Is Rochester, New York A Good Place To Live?

When deciding where to live, many factors influence whether a city is the right fit for an individual or family. If you’re considering a move to Rochester, New York, this guide will explore the key aspects of life in Rochester to help you determine if it’s a place you’ll thrive.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Rochester offers affordable housing, good schools, ample job opportunities, and a variety of cultural attractions that make it a livable city for many people.

Housing in Rochester

When considering whether Rochester, New York is a good place to live, one of the key factors to consider is the housing situation in the city. Rochester offers a range of housing options to suit different preferences and budgets.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Rochester is relatively affordable compared to many other cities in the United States. According to, the overall cost of living index in Rochester is 85, which is lower than the national average of 100.

This means that housing, groceries, transportation, and other expenses in Rochester are generally more affordable.

Types of Housing

Rochester offers a diverse range of housing options to cater to different lifestyles and preferences. The city has a mix of historic homes, modern apartments, and suburban developments. Whether you prefer a cozy apartment in the heart of downtown or a spacious family home in the suburbs, Rochester has housing options to suit your needs.

Buying vs. Renting

Deciding whether to buy or rent a home in Rochester depends on individual circumstances and long-term goals. If you plan to stay in Rochester for a shorter period or prefer the flexibility of renting, there are plenty of rental properties available in the city.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a more permanent residence and want to build equity, buying a home in Rochester can be a great investment. It’s important to consider factors such as job stability, financial readiness, and personal preferences when making this decision.

Best Neighborhoods

Rochester has several neighborhoods that are highly regarded for their quality of life and amenities. Some of the best neighborhoods in the city include:

  • East Avenue: Known for its historic mansions, tree-lined streets, and proximity to cultural attractions.
  • Park Avenue: A vibrant neighborhood with trendy shops, restaurants, and a strong sense of community.
  • Highland Park: Offers beautiful homes, scenic views, and easy access to the popular Highland Park.
  • Pittsford: A suburb of Rochester known for its excellent schools, upscale homes, and charming village center.

These neighborhoods are just a few examples of the many great places to live in Rochester. Each neighborhood has its own unique character and amenities, so it’s worth exploring different areas to find the one that suits your lifestyle and preferences.


When considering whether Rochester, New York is a good place to live, education is an important factor to consider. Fortunately, Rochester boasts a strong education system with a variety of options for students of all ages.

Public Schools

Rochester is home to a number of excellent public schools that prioritize providing students with a high-quality education. The Rochester City School District is the largest school district in the area, serving thousands of students from diverse backgrounds.

The district offers a range of programs and resources to support student success, including specialized schools for arts, technology, and more. Additionally, the suburban areas surrounding Rochester also have highly regarded public school districts, providing families with even more options for their children’s education.

Private Schools

In addition to its strong public school system, Rochester is also home to a variety of private schools. These schools often offer smaller class sizes and specialized programs that cater to specific interests or academic needs.

Some well-known private schools in the area include The Harley School, McQuaid Jesuit High School, and Allendale Columbia School. These schools provide students with a rigorous academic curriculum and a supportive learning environment.

Colleges and Universities

Rochester is known for its prestigious colleges and universities, making it an ideal place for higher education. The University of Rochester, a renowned research university, offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Rochester Institute of Technology is another top institution known for its programs in engineering, computing, and the arts. Additionally, there are several community colleges and vocational schools in the area, providing opportunities for individuals looking to gain specific skills or pursue a trade.

Employment and Economy

When considering whether Rochester, New York is a good place to live, it’s important to evaluate the employment and economy of the city. Rochester has a diverse economy with a range of industries, providing ample job opportunities for its residents.

Major Employers

Rochester is home to several major employers that contribute significantly to the city’s economy. One of the most well-known companies in the area is Eastman Kodak Company, which has a long history in Rochester and continues to be a major employer in the region.

Other notable employers include Xerox Corporation, University of Rochester, and Wegmans Food Markets.

These companies not only provide jobs but also contribute to the overall economic growth of the city. They offer a variety of career paths and opportunities for both skilled professionals and those just starting their careers.

Job Market

The job market in Rochester is competitive yet promising. The city has a strong focus on technology and innovation, with a growing number of startups and tech companies emerging in recent years. This has created a demand for skilled professionals in fields such as software development, engineering, and healthcare.

Rochester is also known for its strong healthcare sector, with several renowned hospitals and medical research institutions located in the area. This provides employment opportunities for healthcare professionals and contributes to the overall stability of the job market.

Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate in Rochester is relatively low compared to the national average. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Rochester stands at X%, which is below the national average of X%.

This indicates a relatively stable job market and a favorable employment environment for residents.

It’s worth noting that the unemployment rate can vary across different industries and demographic groups. Therefore, it’s important for individuals to research and understand the specific job market conditions in their desired industry or field before making a decision to relocate to Rochester.


When considering whether Rochester, New York is a good place to live, transportation is an important factor to consider. The city offers a variety of transportation options that cater to different needs and preferences.

Public Transit

Rochester has a well-established public transit system, operated by the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA). The Regional Transit Service (RTS) provides bus services throughout the city and surrounding areas.

The bus routes are extensive and cover most neighborhoods, making it easy for residents to commute to work, school, or other destinations. The fares are affordable, and the buses are generally reliable and punctual.

The RGRTA also offers specialized services for individuals with disabilities, ensuring that everyone has access to public transportation.

For more information about the RTS bus routes and schedules, you can visit their official website:


Rochester is known for its walkable neighborhoods, especially in the downtown area. The city has made efforts to improve pedestrian infrastructure, creating sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes to promote walking and cycling.

Many residents enjoy the convenience of being able to walk to nearby shops, restaurants, parks, and entertainment venues. The walkability of Rochester not only promotes a healthier lifestyle but also reduces traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

Highways and Roads

Rochester has a well-maintained network of highways and roads, making it easy to travel within the city and to nearby destinations. The major highways include Interstate 490, Interstate 590, and the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90).

These highways provide convenient access to other cities in the region, such as Buffalo, Syracuse, and Albany. The local roads are also well-maintained, and traffic congestion is generally manageable, especially outside of peak hours.

It’s important to note that Rochester, like any other city, experiences traffic congestion during rush hour. However, compared to larger cities, such as New York City or Los Angeles, the traffic in Rochester is relatively light.

This makes commuting to work or running errands less stressful and time-consuming.

Crime Rate

When considering whether Rochester, New York is a good place to live, one important factor to consider is the crime rate. Like any city, Rochester does have its share of crime, but it is essential to examine the statistics and compare them to national averages to get a clearer picture of the situation.

National Comparison

According to the latest data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Rochester has a higher crime rate compared to the national average. The city’s crime rate is influenced by various factors such as its population density, socioeconomic conditions, and historical trends.

It is important to note that while the crime rate in Rochester may be higher than the national average, it does not mean that every neighborhood in the city is unsafe.

Crime Prevention Efforts

Rochester, like many other cities, has implemented various crime prevention strategies to address the issue. The city has increased police presence in high-crime areas, implemented community policing initiatives, and collaborated with local organizations to promote safety and reduce crime rates.

These efforts have shown some success, and there has been a decline in certain types of crimes in recent years.

Neighborhood Variations

It is important to note that crime rates can vary significantly between different neighborhoods within Rochester. Some neighborhoods have lower crime rates and are considered safer, while others may have higher crime rates.

It is recommended for individuals considering living in Rochester to research and explore different neighborhoods to find the one that aligns with their safety preferences.

Additional Resources

If you want to further explore the crime statistics and safety measures in Rochester, you can visit the official website of the Rochester Police Department at This website provides information on crime statistics, community programs, and safety tips that can help you make an informed decision about living in Rochester.

Outdoor Recreation

When it comes to outdoor recreation, Rochester, New York offers a plethora of options for residents to explore and enjoy. The city is known for its beautiful parks, scenic hiking trails, and well-maintained biking paths.

Whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast or simply enjoy spending time outdoors, Rochester has something for everyone.


Rochester is home to a number of stunning parks that provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Highland Park, for example, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. With its vibrant display of flowers and trees, including over 1,200 lilac shrubs, the park is a must-visit during the annual Lilac Festival.

Genesee Valley Park is another popular destination, offering picturesque views of the Genesee River, as well as opportunities for fishing, boating, and picnicking.

For those looking for a more adventurous experience, Mendon Ponds Park is the largest park in Monroe County and boasts over 2,500 acres of land. It offers a variety of activities such as hiking, bird watching, and cross-country skiing in the winter months.

With its diverse ecosystems and scenic trails, this park is a nature lover’s paradise.

Hiking and Biking Trails

Rochester’s surrounding areas are blessed with an abundance of hiking and biking trails, providing opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore nature and stay active. The Genesee Riverway Trail is a popular choice among bikers and walkers, offering scenic views of the Genesee River and connecting several parks and attractions along its route.

If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, Letchworth State Park, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is just a short drive from Rochester. With its dramatic waterfalls, stunning cliffs, and miles of trails, this park is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.

For those who prefer a more leisurely stroll, the Erie Canalway Trail provides a flat and scenic route for walkers and bikers. Stretching over 360 miles, this historic trail offers a unique way to explore Rochester’s rich history and beautiful landscapes.

Arts and Culture

Rochester, New York is renowned for its vibrant arts and culture scene, making it a great place for individuals who appreciate creativity and artistic expression. The city is home to a plethora of museums, theaters, and art galleries that cater to all interests and tastes.


Rochester boasts an impressive array of museums that offer a diverse range of exhibits and interactive experiences. One of the most notable museums in the city is the Strong National Museum of Play, which is dedicated to the history and exploration of play.

This museum is a must-visit for families and individuals of all ages, as it offers a wide variety of exhibits that showcase the importance of play in our lives.

Another prominent museum in Rochester is the Memorial Art Gallery, which houses an extensive collection of art spanning various periods and styles. From classical to contemporary art, visitors can immerse themselves in the world of visual arts and appreciate the talent of both local and international artists.

For those interested in science and technology, the Rochester Museum and Science Center is a captivating destination. With interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, visitors can explore the wonders of the universe, delve into the world of robotics, and learn about the fascinating advancements in science and technology.

Performing Arts

Rochester has a thriving performing arts scene, offering a wide range of theatrical productions, musical performances, and dance shows. The Geva Theatre Center is a prominent theater in the city, showcasing a variety of plays and productions throughout the year.

Whether you enjoy thought-provoking dramas or lighthearted comedies, the Geva Theatre Center has something for everyone.

The Eastman School of Music, a prestigious music conservatory located in Rochester, is renowned for its world-class performances and talented musicians. From classical symphonies to jazz ensembles, attending a concert at the Eastman School of Music is a truly remarkable experience.

Additionally, the Rochester Broadway Theatre League brings Broadway shows to the city, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy the magic of musical theater. With critically acclaimed productions and Tony Award-winning performances, theater enthusiasts are in for a treat.

According to a study conducted by the University of Rochester, the arts and culture sector in Rochester contributes significantly to the city’s economy and community engagement. The study found that for every dollar invested in the arts, there was a return of over $7 in economic activity.

Diversity and Inclusion

Rochester, New York is known for its rich cultural diversity and commitment to inclusion. The city has a long history of embracing people from various ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds, making it a welcoming place for individuals and families from all walks of life.

With a population of over 200,000 people, Rochester is home to a vibrant mix of cultures, traditions, and languages.

One of the key factors contributing to the city’s diversity is its strong educational institutions. Rochester is home to several prestigious universities and colleges, attracting students and faculty members from around the world.

This influx of international talent not only enriches the academic environment but also contributes to the city’s cultural fabric.

Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Rochester boasts a diverse population, with significant representation from various racial and ethnic groups. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city’s population is made up of approximately 40% white, 38% Black or African American, 10% Hispanic or Latino, and 6% Asian residents.

This diversity is evident in the city’s neighborhoods, restaurants, and community events, creating a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere.

LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

Rochester has a thriving LGBTQ+ community and is consistently recognized as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in the United States. The city offers a range of LGBTQ+ resources, including community centers, support groups, and events that celebrate and promote inclusivity.

Rochester also hosts an annual Pride Parade and Festival, drawing thousands of attendees from near and far.

Community Engagement

Rochester prides itself on its strong sense of community and active citizen engagement. The city is home to numerous grassroots organizations and initiatives that work towards promoting diversity and inclusion.

These organizations focus on issues such as racial equality, immigrant rights, and social justice. Through their efforts, they contribute to the overall inclusivity of the city and create opportunities for dialogue and understanding among different communities.


In summary, Rochester has a lot to offer in terms of affordable housing, education, jobs, recreation, and culture. However, issues like crime, transportation, and racial diversity need to be considered. Determining whether Rochester is a good fit will depend on your individual priorities. Weigh the pros and cons as they relate to your lifestyle to decide if calling Rochester home is right for you.

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