Compared to the Rest of America, Is Washington State Expensive?


We know that living in the most beautiful part of the country comes at a price. But just how much? We get the stark news from The Cost of Living Index, which is updated bi-annually. Cost of living estimates come from household income data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent estimates, in March of 2023.


I would have guessed that it's more expensive to live in Washington State, in large part because of the high cost of living in the Puget Sound region. You’ll see from the data below that this is indeed correct. The average cost of living in the state of Washington is 15% higher than the national average. 

Housing is the biggest reason for this with average housing costs in Washington being 24% higher than the national average. We do enjoy lower utility rates (10% lower.) The price of groceries are roughly 14% higher than in the rest of the country.

The price of clothing is also 14% higher than the national average.

Healthcare services cost 20% higher in Washington compared to the national average. Entertainment and grooming services (nails, hair, etc.) are 14% higher.



Cost of Living in WashingtonCompared to National Average
Housing (Buy and Rent)24% higher
Utilities (Monthly)10% lower
Food11% higher
Healthcare20% higher
Transportation18% higher
Goods & Services14% higher


The priciest city in Washington?

Seattle. Where the cost of living is 31% higher compared to the state average and 50% higher than in the rest of the country.


The cheapest city in Washington?

Yakima. Cost of living here is 15% lower than the state average and 2% lower than the national average. 

The figures of Washington towns, including Wenatchee & Moses Lake.

City, StateCompared to State AverageCompared to National Average
Seattle, WA31% higher50% higher
Friday Harbor, WA18% higher35% higher
Bremerton, WA7% higher23% higher
Tacoma, WA7% higher23% higher
Bellingham, WA4% higher20% higher
Mount Vernon, WA4% higher20% higher
Olympia, WA1% lower14% higher
Everett, WA3% lower12% higher
Moses Lake, WA9% lower4% higher
Vancouver, WA10% lower4% higher
Spokane, WA10% lower3% higher
Wenatchee, WA11% lower2% higher
Kennewick, WA14% lower1% lower
Yakima, WA15% lower2% lower

-Info Source: via the C2ER Cost of Living Index

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