Cost of Living Seattle, WA vs Portland, OR

The American Northwest has spectacular vistas, verdant forests, and magnificent mountain ranges. Plus outdoor sports and adventures! If you’re moving to the PNW, you’ll want to consider the cost of living. We’re going to compare the cost of living Seattle, WA vs Portland, OR. We hope this information helps you choose the perfect PNW city for you.

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Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington are only 173 miles apart, less than a 3-hour drive. However, there are several significant differences between the two cities. One of the most significant factors is the cost of living. So read on to discover the cost differences between Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA.

Note: The cost index info we’ll use today is based on the national average of 100. So, for example, if a cost index is 80/100, it’s 20% lower than the national average. If a cost index is 120/100, it’s 20% higher than the U.S. average.

Portland, OR Cost of Living is Lower than Seattle, WA

There’s no denying that Portland is cheaper to live in than Seattle. Portland’s overall cost of living is 131/100 compared to Seattle’s 172/100. That’s a 40% difference, which could put a huge crimp in anyone’s budget. However, if you look at the individual cost indices, you’ll notice only one significant difference: housing. (We’ll look more closely at housing below.)

cost of living Seattle WA vs Portland OR

40% Higher Housing Costs in Seattle, WA

The one significant cost difference between Seattle, WA, and Tacoma, OR, is the cost of housing. Surprisingly, the median home cost in Seattle is almost double that of Portland! In Seattle, the median home cost is just over $851,000, while Portland’s median home cost is $537,000.

That’s over $300,000 more in Seattle, exceeding the average cost of a home in most American cities! Comparing the cost indices between the two cities makes the difference even clearer. In Portland, the housing cost index is 182/100. Seattle? It’s a whopping 309/100! Both are expensive but Seattle is, unfortunately, very expensive.

Groceries in Portland, OR are 5% Cheaper

No matter which city you choose, everyone needs to buy groceries. As with housing, groceries in Portland are cheaper than in Seattle, but only by 5%. That’s not a huge difference, by any means. On the other hand, saving 5% on anything is nothing to sneeze at, especially groceries. If you consider the average American family spending $410 a month, 5% savings equals about $240 a year. That’s enough for two weeks’ worth of groceries!

Transportation Costs are Lower in Portland, OR

For many families, transportation costs are a large part of their monthly budget. That’s especially true for families who commute to work. In Portland, the transportation cost index is 130/100 while in Seattle, it’s 138/100. That’s not a huge difference, but depending on your commute, it could be substantial.

cost of living Seattle WA vs Portland OR

Equal Healthcare Costs in Seattle and Portland

Staying healthy is important no matter where you live. The good news is that healthcare costs are almost the same in Seattle and Portland. Dentist and doctor visits, emergency room visits, and so forth are no higher in one city compared to the other.

Higher Utility Costs in Portland, OR vs Seattle, WA

We were surprised by the difference in utility costs between Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR. The surprise was that utilities are higher in Portland by about 10%, which is significant. In Seattle, utilities have an index of 69/100 while Portland is at 80/100. With long, wet winters, you’ll be using a lot more electricity or gas (or both) in each city. The good news, though, is that both cities have utility costs below the national average.

Miscellaneous Costs are Higher in Seattle, WA

This last cost index can vary wildly between one person, or one family, and another. Miscellaneous costs are costs that don’t fall under the other cost indices. Things like clothing, entertainment, electronics, etc. With a miscellaneous cost index of 120/100, Seattle is 7% higher than Portland’s cost index at 113/100.

That’s a relatively small difference. However, it could amount to a meaningful difference at the end of the month. For example, a couple with no children will spend a lot less on miscellaneous items than a family of five. Regardless, miscellaneous items cost less in Portland than in Seattle.

cost of living Seattle WA vs Portland OR

Choosing Seattle, WA vs Portland, OR

While most of the cost indices are similar, the difference in housing costs is huge. Indeed, housing costs are the only significant difference between the two cities.

Wherever you decide to live in the northwest, if you need to rent a storage unit, Northwest Self Storage can help. We have clean, safe, and secure storage units all over Seattle and Portland, ready for your things. All our self-storage centers have on-site managers keeping an eye on the place full-time. They also have 24/7 video security and keypad-controlled front gates. These security measures are to ensure your things are super safe with us!

Questions about renting a storage unit in Seattle or Portland? No problem! You can chat with us online or visit the Northwest self-storage facility nearest you. The onsite manager will answer any questions and help you choose the right storage unit.

By the way, you can also reserve a self-storage unit in Portland or Seattle online. There’s no deposit necessary, so you won’t need your credit card. Also, Northwest Self Storage offers month-to-month storage unit leases, so you’ll never get stuck in a long contract.

Until you need us, we wish you the best of luck in whichever city you choose. We hope this article about the cost of living in Seattle, WA vs Portland, OR is helpful! While the cost of living may be different, both offer fantastic amenities, food, arts, and culture. Whether Portland or Seattle, living in America’s Northwest is fantastic!

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