Pros And Cons Of Living In York, PA

The city of York, Pennsylvania is also known as the White Rose City. This moniker comes from being named after the house of York in England.

The city was laid out by surveyors in 1741 and was the first city of European origin west of the Susquehanna.

pennsylvania map

Key takeaways

Pros of Living in York

  • Lower than the national cost of living
  • Decent public transport
  • Lots of history to explore

Cons of living in York

  • Not much of a nightlife
  • More friendly to families than singles
  • Temperature extremes can be miserable
Traffic is backed up at the stop lights on main streets in York PA USA
Traffic is backed up at the stop lights on main streets in York PA USA

Employment Options


York has a strong manufacturing history and there are still manufacturing jobs to be found. Healthcare offers many lucrative job opportunities, as do working for the city, county, or state.

The state of Pennsylvania is also working hard to make life easier for those working to start their own business.

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and need to live somewhere with a lower-than-average cost of living, the city of York could provide you with safe, cheap rental options and easy access to major metropolitan areas, such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.


Other than manufacturing and healthcare, your options for making a good income start to fade away. Walmart and Giant are both some of the largest employers in the city.

That being said, the unemployment rate in York is lower than the national average.

men working at a manufacturing plant

Cost of Housing


Housing costs in the state of Pennsylvania are lower than the national average and York is lower than the state average. If you need a sizable rental home for your family, you can find more square feet per dollar here than in much of the country.

For those looking to buy, York can still offer some great deals.


As in many cities across the nation, housing costs in York are rising. Because there are more married folks than single people in the city, you may have an easier time finding a place if you’re looking for a studio, a junior studio, or a one-bedroom.

Larger homes don’t linger on the rental or the sale market.

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For buyers, historic homes can present challenges. Before you sign anything, pay special attention to

  • the age of the house
  • any covenants or HOAs
  • restrictions on upgrades

Buying a home in a historical district can allow you a lovely life in a charming home. It can also make it very tough to make changes to the house.

If you plan to buy small and renovate the space, make sure you will be able to get the permits and permissions before you invest.

Courthouse in York, PA
Courthouse in York, PA

Access to Education


For families with growing children, the city of York offers a lot of options. There are several excellent public high schools in the region.

You’re also not far from Maryland if you have a student interested in attending college in Baltimore; they can easily get home for holidays and special events.


There are 4-year colleges in York and a private business institute. If you feel that your college student is not ready for a 4-year school, they will need to commute to Harrisburg.

Before sending them to another city, you would be wise to check into the 4-year school they hope to enter and make sure credits will transfer.

Cost of Living


York, Pennsylvania offers access to seasonal markets that will allow you to keep your food costs down. Long spring seasons and crisp fall days will also make it easy to keep your utility bills low for at least part of the year.

You can keep your house comfortable by leaving the windows open for all but the hottest summer days.


While the cost of housing may be lower than much of the state of Pennsylvania, the cost of living, such as

  • utilities
  • fuel
  • groceries

is a bit higher than the rest of the state. If you are considering buying a home in Pennsylvania, it may make sense to invest in something that may contribute to your income, such as a duplex, to cover these higher costs.

Sweltering mid-summer days and bitterly cold late winter nights mean that you will likely need central heat and air for your home; window AC units will not keep up.

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These maintenance costs will add to your housing costs overall.

cost of living chart



If you love the great outdoors, York is an ideal spot whether you’re single or part of a family. York offers many parks, terrific hiking, and lots of walking trails.

Singles with a dog may find that this city is an ideal spot to settle down.

There’s also a great deal of history in York. If the expansion of European settlements across the country is a field of study you enjoy, the establishment of the city of York is worth some study.


It should be noted that York is not known for its hopping nightlife. If you are keen on the bar scene, you may struggle to find a place to fit in within the city of York.

Many of the museums, parks, and historical sites offer a family-friendly feel.

That being said, there is a growing population of singles living in the downtown or business district of the city and the nightlife options are expanding.

As a single, you may be able to get in on a terrific apartment before the real rush hits.

smile you're in Pennsylvania sign



Spring and fall in York can be quite lovely; fall includes the bonus of harvest festivals and “pick your own” events that the whole family can enjoy.

If you enjoy gardening or are itching to try your hand at a few veggies, the climate in York may suit you well.


Summer can be scorching in York and the humidity can be dreadful. If you struggle with asthma or any breathing issue, it’s a good idea to visit the city in July or August to make sure that your lungs can manage the temperature and the pollen.

Winters often get very sloppy before getting cold. If you’re longing for a Christmas card snowfall, be aware that you may not get it until February.

The end of December could be dampened by cold rain or a lot of slush.

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