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New York City, NY
MSA: New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
Best places ranking: #9 among large metro areas
Population: 19,006,798
The sprawling New York metropolitan area is anything but homogeneous. Millions of people need all kinds of jobs and services, providing significant opportunities for startups. Business owners can shop around for services, like telecommunications, that would be monopolies in smaller regions.

Multiple state and local governments wrap the region in red tape. New York City, the only city in the U.S. that encompasses five separate counties, is notorious for rigid regulations, Byzantine tax laws, and vast bureaucracy. Fortunately, the public advocate's office helps to translate between owner-speak and city-speak, and neighborhood business improvement districts let storefront business owners negotiate with the city en masse.

Rents, service fees, and wages are high, so NYC entrepreneurs on a budget look toward the edges of the five boroughs, where prices drop. New Yorkers often bargain-hunt, but they're willing to pay top dollar for high quality goods and services, which keeps the money coming in even when times are hard.

The number-one reason people launch in New York, of course, is that it's New York. The city has been a symbol for entrepreneurial opportunity for hundreds of years. Natives and transplants alike fall in love with New York and New Yorkers, and soon they can't imagine themselves or their businesses anywhere else. -Rose Fox

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in New York City, NY


Local smallbiz lenders

  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Innovative Bank
  • HSBC Bank Usa
  • BNB Financial Services Corpora
  • Manufacturers And Traders Trust Company
See all local lenders

New York City Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
516,827 78,289
Small business growth rate
1.4% 5.3%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
49 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
41.6% 32.7%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
414.3 537.6
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
1,833.8 3,700.0
Population growth
1.8% 6.38%
Per-capita income
$52,855 $41,342
Per-capita income growth
31.1% 25.0%
GDP (in millions)
$1,123,532 $164,601
GDP growth
25% 32%
Average hourly wage
$25.39 $21.03
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
211 113
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$1,424 $981
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
3.0% 1.8%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
2.6% 1.9%
HPI deviation from long-term average
14.8% 0.0%

All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see "How we picked the Best Places."

From the November 2009 issue
"The public advocate's office was really helpful when we were having trouble with the city -- they completely turned it around and made everything happen." -Jason Minter
Best Places Winners
What do you think of New York City?
Find your launch spot
Do you prefer a place that is: Small Medium Large
The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

ireportTell us why: Low taxes? Talented workers? An active small business community? Send us your photos and videos, and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of reader-picked Best Places to Launch. More
This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

Comments? E-mail the editors
Data partners

This package was produced in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Foreclosure data provided by RealtyTrac.

Housing price-to-income data provided by Moody's