Seattle Cost of Living 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

Seattle Cost of Living 2023
Posted by:Aleksandr Belov Posted on:Mar 23,2023

Seattle, Washington, is known for its coffee shops, craft beer, and beautiful scenery. However, it’s also known for being one of the most expensive cities to live in. According to the latest data, the cost of living in Seattle is 53% higher than the national average in the United States. To help you better understand Seattle’s cost of living, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide that includes housing costs, transportation costs, utilities, food costs, health care, entertainment, taxes, other expenses, and income and job market.

Housing Costs

When considering a move to Seattle, it’s important to factor in housing expenses, which will likely be your greatest financial burden. For a one-bedroom apartment, the average monthly rental cost in Seattle amounts to $1,919. Keep in mind, however, that rental rates vary depending on which neighborhood you choose to live in. Belltown, South Lake Union, and Denny-Blaine are the pricier options, while Lake City and Laurelhurst offer more affordable rental rates. As a general rule, the closer you are to the heart of the city, the higher your rent will be.

Transportation Costs

Seattle ranks among the cities with the most congested traffic in the United States, meaning that if you’d prefer to avoid getting stuck in gridlock, it may be best to opt for public transportation. The city boasts two major public transit systems, namely King County Metro and Sound Transit, which provide access to various areas of the city. To ride Seattle’s public transportation, an average one-way fare amounts to $2.25; however, purchasing a monthly pass for $99 per month can offer significant savings. Alternatively, if you decide to operate your own vehicle in Seattle, you can expect to pay a yearly car insurance premium of around $1,312.


When moving into a 915-square-foot apartment, it’s important to consider the cost of basic utilities. These essential services, including electricity, gas, water, and garbage, will set you back around $220 per month. Additionally, if you want to stay connected with high-speed internet, you can expect to pay approximately $68.24 a month. As such, it’s crucial to factor in these utility expenses when planning your budget. By doing so, you can avoid any unpleasant surprises and ensure that you have enough funds to cover these essential services each month. So, make sure to account for these costs ahead of time to keep your finances in check.

Food Costs

Seattle is famous for its delectable fresh produce, locally harvested seafood, and unique culinary delights. Nevertheless, food expenses in Seattle can be as much as 30% higher compared to the rest of the country. To cut costs on food, explore the array of outdoor farmer’s markets scattered throughout the city. Opting for a budget-friendly eatery for a solo meal could cost you about $20, while treating yourself and a companion to a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant could set you back around $80.

Health Care

While rent, sales tax, and transportation are some of the highest in the nation, health care costs in Seattle are actually 15 points below the national average, sitting at 85.2. Some health care insurance companies in Seattle, Washington, include Kaiser, LifeWise, Molina, and PacificSource.


Seattle is a beautiful city, but like most beautiful things, it can come with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, there are ways to enjoy the city’s offerings without spending a fortune on entertainment.

One of the best things about Seattle is the abundance of free activities available to residents and visitors alike. For example, Pike Place Market offers a delightful opportunity to wander around and take in the sights and sounds of the market’s vendors and their wares. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks offer a chance to view fish jumping up the ladders while also taking in the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Waterfall Garden Park provides a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling Pioneer Square neighborhood.

For those willing to spend a little money on entertainment, Seattle has several options worth considering. The Seattle Art Museum offers an exceptional collection of art from around the world, with adult tickets priced at $19.99. The Woodland Park Zoo provides the opportunity to see exotic animals from all over the globe, with adult tickets priced at $26.25. The Museum of Pop Culture, with its innovative exhibits, is worth a visit, with general admission adult tickets ranging from $25 to $32. And of course, no trip to Seattle is complete without experiencing the iconic Space Needle, with tickets starting at $35 for general admission.

Seattle is a city that offers something for everyone, regardless of budget. Whether you choose to explore for free or invest in some fun, the city has much to offer


Washington doesn’t have any personal income tax, but the state does have a 6.5% sales tax. You also pay additional sales tax living in Seattle, which is 3.75%. Both add up to 10.25% sales tax.

Other Expenses

If you have children, child care for all-day preschool costs over $1,664 per month. To send your little ones to an international primary school in the area, expect to pay over $27,000 per year. If you want to join a fitness club in Seattle, you can expect to pay around $55 per month.

Income and Job Market

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage in Seattle across all occupations is $35.74, which is above the national average of $27.07 per hour. Major companies headquartered in Seattle like Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft offer plenty of job opportunities. The unemployment rate in Seattle is 3.9%, which is slightly higher than the national average of 3.6%.


Seattle may be expensive, but it offers high-quality living, outdoor recreational opportunities, and fabulous dining. When deciding which part of the Emerald City to settle in, it’s important to understand the Seattle cost of living. We hope this guide to the cost of living in Seattle will help you find the perfect neighborhood to rent your apartment so you can settle into your new home.

Aleksandr Belov

Author and editor of the blog

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