What’s the cost of living in Washington State?

1 min readLast updated October 25, 2023by Rachel Carey

Wondering about the cost of living in Washington? This article summarizes everything you need to know, from tax rates to healthcare costs. 

When considering a move to a new state, understanding the cost of living is vital for effective budgeting and financial planning. If you’re planning a move to Washington, here are some current statistics related to the cost of living in the state that could help you make up your mind.    

The average cost of living in Washington 

Washington is home to over 7.7 million people and is one of the more expensive places to live in the US.  

According to research, the state’s cost of living is 15% higher than the national average.

While according to data gathered in 2022 from MERIC, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the state ranks 39th in a list of states with the lowest to the highest cost of living. 

Housing costs in Washington 

As of March 2023, the average home value in Washington is estimated to be around $562,936, according to the Zillow Home Value Index as of March 2023.  

It’s important to note that housing prices can significantly differ across various regions within the state. Here are some examples of typical home prices based on Zillow's data: 

CityAverage Home Value
Seattle $825,275
Spokane $383,239
Tacoma $468,403
Vancouver $488,127
Bellevue $1,267,630

The average price of rental apartments nationwide is $1,702. However, Washington apartments vary depending on which city you live in. For example, the average rent for an apartment in Seattle is $2,233. 

In addition, understanding these costs in relation to the average salary in Washington is crucial for realistic budgeting.

Utility costs in Washington 

Utility costs play a significant role in Washington's overall cost of living. According to Forbes, the average monthly cost is around $401.  

UtilityAverage cost in Washington
Energy bill $99.45
Monthly water bill $75
Internet $30
Natural gas $33
Phone bill $114
Streaming $49.75

Grocery and food costs in Washington 

When it comes to groceries and food costs, Washington generally aligns with prices found elsewhere in the United States.   

According to Zippia, those in Seattle pay $402 on average each month. This is one of the highest amounts in the country.  

According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average spending on food at home is $5,259 annually, or about $438 per month for US households.   

Transportation costs in Washington 

Transportation costs, including gas prices and vehicle maintenance, impact Washington's overall cost of living.  

According to MIT, a single adult with no children can expect to pay upwards of $5,300. 

Gas prices in Washington are typically in and around the national average. Washington was over $1 above the national average at the time of writing. These prices fluctuate over time.   

It is also worth noting that prices can vary across different regions within the state.  

Healthcare costs in Washington 

Understanding healthcare expenses is crucial when considering the cost of living.  

The specific healthcare costs in Washington can vary depending on factors such as insurance coverage and individual circumstances. Therefore, it is advisable to research and consult with healthcare providers and insurance companies to obtain accurate cost estimates. 

MIT estimates:  

ScenarioAnnual healthcare expenditure
One adult, no children $2,779
One adult, one child $9,036
One adult, two children $9,046
Two adults (one working), no children $6,580
Two adults (one working), one child $9,046
Two adults (one working), two children $8,971
Two adults (two working), no children $6,580
Two adults (two working), one child $9,046
Two adults (two working), two children $8,971

Childcare costs in Washington 

Families in Washington currently pay around $10,409 per year for childcare for one child. This figure doubles for two children.   

However, it's important to note that this figure can vary across the state.  

Taxation in Washington 

Washington has no state income tax.  

Here's a comparison of income tax rates among some neighboring states:  

StateIncome Tax Rate Range
Washington No state income tax
Oregon 4.75% - 9.90%
Idaho 1.125% - 6.925%
Montana 1% - 6.9%
Alaska No state income tax

The sales tax rate in Washington State is 6.5%. However, it’s important to note that local sales tax rates may also apply and can vary by city and county. The total sales tax rate, including state and local taxes, can range from 7.0% to 10.4%, depending on the location. 

The bottom line 

The amount of money needed to live comfortably in Washington can vary depending on location, lifestyle, family size, and personal preferences. However, as the most expensive state in the US, you may need more than you first think. 

It's essential to consider these factors, along with personal circumstances and preferences, when evaluating the cost of living in Washington. In addition, consulting with a financial advisor can provide valuable insights and assistance in managing expenses and financial planning. 

Whether you’re retirement planning or considering relocating to chase a new career, Unbiased can assist you with your move's financial ins and outs. Find the right advisor for your needs today. 

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.