A top view of the space needle, the main attraction in Seattle

Average Salary in Seattle: Can You Afford the Cost of Living in Seattle?

The cost of living in Seattle is around $4,385 per month for a family of four. For a single person, the cost of living will be about $1,223, excluding rent. This includes food, transportation, utility bills, primary healthcare, and entertainment. 

The average rent in Seattle is $2,190 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center. The average salary in Seattle is $66,665 annually, which is approximately $5,555 per month. If you’re asking what a good salary is, when you add up the monthly costs like rent prices, transportation costs, the cost of healthcare services, and food prices, you can live fairly comfortably if you choose not to live in the city center.

This article discusses the cost of living in Seattle in detail, the salary range, and a salary comparison by city. It will give you a clearer idea of what to expect when you move to this beautiful city.

What to Know Before Moving to Seattle

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Before moving to Seattle, you must know that it is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, thanks to its proximity to nature, its booming tech scene, and great career opportunities. The biggest companies in Seattle are some of the biggest in the country, and they all offer competitive salaries. It is also one of the safest cities in the United States, which further contributes to its high standard of living.

Nonetheless, when you decide to move to Seattle, you must consider the living cost. Seattle’s cost of living is 49 percent higher than the average living cost in America. This makes Seattle an expensive city, one of the more expensive cities in the US.

Apart from the job and career opportunities, Seattle has an exciting contemporary culture, an excellent educational hub, and a wide variety of food to explore.

What Is the Cost of Living in Seattle?

The cost of living in Seattle is approximately $4,200 to $4,500 per month. The cost includes rent for a single-bedroom apartment, transportation, utility bills, food, healthcare, and entertainment. For instance, a person will need to pay approximately $1,200 for a single-bedroom home and $187.14 for their monthly energy bill. 

However, compared to the median household annual salary in Seattle, which is about $92,263, the living cost is pretty affordable for most families. 

How Is Cost of Living Calculated?

The cost of living is calculated by adding together living expenses like food, rent, healthcare, utilities, transportation, and entertainment. The amount will change depending on your family size. Take the per-person amount and multiply by the number of members in your family to get the total cost of living for your household. 

We will break down these categories in the following sections to come up with the living cost and how much you need to earn to live comfortably in Seattle.

What Contributes to Cost of Living in Seattle?

Average Rent in Seattle

The average rent in Seattle is $2,190, which is 43 percent higher than the national average in the US. However, in 2021, the median rent was only $1,928. This is 11 percent lower than the national average. The sharp rise in rent was due to the pandemic.

Pike Market and Belltown are the most expensive areas in Seattle, with a monthly average rent of $2,429. The most affordable places to live in Seattle will cost you $1,329 per month, including Innis Arden, The Highlands, and Richmond Beach.

Average Transportation Costs in Seattle

The average transportation costs in Seattle include a combination of gas prices and public transportation costs like transit tickets. One gallon of gas cost $4.18 in March 2022. This is more than the average in most states in the US.

A one-way regional transit ticket in Seattle costs $2.75, one dollar more than the transit passes in Los Angeles but similar to the price of a single ticket in New York. If you commute using public transport, you can expect to pay $150 monthly for transportation expenses.

Average Food Costs in Seattle

The average food cost in Seattle is higher than the US average cost of food. On average, your monthly grocery bill in Seattle will be $412. In fact, grocery prices in Seattle are around 27 percent higher than national grocery costs in America. Below is a list of average food costs in Seattle.

  •  A loaf of bread is $4.22.
  •  A carton of eggs is $2.29.
  • A hamburger is $5.37.
  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant is $17.50.
  • A regular cappuccino costs $5.12. 
  • Half a liter of domestic draught beer costs $6.25.

Average Healthcare Costs in Seattle

Average healthcare costs in Seattle are approximately $2,206, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A small family, which includes a child and two full-time employed adults, can expect to pay $6,380 per year for healthcare. 

Ninety-eight percent of people living in Seattle have healthcare coverage under the state’s various medical and healthcare programs. Visiting a physician isn’t cheap in Seattle, but costs $137.50 per visit. A visit to the optometrist will set you back $128.85, and a dentist check-up will be $118.13.

Average Utility Costs in Seattle

The average utility costs in Seattle are approximately $203 per month, including electricity, water, and garbage bills. The average energy bill in Seattle is roughly $188.74, including electricity and water. Your monthly phone bill will be about $194.24, and Internet costs in Seattle are approximately $63.03 per month for unlimited data.

Other Expenses to Consider in Seattle

Other expenses in Seattle include entertainment and fitness costs. Monthly workout fees in Seattle gyms are $54.63. This is less than gym fees in San Francisco, which cost about $93.12 monthly. Seattle is a walkable city. You can save money by walking around the city and exercising in its public parks.

If you are a movie buff, you can plan to spend $14 on a Cineplex movie ticket. You will need to consider the cost of drinks and popcorn as well. However, it is still cheaper than in San Francisco and New York, where a movie theater ticket costs $15 and $16, respectively.

Should I Buy or Rent in Seattle?

You should buy a house rather than rent in Seattle. Although it might surprise you, buying property in Seattle is more beneficial in the long term. Of course, the average home price in Seattle is high, but because of its moderate mortgage rate of 2.99 percent, you don’t need to break the bank to buy a home in Seattle.

The median home price in Seattle is about $673,874. Paying off a loan in monthly installments won’t cost more than monthly rental prices. With the hot real estate market in Seattle, you can always sell your property and make a profit on the resale value.

What Is the Average Salary in Seattle?

The average annual salary in Seattle is $66,665, about $32.13 per hour, and $5,550 per month. Nonetheless, the salary range between the highest and lowest earners is vast. According to ZipRecruiter, the lowest is $22,255 and the highest is $147,643, with psychiatrists and CEOs earning the most.

Salary Comparison by City

City Average Salary
Boston, Massachusetts $80,890
San Francisco, California $75,722
Seattle, Washington $70,249
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma $63,200
Nashville, Tennessee $62,183

What Is a Good Salary?

A good salary is higher than the cost of living, which would allow you to live comfortably in Seattle with your family. However, you may need to consider your family’s necessities, such as the type of home you live in, food costs, and the type of transportation you prefer. Tech jobs are a good option, and web developer salaries in Seattle can be as high as six figures. Anything above $60,000 annually is considered a good salary in Seattle. 

Can You Afford the Average Cost of Living in Seattle?

Yes, you can afford the average cost of living in Seattle. If you want to live above the poverty threshold in Seattle, you will need to earn at least $19.73 per hour. Even though it is well below the average hourly wage of $32.03, you should be able to afford the cost of living in Seattle.

Cost of Living in Seattle FAQ

Is Seattle expensive to live in?

Yes, living in Seattle is expensive. In fact, compared to the average living cost in different cities in the United States, Seattle is about twice as expensive. The main expense is housing, whether you’re renting or buying a home.

How much does it cost to live alone in Seattle?

It costs about $3,300 monthly to live alone in Seattle. This amount includes rent, food, transportation, utility and phone bills, fitness, and entertainment. If you have a job at one of Seattle’s top tech companies, however, you will likely earn enough money to cover these costs. 

Is Seattle a depressing place to live?

Yes, many studies show that Seattle is a depressing place to live. People estimate that November and December are the saddest months to live in Seattle. Also, it was among the top metros for sadness in America. This is due to the cold, the soggy climate, the lack of sunlight, and the long winter days.

Is LA more expensive than Seattle?

Yes, Los Angeles is more expensive than Seattle. It is around 0.6 percent more expensive than Seattle overall. However, its housing cost is just over three percent less than the housing cost in Seattle.

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