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Shanghai and New York might seem like completely different cities with nothing in common, but in actuality, these two cities share many features.

They also have several distinct differences that make each city unique and fascinating.

This article explores many of the similarities and differences between Shanghai and New York including the following:

  • World location
  • Size
  • Population
  • Real estate
  • Cost of living
  • Income
  • Languages
  • Weather
  • Food
  • Education
  • Sports
  • Transportation
Shanghai vs New York

World Location

New York is located on the eastern seaboard of the United States. It is made up of five boroughs, called Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

The city is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and parts of the city are located across three islands. The East River, Harlem River, and Bronx River split different boroughs of New York from each other, and the city sits at the Hudson River mouth.

Shanghai, which is in China, is also located on the coast, but it sits along the East China Sea. Shanghai is split into old and new sections.

The older section, called the Bund, is filled with colonial-era buildings and is often considered to be the heart of the city.

The newer section, called the Pudong District, is located across the Huangpu River, and it’s filled with modern buildings that are almost futuristic in appearance.

Shanghai vs new york map


New York is technically 468.484 square miles in size, but only 302.643 square miles are located on land. The rest of the territory is water that’s considered to be part of New York.

Shanghai, on the other hand, covers 2,448 square miles of land and about 269 square miles of water.

shanghai city


As of 2021, the population of Shanghai was about 24,890,116 people. The population of New York was about 8,804,190 people in 2020.

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population shanghai vs new york

Real Estate

The cost of real estate in New York depends on which borough the home is located in and what the location is like.

Prices throughout the city average about $800 per square foot, with the price jumping to around $1,300 per square foot in areas like Manhattan.

Much like in New York, the average cost of real estate in Shanghai depends on where that particular home or apartment is located.

On average, residents can expect to spend about $950 per square foot on housing. The Huangpu area is the most expensive location, with prices reaching closer to $1,820 per square foot.

real estate cost shanghai vs new york

Cost of Living

Often considered to be one of the most expensive places to live in the United States, the average cost of living in New York is about $1,370 per month for a single person.

This may not seem outrageous, but this number only includes things such as groceries and utilities, and not rent or mortgage payments.

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Although the cost of real estate or renting a property in Shanghai is higher than that of New York, the overall cost of living, excluding rent or mortgage payments, is almost half.

A single person can usually expect to spend about $740 a month on living expenses.

new york city
New York


In New York, the average person makes about $1,270 per week or around $66,000 per year.

In Shanghai, the average weekly salary is about $425. This makes for an average yearly income of about $20,400. The minimum wage is equal to about $93.50 a week.

shanghai china vs new york infographic


Shanghainese is the most commonly spoken language in Shanghai. The language is considered to be a dialect of Wu Chinese.

Other languages, including Mandarin Chinese and English, are also common in Shanghai.

New York City is made up of many different cultures and races, and people from all over the country and the world visit or move to the area.

This means that many languages are spoken throughout the city. The most common language is English, but other common languages include Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Italian, Cantonese, German, French, Hindi, Greek, and Punjabi.

chinese language on chalkboard


The weather in New York is, surprisingly to some, classified as subtropical instead of temperate. This means that winter temperatures generally stay above 27 degrees Fahrenheit.

Summers are warmer, with temperatures usually ranging between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The area sees, on average, between seven and eight days of snow or rain every month, but even most days without precipitation have a high humidity index.

Like New York, Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate. Winters can be quite cold, with temperatures frequently dropping below freezing.

Summers are warm, with temperatures between about 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The city sees more rain during the spring and summer months, with up to 10 days of rain in June.

During the fall and winter, there are usually only about four or five days of rain or snow each month.

new york city clear skies


New York is known for having some of the most amazing food choices from around the world. So many different ethnic cuisines are found in New York City.

Some popular foods found in New York include pizza, seafood, bagels, cheesecake, and New York style meats including pastrami, salami, and corned beef.

It is argued that Shanghai has the best cuisines in all of China. Some of the most popular dishes include seafood (crab and lobster), dumplings, chicken, pork, and duck.

Noodle dishes and rice are also popular.

chinese dumplings


New York City is home to one of the world’s biggest public school systems, which features over 1,700 schools that cater to over 1 million students.

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This school system, however, is mixed in its ratings, with some schools considered to be among the very best in the country and some considered to be amongst the worst.

The city is also recognized for its many colleges, including several very prestigious universities. Schools such as The Julliard School, the New York Institute of Technology, and Cornell Tech are known not only throughout the United States but around the world.

The school system in Shanghai is made up of more than 930 kindergartens, 850 middle schools, and 1,200 primary schools.

Many students continue on to higher education, and the city is home to some of the finest colleges and universities in the world, including Tongji University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Fudan University.

New York University also established a partnership with East China Normal University to establish NYU Shanghai in the city.

Tongji University
Tongji University


One of New York City’s biggest points of pride is its sports teams. The city is well-known for its professional football teams, called the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

The city also has two professional baseball teams, called the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Two basketball teams, the Brooklyn Nets, and the New York Knicks, also call the city home.

In addition, New York City is home to the New York Liberty, a women’s basketball team. The New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, and NJ/NY Gotham FC are the city’s soccer teams, and the Islanders and the Rangers are New York’s professional hockey teams.

Although sports are incredibly popular in China, Shanghai is still developing its professional sports teams.

However, residents and visitors to the city can still enjoy a game of table tennis or badminton, two of the area’s most popular sports.

Basketball and soccer have also risen in popularity, and running has become a common activity with many of the city’s residents.

yankee stadium


New York makes it simple for its residents and visitors to get around, even if they don’t own a car. The city is known for its excellent public transportation, including the subway and bus system.

Walking and biking are also popular, or people can choose to take one of the city’s classic yellow cabs.

Like New York, it’s relatively easy to get around Shanghai by using public transportation, including a large bus network and the city’s metro system, which is both quick and inexpensive.

A Shanghai Public Transportation Card allows users to pay for all of the fares on different transportation systems quickly and easily.

Taxis are also available in the city, and many people also choose to walk or bike to nearby locations.

New york subway

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