Whether you’re looking for bustling city life or a quieter suburban atmosphere, Staten Island offers the best of both worlds – a choice that you can’t beat. You’ll be close to all that New York City has to offer but with more breathing room. You’ll love the convenient access to great public schools, universities, parks, and suburban towns brimming with shopping and entertainment.
Nicknamed the “Borough of Parks,” you’ll enjoy plenty of fresh air and room to stretch your legs in one of Staten Island’s 170 parks. Plus, you’ll just be a Staten Island Ferry ride away from Lower Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. Staten Island is home to some of the best ethnic food and unique attractions that stem from multi-cultural roots. Enjoy adventurous German and Sri Lankan fare and iconic pizza. Explore historic Richmond Town and take in the sights of Fort Wadsworth.
When you move to Staten Island, you’ll be part of a community that remembers the past and embraces the future. Click “Find Staten Island Movers” to request your free moving quotes now, or check out the ranked list of the top-rated moving companies in Staten Island.
Living in Staten Island, NY: What to Know Before Moving to Staten Island
Life in Staten Island is the ultimate suburban/city mashup. Although the least populated of all the boroughs, its nearly 500,000 residents fill Staten Island with exciting cuisine and entertainment. The excellent schools and affordable housing make this a surprisingly great place to live, work, and raise a family – earning the nickname “The Unexpected Borough.”
Pros and Cons of Living in Staten Island
As with any move, understanding the pros and cons of living in Staten Island can help you make the most of your new home.
- Cost of living: The housing prices in Staten Island are significantly lower than the other boroughs, especially Brooklyn or Manhattan.
- Raising a family: Staten Island is calmer than other boroughs and has great schools, making it a great place to raise children.
- Excellent cuisine: We’ll let you argue among yourselves which borough has the best pizza, but Staten Island has world-renowned cuisine, including Italian, German, and Eastern European.
- A lot to do: With a well-known zoo, dozens of parks, and great shopping malls, there’s always something to do.
- The commute: Especially for those who work in Manhattan, commuting from Staten Island can be tough. Pro tip: the Staten Island Ferry is a great alternative to driving – and it’s free!
- No subway access: Although there is a railway, Staten Island doesn’t connect to the NYC subway system.
- Less hustle and bustle: Staten Island has a much more relaxed vibe than other boroughs.
- No late-night scene: Younger people looking for a late-night party scene won’t find it here.
- Property Tax. The average property tax rate is 0.908% for homes in Richmond County. On a home with a median list price of $579,000, the annual property tax would be $5,257.
- Sales Tax. You’ll pay 8.9% sales tax on Staten Island. The New York state sales tax is 4% and the city tax is 4.9%, totaling 8.9% — slightly higher than the national average of 7.3%.
- State Income Tax. Staten Island residents pay an average of 6.5% in income tax.
To rent or to buy? That’s always the question when moving. In Staten Island, most people choose to buy. Only 29% of residents rent, paying an average monthly rent of $2,139 for a one-bedroom.
Those who choose to buy a house enjoy New York City’s most affordable prices. As of November 2019, the median list price of a house is $579,000. Home values have decreased by 1.2% in the past year, and projections expect them to go down another 1.7% in 2020.
If you’re looking for the most affordable neighborhoods, consider Great Kills and St. George, as they have more affordable cost to income ratios.
Cost of Living
Staten Island has a lower cost of living than most New York City boroughs, but items like transportation and higher taxes can make the cost of living in Staten Island much higher than other states.
Bestplaces.net uses an average US cost of living index of 100 to compare living costs throughout the country. The Staten Island living index is 163.6. Although all cost of living factors are higher than the national average, housing at 224 and transportation at 183 are the highest costs.
For a family of four with two adults and two children, the monthly cost of living is about $10,490 – so a combined annual income of $126,000 will cover living expenses. While the average household income is $76,244, it’s still significantly more affordable than Manhattan, which has a cost of living index of 258.3.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Staten Island has New York’s temperate climate and experiences all four seasons and a variety of weather, from humid hot summers to snowy winters. The coldest months are January and February when you’re likely to see temperatures range from lows of 26 to highs of 42 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest months are July and August when temperatures climb to highs of about 85 and lows of 70.
Since the climate is temperate, you’ll see a mix of precipitation types with an annual total of 46 inches of rain, and 28 inches of snow. Staten Island receives significantly less snowfall than upstate New York.
While rare, the Staten Island area can experience hurricanes – the worst being Hurricane Sandy in 2012. But with some simple preparation plans such as keeping supplies on hand, registering for emergency alerts, and creating action plans, Staten Island residents can make it through these rare natural disaster threats safely.
Economy & Job Market
As of 2018, Staten Island was home to more than 9,300 employer establishments that employed over 105,000 people. The recent retail, real estate, and entertainment investments in Staten Island have caused the unemployment rate to drop to 4.6%. Experts expect the job market to increase by 32% over the next ten years – residents can expect to see around 140,000 jobs in the area by 2030.
Staten Island is a hub for construction, finance/insurance, healthcare, education, and retail trade industries. As local business places increased emphasis on tourism in Staten Island, hospitality and professional services jobs are also set to increase.
If you are seeking employment in Staten Island, you should check for openings at the borough’s major employers: Staten Island University Hospital, the NYC Department of Education, The Staten Island Mall, RTR Financial Services – and so much more. A great resource for job seekers is Staten Island Live, which helps connect people to jobs specifically in the Staten Island area.
Traffic & Transportation
While traffic can be a concern in an NYC borough like Staten Island, the plentiful public transportation options make getting around much easier.
A lot of car traffic enters and exits Staten Island throughout the day, especially from 6-9 am and 4-7 pm. This congestion can make navigating the Verrazano-Narrows, Bayonne, Goethals, and Outerbridge Crossing Bridges a time-consuming process. The major north-south highway, NY 440, and the east-west Interstate 278 can become backed-up during rush hours and holiday weekends.
The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to driving. The Staten Island Ferry, completely free and running all day every day of the week, is the best choice for traveling to and from Staten Island. Also, the Staten Island Rail and several bus lines run through the major communities on Staten Island.
Staten Island has also recently implemented bike share programs like Lime Bike and JUMP bikes that are available along the North Shore, including near the Staten Island Ferry.
Walkscore.com ranks cities 1-100 based on their walkability, availability of public transport, and inclusion of bike infrastructure. Staten Island gets higher than average scores for all three: 77 for walking, 65 for public transit, and 54 for bike-ability.
What to Do
Staten Island provides the perfect mix of city excitement, rich culture, and outdoor adventure. You’ll find plenty of room to stretch your legs and get active, with urban neighborhoods full of entertainment and dining options. Staten Island truly has something for everyone – people of all ages and with all interests will find something to enjoy.
Calling all animal lovers! The Staten Island Zoo brings the wild right to NYC. Educational programs, volunteer opportunities, and interactive exhibits are open all year round.
If you prefer a little less wildlife but still enjoy outdoor experiences, Staten Island is home to 170 parks. Whether you’re looking for a hiking trail, somewhere to take your four-legged friend or a playground for your kids, there’s a park for everyone. Some of our favorites are Blue Heron Park, Silver Lake Park, The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, the Greenbelt, and Freshkills Park.
For even more exploration, be sure to check out the museums and historic sites. Go back in time at the Alice Austen House to relive the 17th century, or explore Fort Wadsworth and learn its role in the US Revolutionary War. You can enjoy the beautiful gardens and cultural history at the Snug Harbor Cultural Museum, or learn about maritime sentinels at the National Lighthouse Museum. If you’re bringing the family, be sure to check out the wonderful activities at the Staten Island Children’s Museum.
After a day of learning, be sure to have some fun! Sports fans can enjoy a great baseball game at the Staten Island Yankee’s stadium to support the Staten Island Yankees, the affiliate league of the New York Yankees.
And don’t forget one of the best things to do in Staten Island – eat! Known worldwide for its excellent cuisines, this is the place for both foodies and those just looking to enjoy a great meal. While nothing beats a fresh slice of Staten Island pizza, you’ll find restaurants with German, South American, Asian, and Middle Eastern Influence. You can expand your palate or stick with what you know – either way, your taste buds will thank you for dining in Staten Island.
Schools and Universities
Staten Island is a great place to start, continue, and complete your education, no matter the level.
New York City District #31 serves Staten Island with almost 60 schools, educating students from pre-k to grade 12. Staten Island is home to some of the best public schools in New York City, with many schools exceeding averages. PS 5 Huguenot, PS 35 The Clove Valley School, and Staten Island Technical High School all are rated 10/10 by greatschools.org. Five additional schools are ranked 9/10, and ten are ranked 8/10.
Staten Island provides post-secondary education as well. College of Staten Island (CSI) is a City University of New York (CUNY) institution that offers a wide variety of graduate, undergraduate, and Division II athletic programs. Wagner College is also in Staten Island and is ranked 26th among regional schools. The Career School of New York offers certificate programs for careers like medical assisting, esthetics, cosmetology, and more.
It’s important to understand how safe you’ll be in your new Staten Island home. The Crime Index ranks areas from 1 (lowest crime rate) to 100 (highest crime rate). Staten Island has a violent crime index of 54 and a property crime index of 60, compared to the US averages of 23 and 35, respectively.
Most crime takes place along the North Shore, with the remainder of Staten Island seeing relatively low crime rates.
Setting up utilities is one of the first things that you should do before moving into your new home. Here are the primary utility providers for Staten Island to help you get started:
- Gas service. National Grid provides gas service to Staten Island. You can request an appointment before you move, or register online to begin service.
- Electric service. Con Edison is the primary electricity provider in the area. Register online to learn more about service to your neighborhood and to get started.
- Trash pick-up/recycling service. The New York City Department of Sanitation manages trash and recycling services. Their website has information about collection times and specialty instructions.
- Internet/Cable service. Staten Island residents have a choice of Internet/cable providers, including Time Warner Cable, Verizon, DISH, and DIRECTV.
Best Neighborhoods in Staten Island, NY
If you’re in the process of deciding exactly where to settle down when making the move to Staten Island, check out our thoughts on the best neighborhoods. Each section provides key information to help you make this important decision.
Huguenot is one of Staten Island’s safest neighborhoods, which makes it an ideal place to raise a family. Housing options range from small townhouses to high-end homes on large properties.
Located on the southeast side of Staten Island, Huguenot is dissected by the Korean War Veteran’s Parkway and Richmond Parkway, making access to surrounding areas easy: Annadale to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and Woodrow to the north. There are also plentiful bus lines and a railroad stop, so public transportation is convenient.
Arbutus Lake in Huguenot Park and Bunkers Pond Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife, are located at the heart of the neighborhood. In addition to nature, residents can enjoy several ethnic-inspired restaurants and many public and private school options.
- Population – 15,971
- Home Price – Median home value over $680,000; $491,000 for townhouses
- Rent Prices – $1,000-$2,400 for one-bedroom or more
- Employers – Various construction companies, NYC Department of Education
- Schools – PS 5, PS 36, PS 3, IS 7, IS 75, Tottenville High School, Our Lady Star of the Sea, The St. Joseph/St. Thomas School.
Why Huguenot? Its wide range of housing options.
Great Kills has an urban/suburban mixed vibe, ideal for working professionals and families. The low crime rate and excellent schools convince 80% of residents to purchase homes here.
Great Kills is a South Shore neighborhood bordered by Richmondtown to the north, Bay Terrace to the east, Eltingville to the west, and Great Kills Harbor to the south – easily accessible by Route 440.
Here you can find a great mix of restaurants, shops, and parks. Locals talk highly of the Italian cuisine – they’re likely to recommend Patrizia’s of Staten Island for its food and lively atmosphere.
As its namesake implies, many creeks and rivers run through Great Kills Park and Gateway National Recreation Area. The shorefront areas were extensively rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy, leaving them more beautiful than ever before.
- Population – 68,000
- Home Price – Median home value $552,000
- Rent Prices – $1,185 median rent
- Employers – Staten Island University Hospital, NYC Department of Education
- Schools – Stuyvesant High School, Staten Island Technical High School, Townsend Harris High School
Why Great Kills? Its unparalleled schools.
At the northernmost tip of Staten Island, you’ll find the borough’s most densely populated neighborhood, St. George. It’s home to the Staten Island Ferry, The Staten Island Railway, and the administrative center for Staten Island.
While none of the major throughways pass through St. George, the plentiful public transportation options make navigation a breeze. You can easily access the surrounding neighborhoods of Tompkinsville to the south or New Brighton to the west.
The residential Fort Hill area is home to many Manhattan commuters and features Victorian-style Tudors and homes inspired by European mansions. You’ll also find a mix of townhouses and multi-unit rental buildings throughout the neighborhood, as there’s a fairly even split between renters and owners.
Urban and diverse, St. George has ties to history and culture. Residents can enjoy ethnically-inspired cuisines, shows at the St. George Theater, and see the Staten Island Yankees who have been playing here since 1999.
- Population – 8,662
- Home Price – Median home value $486,500
- Rent Prices – Median rent $1,045
- Employers – New York Public Library, Staten Island Ferry, Staten Island Railway
- Schools – Public Schools 16, 31, 74, Curtis High School, Ralph R McKee Career and Technical Education High School
Why St. George? It embraces the future but remembers its history.
New Dorp sits on the East Shore of Staten Island, surrounded by two great neighborhoods: Oakwood to the southwest and Todt Hill to the northwest. The success of the area has allowed New Dorp to become one of Staten Island’s commercial and transportation hubs.
This urban neighborhood is very family-friendly. About 75% of residents own their homes which average two to three-bedrooms. There are great schools here as well, with multiple 10 and 9 ratings on greatschools.org.
Most residents find themselves spending a lot of time on Hylan Boulevard and New Dorp Lane, frequenting one of the 200 businesses in the New Dorp Lane District. The area has five major shopping centers, including Hylan Plaza and New Dorp Plaza, anchored by department stores and supermarkets but peppered with restaurants and cafes.
- Population – 28,225
- Home Price – Median home value $638,395
- Rent Prices – Median rent $1,190
- Employers – Various construction companies, NYC Department of Education, New York Public Library, New Dorp Lane District
- Schools – PS 41, New Dorp High School, Staten Island Technical High School
Why New Dorp? Its bustling commercial life.
Todt Hill is Staten Island’s most exclusive and well-established neighborhood. Its 401-foot elevation and status as New York City’s highest natural point are symbolic of its status as Staten Island’s most affluent area.
Owning a home on Todt Hill is enviable – but for the 17,000+ largely white-collar professionals who do live there, it’s the suburban dream. A fair amount of single-family rentals are available on Todt Hill for those looking to enjoy the area with a lower price tag.
The spacious suburb is home to the elite Staten Island Academy and various children’s organizations. As part of the Staten Island Greenbelt, there are also many park-sponsored programs and environmental conservation efforts.
Navigating the surrounding towns, like New Dorp to the South or Dongan Hills to the east, can be difficult for those without a car. Although there is access to the Staten Island Parkway, there are no major public transportation options here. But residents find they have everything they need, and much more, right here on Todt Hill.
- Population – 17,449
- Home Price – Median home value $1,197,998
- Rent Prices – $2,200
- Employers – Todt Hill Pharmacy Inc., New York City Department of Education
- Schools – Staten Island Academy, Stuyvesant High School, Townsend Harris High School, Staten Island Technical High School
Why Todt Hill? Its open spaces and affluence.
Those looking for an older, established neighborhood will find themselves at home in the industrial and residential harbor-front town of New Brighton. Spanning from the northern shoreline to Brighton Avenue, New Brighton covers a small part of the North Shore, with St. George to the east, Tompkinsville to the south, and West New Brighton to the west – so leaving and entering New Brighton is easy.
New Brighton’s industrial roots have been increasingly developed since the early 1900s. It’s now home to several three to four-bedroom houses and condos and one to two-bedroom apartments, with most residents planting roots and owning their home. Residential areas are known for well-kept properties and substantial structures.
A smaller neighborhood, families don’t have as many choices for schools and activities within the neighborhood’s borders. But the area’s public schools are reputable and serve the families well. The small neighborhood is also home to one of Staten Island’s crown jewels – Sailor’s Snug Harbor. Originally a home built for retired sailors, it is now a historical landmark with botanical gardens, museums, theaters, and more, where residents spend much of their time.
- Population – 5,795
- Home Price – Median home value $440,042
- Rent Prices – Median rent $788
- Employers – Snug Harbor, New York City Department of Education, Staten Island University Hospital
- Schools – PS 31, 373, IS 61
Why New Brighton? Its rich ties to history and picturesque waterfronts.
Arden Heights is one of Staten Island’s newer neighborhoods, with most development starting in the 1960s. Although it’s not waterfront, now it’s an up and coming dense suburban neighborhood in what is still considered the South Shore of Staten Island.
Arden Heights is easy to navigate – it’s intersected by the Korean War Veteran’s Parkway and bordered by Arden Avenue, West Shore Expressway, and Richmond Avenue. This ease of navigation makes accessing neighboring towns – Annadale to the east, Huguenot to the south, Arthur Kill to the West, and Fresh Kills to the north – easy by car. Also, an express bus to Manhattan provides ideal transportation for working professionals.
The center of Arden Heights is Village Greens, New York City’s first planned urban development. It opened in 1970 and features clustered townhomes with a shopping center, restaurants, schools, and a 16-acre common park, which boasts two Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Arden Heights is a family-oriented neighborhood with top-rated schools that are on par with the rest of Staten Island. There are some rentals available, but the suburban feel lends itself to the majority of people owning 3-4 bedroom homes and condos. Most homes in the area are well-kept, and you’ll often see children playing outside and utilizing the sidewalks throughout the neighborhood.
- Population – 24,635
- Home Price – Median home value $478,702
- Rent Prices – $1,300-$2,300
- Employers – Staten Island Kitchen Cabinets Manufacturing, New York City Department of Education
- Schools – IS 75, PS 42
Why Arden Heights? This suburb has everything you need.
Thanks to a big boost in development in the 80s and 90s after the Staten Island Mall opened, New Springville transformed from rural origins to a diverse urban/suburban mix that’s home to many corporate professionals and families.
Although now urban, there are still ties to nature in New Springville. Much of the neighborhood consists of woodland and parks, with Latourette Park to the east, Willowbrook Park to the north, and William T Davis Wildlife Refuge and Freshkills Park to the west. Residents spend much of their time exploring the parks and taking advantage of all they have to offer.
The suburban atmosphere, proximity to CUNY College of Staten Island, and transportation options (it’s a major transportation hub with six bus routes including one to Brooklyn) have convinced residents to plant their stakes. You can find most families living in three-bedroom homes and condos, although two to three-bedroom apartments are plentiful too.
When not exploring the parks, you’ll find residents shopping at Staten Island Mall or grabbing a bite at Tommy’s Tavern + Tap. New Springville offers the best of both worlds.
- Population – 10,820
- Home Price – Median home value $592,236
- Rent Prices – $1,400-$2,300
- Employers – New York City Department of Education, Staten Island Mall, CUNY College of Staten Island
- Schools – PS 58, 69, IS 72, The Marsh Avenue School for Expeditionary Learning, Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School, Staten Island High School for International Studies
Why New Springville? It’s a family-friendly neighborhood with many parks to explore.
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