Average salary in Washington

3 mins readLast updated July 14, 2023by Kate Morgan

This article will take you through the main things you need to know about the average salaries and highest paying counties in Washington.

The state of Washington is also known for having some of the country's most expensive cities to live in, which can make it challenging to define what a 'good' salary is. Various sources, such as Forbes and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, rank Washington among the top states in the country for cost of living. As a result, salaries in Washington tend to reflect this higher cost of living.

However, the earning potential in Washington can be a significant draw for many, whether they already reside in the state or are considering a move. But which cities and counties offer the highest average salaries? 

Average salary in Washington by city

City living is often more expensive than living in more rural areas, but it’s also where the money is. Washington’s own cities can vary massively in average salary; cities like Seattle and Bellevue command well into six figures, while Spokane’s average sits below $55,000.  

Average earnings by city—or any other geographical metric—is just one way of calculating wealth, and certainly shouldn’t be the only way you look at your own earning potential in a given place. It doesn’t take into account the type of jobs that people do to earn above or below this average bracket, and omits any consideration for the number of people living in a household. However, it’s certainly one way of establishing which place offers good earning opportunities.  

The US Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey has calculated the average earnings for the largest cities in Washington, which you can find ranked below.  

CityAverage earnings
Bellevue $125,058
Seattle $102,486
Vancouver $70,751
Tacoma $68,147
Spokane $53,318

Average salary in Washington by county

Reviewing average salaries in Washington by city is not necessarily an adequate metric for average salaries across the state, since it’s entirely urban focused. A good idea is to weigh these figures up against the average salary in Washington by county, as this will take areas outside the main cities into account and offer a broader idea of salary ranges.  

The same survey from the US Census Bureau gives further insight this way, with the average household income calculated for each county. Below are the 10 highest-paying counties in Washington:

County Average household income
King County $102,486
Snohomish County $92,824
Kitsap County $86,315
San Juan County $86,101
Island County $80,048
Thurston County $79,425
Benton County $78,219
Clark County $77,138
Pierce County $75,802
Chelan County $74,193

Highest paying jobs in Washington

There’s another weighty factor that will influence how much you earn if you live in Washington: your job type. Average salaries for various sectors and job roles can vary massively across the state, so it’s absolutely something to consider when looking at salaries by location.  

Zippia has calculated a comprehensive list of annual salaries by job title. You can also find the top 10 highest-paying titles in Washington below.  

Occupation Average salary
Chief Medical Officer $222,514
Senior Vice President, Engineering $221,545
Director, Product Engineering $213,091
Vice President, Products & Marketing $208,069
Finance Services Director $207,300
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering $203,424
Senior Vice President-Operations $202,820
Staff Physician $202,154
Acute Care Physician $201,236
Senior Director, Product $200,731

Frequently asked questions about salaries in Washington

What is the average salary in Washington by age? 

Alongside location and occupation, salaries in Washington are also dependent on age, since more senior workers will be paid more. Then, when they retire, their income will dip again as they will rely on pensions and other forms of set income.  

According to Census Bureau data, householders under 25 have a median household income of $44,870; householders aged 25 to 44 years old have a median income of $77,194; those aged 45 to 64 years old have a median income of $85,259; and those 65 and older have a median income of $54,080.  

What is a ‘good’ salary in Washington? 

The median income in Washington is $78,687. However, what constitutes a 'good' salary depends on various factors, such as industry, location, and lifestyle. For instance, $120,000 may be considered a high salary in some areas of the state, while it may be closer to the average in others. 

What is the average salary in Washington by hour? 

Assuming Americans work an average of 1,801 hours per year at 37.5 hours per week, the average hourly salary in Washington is $43.67. 

Getting expert advice before you make significant financial decisions can really benefit you in the long term. Protect your financial future and speak to one of our financial advisors today. 

Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.