“There’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York,” sings Alicia Keys in her song “Empire State of Mind.” There’s nothing you can’t do in New York. In current times of inflation, however, this line is likely to have lost its validity.

For example, there are rents. As early as 2020, the cost of living in the city was 15 percent above the US average. The pandemic and inflation then caused prices to rise again – so much so that rents in Manhattan rose by 26 percent to around 4,200 euros per month and apartments in many parts of the city can only be afforded with a six-figure annual salary.

Especially for young professionals who want to advance their careers in the Big Apple, the sky-scraping costs are a disaster. Many of them earn less than their more experienced competitors, and they also have to shoulder tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.

“I have no savings and it scares me,” Georgia Bubash told Bloomberg. The young woman from Pittsburgh has lived in the metropolis since graduating from university in 2019 and has worked in the advertising industry. Enjoying life in New York, sometimes going out to eat in a restaurant – Bubash was denied that due to the high cost of living. “I pay so much every day and it doesn’t live up to what I’m supposed to get,” Bubash said.

She paid 1,850 euros a month for her apartment in Chinatown. When her landlord suddenly increased the rent by 515 euros per month, it was over for her. She pulled the ripcord and returned to her hometown. “New York is at a low point. It’s no longer the place to be,” says the disappointed young professional.

Taya Thomas, for whom life in the metropolis with its picturesque Greenwich Village, Central Park and its original nightlife options initially felt like a dream, had a similar experience. “There’s a magic in New York that made me feel like I should be there forever,” the project manager tells Bloomberg. “But I’m at an age where I’ve had to be realistic.”

And the reality was often anything but picturesque. Despite an annual income in the six-figure range, Thomas moved from salary to salary. The search for an apartment with an office room for her work in the home office turned out to be extremely difficult. The admission that she simply couldn’t afford an apartment was even more bitter.

Out of curiosity and with no ulterior motive, the 23-year-old then began looking online for apartments in Miami. A whole new world opened up for her there: apartments with their own washers and dryers, rooftop pools, and other in-house amenities she could never afford in New York.

Then, in February, Thomas made a decision and moved to Florida. Not only does she save almost an eighth of her income there: thanks to the lower costs, she can even invest money and pay off her student loan.

Against the background of these fates, it does not seem surprising that the number of young professionals hired in New York has fallen by 30 percent since the spring. That’s what Kory Kantenga, business expert at LinkedIn, calculated.

Instead of New York, the young generation would now be drawn primarily to Austin, Texas, Chattanooga in Tennessee, or Raleigh-Durham-Chape Hill in North Carolina – all affordable cities that have experienced a real boom during the pandemic. Daily life there is not only much cheaper than in New York. The cities can also score in terms of safety and work-life balance.

It seems as if career starters no longer want to focus solely on New York. “It’s romantic waiting tables while you’re auditioning for a Broadway play or performance, but you have to be realistic,” Ania Holland tells Bloomberg. She once tried to build a music career in the Big Apple and took on several part-time jobs. Now she is realizing her dreams in Berlin. A logical consequence for her: “I don’t recommend burnout.”