Living Off Grid in New York (Can You Survive The Winter?)

New York is arguably the last state that comes to mind when considering off grid living. Despite having one of the greatest population densities in the country, there are still locations where living off grid in New York is possible. In this state, there are people and even a handful of towns who live off grid. However, most of them do not live in their homesteads all year, owing to the hard winters.

living off grid in new york
New York City in the winter is beautiful, but NOT off grid.

General Statistics for Living Off Grid in New York

New York isn’t my first choice for living off grid. This is mostly because of the high taxes, high cost of living, and property costs that are roughly 30% higher than the national average. Because the state has one of the greatest population densities in the country, finding an affordable area to live off the grid or homestead will be incredibly tough. Furthermore, due to the severe environment, producing crops will be tough, so a greenhouse is necessary for this state if you want to maximize your harvest.

New York has a population of roughly 19.54 million people, making it one of the most densely populated states in the US. Despite being one of the most densely populated states, there are only five cities with populations of over 100,000 people. New York is the largest city, with a population of 8.6 million people, followed by Buffalo with 252 people, Rochester with 206 people, Yonkers with 202 people, and Syracuse with 141 people.

Most people think of NYC when they think of New York, although when you’re thinking about living off grid, it’s best to be as far away from the city as possible. The north and northwest, on the other hand, are much better for living off grid in New York because population density is substantially lower.

New York has some of the highest taxes in the country, so if your objective is to live off-grid as cheaply as possible, you’d be better off spending your money in another state with lower taxes. The second most significant impediment is the weather in the winter; New York has one of the highest snowfall rates in the country. Check out my recent Guide to Off-Grid Living in New Jersey if you’re seeking a state nearby.

What’s the Climate in New York? 

New York has a humid continental climate, which means that summers are warm and humid and winters are cold and humid. The average July temperature is around 75°F, and the average wintertime temperature is around 33°F, though temperatures can vary greatly. There is a significant temperature variation between the northern and southern sections of the state.

In winter, New York can be a tough place to live, as the northern sections of the state receive multiple feet of snow per year. While it is livable, the high snow rate will make it difficult to run a homestead in the winter. 

What Types of Crops Are Grown in New York?

Hay, corn, oats, potatoes, soybeans, wheat, and even maple syrup are some of the crops grown in New York. If you wish to raise food crops, you’ll need to build a greenhouse. The majority of individuals who live off the grid in this state also have livestock; the animal feed is rather inexpensive, and if you have the room, I highly recommend it. 

What’s Freshwater Availability Like in New York?

New York does not have a water shortage due to its humid continental climate, yet the water in this state is not the cleanest. Harvesting rainwater is probably your best and cheapest choice for water; it is legal in New York, and the state actually encourages individuals to do so. The average annual rainfall is around 46 inches, and the average annual snowfall is between 150 and 200 inches. In general, the closer you get to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, the more rainfall and snowfall you’ll experience.

What Kind of Wildlife Does New York Have? 

Beavers, moose, white-tailed deer, and a few different varieties of bats are among the fauna that can be found in the area. The largest lakes in New York include Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake Champlain, with bass, catfish, salmon, perch, and pikes being the most frequent freshwater species. Striped bass, black sea bass, bluefish, and red drum are some of the most popular saltwater fish. Freshwater and saltwater fishing require separate licenses, which can be found on the state’s website

How to Generate Off-Grid Power in New York?

Solar power: New York offers a 25% income tax credit up to $5000, and you can also apply for the federal tax credit, which is roughly 30%. The weather in New York may be fickle, and the days are short in the winter, limiting how much power you can create.

Wind power: You can apply for a federal tax credit as well as an income tax credit for installing a wind turbine. The problem is that there is very little information regarding wind power incentives in New York online, so you should absolutely approach your local officials.

Does New York Have Any Off-Grid Laws? 

In New York, living off the grid is legal; as long as you follow the local building code, you should be fine. A septic system is required, and some counties may be more restrictive than others in terms of how and where they can be installed. Homeschooling is also possible in this state, though not many parents choose to do so. The homeschooling rules are rather tight, but you should have no problems as long as you tell the authorities.

What’s Road Access Like in New York? 

New York residents are heavily taxed, and some of this money goes into maintaining the state’s roadways, which are generally of good quality, albeit not in all places. The quality of the roads improves as you get closer to the cities, yet due to the low population density in the northern section of the state, road access will be an issue (I’m looking at you, winter).

What is the Price of Land in New York?

The cost of land and housing in New York is about 30% greater than the national average. This percentage can rise dramatically as you get closer to the city. You will be expected to pay a lot of taxes in addition to the expensive property price. 

Interested in a state with cheaper land prices? Check out my complete guide to living off grid in New York.

What’s the Property Tax in New York? 

New York’s average property tax is roughly 1.69 percent, which is higher than the national average of 1.08 percent. When it comes to property taxes, there is a huge disparity across counties. New York City has a 0.90 percent property tax, whereas Suffolk County has a 2.346 percent property tax.

What is the Cost of Living in New York? 

The cost of living in New York is approximately 20% higher than the national average. You will pay approximately 30% more for housing, 40% more for transportation, 15% more for utilities, 6% more for healthcare services, and around 4% more for groceries. When you add in the high taxes, it’s easy to see why this isn’t the best state for off-grid living.

What’s the Job Market Like in New York? 

New York’s unemployment rate is 5.3%, which is higher than the national average of 3.9 percent. The minimum wage in this state is $13.20, which is much higher than the national average. The financial, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and education industries employ the greatest number of people.

What is the Crime Rate in New York? 

New York’s crime rate is lower than the national average. It has roughly 3.5 crimes per 1000 people compared to the national average of 4 crimes per 1000 people. However, if you just look at New York City, you’ll discover that the crime rate is significantly higher. Burdett, Callicoon, Cold Brook, Phoenicia, and Sag Harbor are the safest places to be. The cities of New York, Monticello, Hudson, Rochester, and Albany have the highest crime rates.

Is New York Affected By Natural Disasters? 

Natural disasters such as floods, storms, wildfires, tornadoes, tsunamis, and landslides are common in New York. Storms and floods are the most prevalent natural disasters in this state. This owes to the high amount of rainfall and snowfall it receives each year.

Can You Live Off-Grid in New York? 

Overall, New York isn’t a great choice for living off-grid. There are a few areas that are suited for off-grid life, but the cost of living in these places is exorbitant. Even if money isn’t an issue for you, living off-grid in New York isn’t a good idea. 

When winter comes, living off-grid in New York State will become very difficult. All suitable land for off-grid living is in the northern part of the state. This is where snow amounts are very high, and you’ll spend all winter shoveling! 

living off grid in new york
Niagara Falls should be one of the seven wonders of the world. It is in Northern New York State.

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