Cost of living in Seattle, Wa

The numbers behind living in our city

Seattle Skyline

Seattle’s cost of living is much higher than the national average

Photo by @jstn.sight

Table of Contents

With Seattle constantly growing and undertaking multiple high-profile developments this year, we figured it was time to talk about the cost of planting some roots in the Emerald City.

The median household income in King County is $99,158 according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, Washington is ninth in the country for median income at ~$77,006 per household.

A chart comparing the cost of living in Seattle to Washington State and the national averages.

The overall cost of living in Seattle is higher than the national average.

Screenshot via

The overall cost of living in Seattle is higher than the national average, and higher than the rest of the state.

In Seattle, the cost of healthcare is lower compared to other parts of the US. However, the cost of groceries, housing, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses in the city have higher average costs than other cities in Washington and the country overall.

Breaking down the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $50,000 annuallyaccording to experts — you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent and utilities. Don’t worry, we did the math for you — your max monthly budget would be $1,250. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Seattle is $2,334 — putting you way over budget.

According to a recent study by Attom Data Solutions, it’s still more affordable to rent a home in King County than to buy.

Take a look at the chart below to see how Seattle’s cost of living compares to that of Spokane.

A chart comparing the cost of living in Seattle, Washington to Spokane, Washington.

Seattle has more affordable health care than Spokane.

Screenshot via

Interested in seeing Seattle’s cost of living compared to cities in other states? We played around on nerdwallet’s cost of living calculator, where you can put in any city along with your current pre-tax household income to find out what other cities you could actually afford to live in.

We took a look at the cost of living in Seattle compared to Chicago. Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 24% lower in Chicago.
  • To maintain our standard of living, we would need to bring in $38,237 to our Chicago household.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,210, which is $514 less than Seattle.

Seattle also has entities + organizations such as the Office of Housing, Seattle Housing Authority, Bellweather Housing + other government-funded programs to help develop more affordable units.

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