United States to accumulate to a staggering near $25 Trillion, or around $75,000 per person, and rising.

But why is the cost of living so high in the U.S.? The U.S. has the largest economy in the world and a higher Nominal GDP than second and third place combined (China and Japan, respectively). For those unsure what GDP means, GDP or Gross Domestic Product is the total monetary value of all goods and services within a country’s borders. A high GDP is a good thing, and a growing GDP usually suggests that workers are getting raises, jobs are being created, and taxes are being paid.

While the U.S. may have the highest GDP in the world, we also have the highest national debt in the world, and at the time of writing, we are just weeks away from defaulting. The top 1% of households hold 60% of the country’s wealth, while the bottom 50% only hold 2.6%. The U.S. government regulations for minimum wage do not allow for a livable salary. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25, while the estimated livable wage is $17.46—more than $10 more than the minimum—this leads almost 13% of the U.S. population to live in poverty and 77% of U.S. households to hold some form of debt.

Major changes need to be made to the U.S. labor and working laws. The U.S. working class should be able to comfortably live without going into debt for the rest of their lives.