What's it like to live in Albany, NY?


Katrina Woznicki

Profile written by local expert:

Katrina Woznicki

Located about 150 miles north of New York City on the west bank of the Hudson River, Albany serves as the capital of New York state and a midway point between the Hudson Valley to the south and the Adirondack Mountains to the north. Locally, Albany is known as the Tri-City Area. The region includes the smaller metro areas of Troy and Schenectady, which are historically more industrial.

Albany can be a transient region, with the working population shifting every time a new governor takes office. Yet throughout years of administrative changes, Albany has maintained a lively downtown that serves as both a commercial and cultural center. The region doesn't have the crowds or costs of a major metro area, and Albany has an old-world appeal to it. There are rows of colorfully painted, turn-of-the-century brownstones, the historic state capitol building and the iconic Empire State Plaza.

With New York state's Finger Lakes wine region to the west and Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains to the east, the region is a springboard for foodies and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Albany, New York is ranked:

#28 in Best Places to Live

#61 in Best Places to Retire

6.9

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    6.4
  • Value
    7.1
  • Job Market
    7.0
  • Quality of Life
    7.2
  • Net Migration
    5.9

Read how we rank places

Albany, NY Quick Stats

  • 881,862

    Metro Population

  • $52,770

    Average Annual Salary

  • 57.8° / 38.6°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 40.0

    Median Age

  • $201,533

    Median Home Price

  • 39.4 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.9%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $956

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 23.1 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Albany, NY?

The home ownership rate in Albany is just under 40 percent, with Albany homes selling for less than the national median sale price. The average income in Albany is also higher than the national average salary.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.1 /10

How we calculate this.


Albany offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2018


Albany
$201,533

USA
$227,025

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Albany, NY.

What's the weather like in Albany, NY?

Albany has four very distinct seasons, with an agricultural growing season that typically begins in May and can end with frost as early as late September. Albany averages about 60 inches of snowfall per year.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

25.7°F


Winter

47.0°F


Spring

69.7°F


Summer

50.4°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.9 in


Winter

3.6 in


Spring

4.1 in


Summer

3.7 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Albany, NY?

Most people in Albany rely on their own cars to get around, and although traffic tends to pick up around peak commuting hours, getting around doesn't usually take too long. The average commute time is 23 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Capital District Transportation Authority provides residents with rail, bus and shuttle services, including the Rensselaer Rail. There's also the Northway Xpress Commuter Service, an express bus line that runs between neighboring Saratoga County to the north and downtown Albany.

Downtown Albany is easily walkable, and bicycling is gaining some ground in certain neighborhoods. The Albany Bicycle Coalition advocates for improved road conditions for cyclists and to educate communities about the health and environmental benefits of biking.

The Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station offers rail service, with daily trains to New York City as well as train service to other metro areas across upstate New York. The closest option for air travel is Albany International Airport, which serves the Capital Region, northeastern New York state and western New England.

Commuting in Albany, NY

Means of Transportation
Driving
88%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
3%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
4%
Equal to national average
Average Commute Time

23.1 minutes

3.3 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Albany, NY?

The median age of an Albany resident is about 40 years old. This shows that Albany’s population is aging, which poses a problem for area business growth. Though the area’s population is growing slowly, younger residents are flocking to larger metro areas in search of jobs. By 2020, studies predict that a significant portion of the population will be in the 55 to 64 age range, and thinking about retirement.

Albany is home to numerous tight-knit, family-oriented communities. The Tri-City Area has a significant Catholic population, with nearly 30 percent of the population claiming affiliation. A little less than 45 percent of the population identifies as religious.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Albany as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Albany, NY?

At the heart of downtown is Lark Street, lined with small businesses, churches, galleries and wine shops featuring New York state vintages. Albany hosts First Fridays, a monthly event celebrating arts and culture where galleries, including those on Lark Street, open their doors to visitors for free and area businesses offer discounts.

Despite the heavy snowfall, residents don't hibernate in the winter. Hockey is very popular in Albany, and it's common to see ice skaters twirling around the Empire Skate Plaza at the base of the iconic Egg. This uniquely shaped facility was built in the 1970s and is the region's arts venue where you can enjoy ballet, theater and other performances.