New York singles who live alone pay a hefty “singles tax” — $14,370 more per year for the median-priced studio or 1-bedroom apartment citywide. In Manhattan, that singles tax rises to $16,500, while it’s $13,170 in Brooklyn and $11,100 in Queens.
The singles tax arises in part because single New Yorkers who can afford it often dwell in the city’s priciest areas — central neighborhoods with the most studio and 1-bedroom apartments. A Valentine’s Day analysis of StreetEasy and census data shows, however, that single native New Yorkers often dwell in much different neighborhoods than singles from out of state.
Pricey Neighborhoods Have the Most 1BRs and Studios
Singles living alone have the best chances of finding a studio or 1-bedroom apartment in Midtown, the Financial District, and Downtown Brooklyn, the neighborhoods most central to New York City’s major business districts.
These are also among the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. Midtown South ranks as the neighborhood with the highest share of studio and 1-bedroom inventory, at 76 percent, with a median rent of $3,550.
|Neighborhood||Median Asking Rent||Share of 1BRs & Studios|
|Long Island City||$2,795||69%|
Mobile New Yorkers Can Afford to Pay the Singles Tax
While singles across the city pay a tax for their solo occupancy, the size of that tax varies widely for native New Yorkers and NYC transplants, as does income. According to the 2017 census, the median income for all New York transplants born out of state is $51,273, more than 60 percent higher than $31,808, the median income of New Yorkers who were born in-state.
StreetEasy’s latest survey of New Yorkers also found that residents who moved in the past 12 months have more education, are more likely to be employed, and earn twice the median income of New Yorkers who have not moved.
Where the Most Single New Yorkers Live
The neighborhoods with the highest share of unmarried New Yorkers born out of state are all in Manhattan, and have some of the highest rents in the city. Singles born out of state earn more, and often live in areas of Midtown and Lower Manhattan where the share of studios and 1-bedroom apartments is nearly double that of the outer boroughs.
West Village, Flatiron and East Village Rentals Under $3,500 Article continues below
|Neighborhood||Share of Single Men||Median Rent for Studios and 1BRs||Share of Studios and 1BRs|
|Neighborhood||Share of Single Women||Median Rent for Studios and 1BRs||Share of Studios and 1BRs|
Lower Manhattan neighborhoods such as the West Village, Flatiron, and East Village — as well as Midtown West and Morningside Heights — rank among the top 10 neighborhoods for out-of-state singles. Among these, the East Village has the lowest median rent for a studio or 1-bedroom, at $2,500, while the Flatiron has the highest, at $4,000.
In contrast, the top 10 neighborhoods with the highest share of unmarried New York-born residents are spread across the five boroughs, and have much lower median incomes and rents. These are areas such as Stapleton and Clifton in Staten Island; East Harlem in Manhattan; and Mott Haven and Morrisania in the Bronx. The median rent for studios and 1-bedrooms does not exceed $2,000 in any of these neighborhoods, ranging from $1,500 in Morrisania to $1,900 in East Harlem.
Yet while singles everywhere do pay a premium to live alone, we should note that a StreetEasy analysis last year found that rents have increased the most over the last decade in the NYC neighborhoods with a significant proportion of families with children.
Areas With Most Single Men and Women Don’t Overlap
For New Yorkers looking to meet someone this Valentine’s Day, we looked at the top five neighborhoods with the highest share of single men and single women. Many of these areas are adjacent — but they don’t overlap.
For example, Midtown West has a higher share of unmarried men, while Midtown South has a higher share of unmarried women. Similarly, unmarried men are more prevalent in the East VIllage, while unmarried women make up more of the population one neighborhood over, in Stuyvesant Town.
Of course, all of these neighborhoods have among the highest share of unmarried people across NYC, regardless of gender. If you currently live in one of these neighborhoods and are looking for someone special, there’s a high likelihood that they are in your neighborhood or just one neighborhood over.
Downtown Brooklyn Rentals Under $3,500 Article continues below
How We Did It
We estimated neighborhood demographics and income using the 2013-2017 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey tract-level data. The census provides data on the number of never-married New York City residents 15 years and older born in New York State versus born in a different state in the United States. Data on median rent and inventory comes from StreetEasy’s rental listings for the full year of 2018.
To calculate the singles tax, we multiplied median rents by 12 months to calculate the annual amount that one person would pay in a given area, and divided that number in half to find the singles tax, which is the additional amount singles pay when they do not split that rent with a partner.
Hey, why not like StreetEasy on Facebook and follow @streeteasy on Instagram?