Of the numerous things that this beautiful Northwestern state is famous for, Washington is rightly popular for being a state whose name pays an ode to the first US president, George Washington! With the gorgeous turquoise blue Pacific Ocean serving as the state’s neighbor along the western border, Washington sure does make for a destination that would be every nature lover’s dream.
For those of you whose mental phones keep on buzzing with calls from the mountains, the origins of call would very likely be Washington. And why wouldn’t it be? Both Mount Rainier and Mount Stuart are nestled away in the state, alongside a bunch of other towering mountains. However, with such a splendid backdrop of nature that Washington has to offer, the state is also home to some amazing urban powerhouses in Seattle and Bellevue.
In case you didn’t already know this, you now have enough reasons to know more about the state, especially if you’re thinking of moving to Washington state. So here’s a guide that will help you make a more informed decision.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Washington?
A lot actually, but to begin with, the population of Washington State is 7,614,893, which is the 13th highest in the entire country. In terms of how densely populated the state is, Washington ranks 25th in the US, with the population density being 103/sq m.
The state’s progressive inclusiveness reflects in the fact that same-sex marriage is also legal here in Washington. What’s interesting about the state is that the life expectancy of people here is actually one of the best in the entire country!
Weather In Washington State
There’s a possibility that you might have heard how Washington experiences an unignorable amount of heavy showers in the course of a year. We’re here to tell you that it’s far from the truth. Washington as a state is all about geographical diversity which is visibly distinct on either side of The Cascade Mountain Range. The western region of Washington is all about the lakes, islands and a vast range of hills and mountains.
During summers, Western Washington’s weather is rather comfortable, with the average maximum temperature rarely ever making the trek above 26 degree celsius. Winters on the other hand do tend to experience frigidity with temperatures dropping below -2 degree celsius on occasions, especially after the sun goes down. Although, snowfall is not really a regular occurrence here, at times, it does make a few cameo appearances here and there.
Now, coming to the monsoon season, Western Washington witnesses 37 inches of rainfall approximately. And these are mostly during the fall, spring and winter months. Thanks to its location, Seattle happens to be one of the cities which experiences a considerable amount of rainfall as compared to some of the other cities in the state. Arguably, Bellingham experiences a tad bit more. But rainfall is mostly prominent only in Western Washington.
Summers in Eastern Washington is definitely warmer, with an average temperature of approximately 31 degree celsius, which on some occasions goes as high as 34 degrees. But just like the summers, the winter in Eastern Washington doesn’t shy away from bending lower, with temperatures taking a nosedive even below -12 degrees. Shouldn’t come as a surprise that Eastern Washington turns into a snowy wonderland come winter season.
The tryst between sunny skies and Eastern Washington is much more prominent as compared to the western region. The fact that the average rainfall timidly stays in the range of 10 to 30 inches a year bears testimony to the same.
How Expensive Is It To Live In Washington State?
Buying A House In Washington State
Make no mistake, Washington is by no means an affordable state to live in. If you have to buy an apartment or a house in the state, be prepared to shell out the big moolahs, because as shared by Zillow, $428,896 is what the average median value of a house is here in Washington. The prices are especially high in cities like Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue.
Renting A House
If you’re thinking about renting in Washington, you can’t expect anything different. If you’re living in one of the powerhouses of Western Washington, your average rent can be anywhere between $1350 to $1750. Make no mistake, your rent could very well go beyond $2000 too, depending on the size of the apartment, the city you choose to move to and the neighborhood that you have set in your sights.
Keep in mind that the prices would vary depending on which part of Washington you’re residing in. But then again, an approximate average just for Water Bill would be $38. Whereas the cost of Sewer Bill on a monthly basis would stretch as high as about $63.5 on an average. Oh no, we’re not done yet. Here in Washington, the average Electricity Bill per month is a whooping $88 on a monthly basis. Goes without saying, the state is expensive.
Washington State Economy and Employment Opportunities
Here’s where you will be able to easily get over the fact that the state is expensive. Let us give you some perspective – $13.50 per hour is what the minimum wage is in this state. How good is that? Well, how good does second best in the entire country sound? Moreover, the state’s Median Household Income goes as high as $82,454 (2019), which is higher than the national average of $68,703.
Considering Washington falls under the top 10 economies of the country, it makes sense that both Amazon and Microsoft are headquartered here. You know, the companies owned by the 2 billionaires who are the richest people on the planet? If you’re in the tech industry, you could be bagging anywhere between $7,000 to $10,000 per month on an average. Of course, the higher your post, the more your pay is bound to be. For those in tech, Washington has opportunities aplenty, all ready for taking.
Similarly, the Healthcare and Medical industry is pretty ripe in the state of Washington. In fact, surgeons happen to earn as high as $20,000 per month as well, depending on their experience and other variables. Also, the state has no income tax, which is even better. Of course, Washington more than makes up for that with its Sales Tax. That combined with the local county level taxes, you can expect to shell out about 7%-10% as part of the sales tax.
Getting Around Washington State
In general, the diversity in the state’s natural beauty allows for Washington to have multiple modes of transportation to get around.
Here’s what you need to know about transportation in Washington state:
- With so many lakes, islands and rivers covering the vast expanse of the state, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) went ahead and built about 3,000 bridges across the state for vehicles to get around.
- i5 is the main highway for Washington state, covering the north-south route of the US west coast.
You can use Amtrak for interstate travels, with connectivity to Los Angeles in California, Chicago in Illinois, Portland in Oregon, among other places. In fact, you could also get to Vancouver in Canada from Seattle. Within Washington itself, Amtrak has two major routes which connect the eastern and western parts of the state, and then a second one which goes from north to south. So you can hop inside a train and get to Seattle all the way from Spokane. At the same time, if you’re living in Vancouver, Washington, you could also use an Amtrak to get to Olympia, Tacoma and Bellingham, among a few other places in between.
There are international airports in Spokane, Bellingham and of course, the Sea-Tac, which lies on the peripheries of both Seattle and Tacoma, as the name suggests. San Juan Islands, Port Angeles, Walla Walla and Yakima are some other places which have airports, albeit domestic ones. So you don’t have to worry about air connectivity in Washington.
To ensure residents of the state can get around Washington more conveniently, the WSDOT gave birth to Travel Washington, which is a bus program that features 4 different routes covering various urban and rural parts of the state. There’s Pasco to Walla Walla as part of the Grape Line, the Ellensburg-Wenatchee-Omak route which is the Apple Line, Spokane to Kettle Falls as part of the Gold Line, and the Dungeness Line which connects Port Townsend with the Sea-Tac airport.
WSDOT is here too! You could easily get ferries from Seattle to Bainbridge Island or even Bremerton. There are regular ferries in the entire Puget Sound region and the connecting towns and cities, with 20 terminals built by the Washington State Department of Transportation for these gorgeous waterways. There are multiple categories of ferries to choose from, so if you want to take your vehicle along with you, that’s certainly a possibility.
See also: Washington DMV Change of Address
What Is The Cheapest City To Live In Washington State?
Firstly, it’s important to know that the cheapest cities in Washington aren’t necessarily the best places to move to, if you’re looking to start a new life with your better half or if you’re looking for better job prospects. That being said, here’s a little something for you about the cheapest city in Washington State.
Nestled in the south eastern part of the state, Connell truly epitomizes little city. The meager population of approximately 5,545 proves just that. Here in Connell, the median annual income is just about $51,615. But that’s still not all bad considering 4-bedroom homes with approximate 2655 sq ft of area can go for as low as $245,000. Now doesn’t that give a whole new meaning to the term “Affordable Housing”?
Is Washington A Safe State?
As much as we all wish it didn’t have to be that way, no place can be dubbed entirely safe. Some places will always be safer than the others. Fortunately, that happens to be the case with Washington State. Here, the average violent crimes that take place per 1,000 people is just 2.82. It’s certainly a positive considering the national average stands at 3.47. Similarly, property crime per 1,000 people is 32.67, which is certainly higher than violent crimes, but it is still lower than the national average of 40.43. Perhaps that’s a fair enough consolation.
Best Cities To Live In Washington
If you feel sleepless in Seattle, it’s most likely going to be because of how vibrant it is. Not just in Washington, Seattle is certainly one of the best cities to live in the US. Comfortably tucked in between Elliot Bay and Lake Washington, this mega-city is not only the birthplace of Bill Gates and Amazon, legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix and the globally famous rock bands Pearl Jam and Nirvana also originated here. The tech hub that Seattle is, it also had the 11th largest metropolitan economy not too long ago.
Median Rent in Seattle – $2580 per month approximately
Median Price of home sold in Seattle – $705,550 approximately
Yet another tech powerhouse that plays next door neighbors to Seattle. Like its neighbors, Bellevue is also sandwiched between two water bodies in the form of Lake Sammamish on its east and Lake Washington to its west. As its name suggests (albeit in French), living here gives you access to gorgeous lake facing views. Also, you don’t have to take our word for anything. Just know that USA Today dubbed Bellevue as the 2nd best place to live in, back in 2014. Bellevue is also where both T-Mobile and Expedia are headquartered, among some other massive companies.
Median Rent in Bellevue – $2900 per month approximately
Median Price of home sold in Bellevue – $944,500 approximately
Unlike the previous two cities mentioned, Spokane lies in the eastern regions of the state. If anything, it lies on the far eastern periphery. The city has a bit of an adventure about it, thanks to the stream of Spokane River which serves as a playground for rafting enthusiasts. Love yourself a White Christmas? Chances are, you could experience that here since Spokane does experience snowfall at times. Typically an artsy and a bit outdoorsy too, Spokane is actually the second largest city in Washington. Spokane is ideal for those who want the perks of living in a big city, but want to avoid the chaos and traffic jams that are a staple of cities like Seattle and Bellevue.
Median Rent in Spokane – $1,285 per month approximately
Median Price of home sold in Spokane – $260,600 approximately
Is Washington A Good State To Live In?
With lucrative job opportunities, an ever booming economy, plenty of outdoor activities and a crime rate that’s lesser than the country’s average to show for, Washington State is certainly a good place to live in. It goes without saying that a lot would depend on the city you choose, your reasons to move, the kind of industry you’re in and the general weather that you find more favorable. But all things considered, Washington is one of the best states to move to.
See also: Moving Out of State Checklist