December 8, 2011, 1:07 PM ET.Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens Tops in Cost of Living.Search Metropolis1 .Article Comments Metropolis HOME
By Aaron Rutkoff
Manhattan and Brooklyn remain the areas with the country’s highest cost of living, and Queens ranks fifth, as Greater New York continues to top the Council for Community and Economic Research’s quarterly index.
In other changes that occurred earlier in the year, Long Island’s Suffolk County dropped out of the top 10 areas with the highest cost of living while Stamford, Conn., surged to seventh place.
New York’s two highest-cost boroughs edged up relative to the national average in the council’s ACCRA Cost of Living Index for the third quarter. The cost of living in Manhattan is now 124% higher than the national average, up from 108% a year ago; life in Brooklyn is 86% more expensive than average, compared to 81% last year.
Queens, by contrast, appears to be slightly less costly than it was a year ago: the borough is now 54% above the national average, down from 59% a year ago.
Brooklyn has ranked second to Manhattan’s perennial most-expensive living standard since 2009, when the council first began tracking separate statistics for the borough. “That when we found a Brooklyn volunteer,” said Dean Frutiger, project manager of the cost-of-living index. “We rely on volunteers to do data collection for us.”
To create the index, volunteers are dispatched to collect prices on some 60 items — from groceries to mortgage rates — on a specific day each quarter. That data is the analyzed to compare living expenses in more than 300 areas across the country.
While the ACCRA Cost of Living Index is a widely used metric, it is not without critics. Earlier this year the Journal looked at the work of two Columbia University economists who found, contrary to the index, food in New York City is actually cheaper than in other parts of the country: