Seattle is the chief city of Washington, U.S, and is one of the largest metropolia of the Pacific Northwest. Widely also known as the ‘Emerald City’ for its lush greenery, this city is one of the most affluent urban centers in the country that has stunning natural wonders, a vibrant local economy, and a strong cultural influence. The Emerald City not only thrives in the industrial and commercial market but also offers a perfect mix of outdoor recreation and entertainment. No wonder it has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.
However, along with these conveniences, the city has a fair number of disadvantages. In this article, we have compiled the pros and cons of living here to help you decide whether this city is suitable for you or not.
Cost of Living
Seattle is an expensive city to live in. According to the National Association of REALTORS, the median price for a single-family house costs $544,451. That is more than double the median rate of a house in the U.S, which is around $284,600. Renting an apartment is no different, a two-bedroom apartment costs $1659 and a 45 m2 (480sq.ft) fully furnished apartment will cost around $1519 per month.
The price of food can vary but the average monthly food spending (including groceries) for Seattle residents is estimated to be $399.69, which is quite expensive. And the average spending on food is about $38 per day. If you dine out in an inexpensive restaurant, a meal should cost you about $18 per person.
On to the more specific items:
- Regular milk (1 liter) costs $0.96,
- A dozen regular eggs cost $2.96 and
- Apples (1kg) costs $5.05.
The most convenient way to navigate through the city is by car but heavy traffic, especially during rush hours, makes it a rather unpleasant experience.
Instead, you can use the King County Metro bus which has a large network that operates routes throughout the city. A single ride will cost an adult about $2.75. Payment can be simply done with an OCRA card which allows you to digitally pay while boarding the bus. Or, cash payment is also accepted.
If you’re in a rush, taking a taxi ride is your best alternative, however, be warned: hailing a cab from the street is a challenging task! Your best option is to rent a ride through ride-hailing apps such as Lyft and Uber. Meters start at a price of $2.60 and any additional meter will cost you $2.70 more.
If you prefer other options, rest assured Seattle has quite a few convenient options like the Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail, King County Metro Transit, Seattle Streetcars, or Seattle Center Monorail.
4. Health Services
Overall, Seattle provides top-notch health services. The city ranks fourth overall nationally in terms of quality of care and third in an assessment of access among the 100 cities analyzed in the Medbelle study. Not only that, the city’s hospital is ranked as the 10th best hospital in the U.S based on an assessment of their quality of care and healthcare infrastructure, according to a study by the digital healthcare services provider. A short appointment with the doctor will cost you $150.
Education is highly prioritized in Seattle. There are great choices of both public and private schools that offer a dual-language immersion program or the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Even for further studies, there are numerous good-ranked universities like the University of Washington, Seattle University, and the City University of Seattle.
Pros of Living in Seattle
Living in this culturally rich and magnificent city has its benefits. Here’s the compiled list of its pros:
The job market is one of the top factors that contribute to the highest when considering relocating to a new city. Lucky for you, Seattle has a booming industry and a thriving job market, that is home to notable companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks.
According to a CBRE report, Seattle had the highest growing high-tech job market in 2017, turning it into a hub where the newer tech companies are clustering. The unemployment rate is hovering at about just 3.1%. Yet, the number of new jobs is still on a steady rise, with many engaged in business, science, healthcare, shipping, and technical services.
2. Beautiful Nature
If you’re a nature lover and outdoorsy, Seattle is the perfect city for you. With more than 500 parks spanning over 6,400 acres, this city is environmentally friendly. You can start fresh in the morning with either an early run in these parks or you can opt for a long bicycle ride in the hundreds of miles of trails that offers breathtaking views of the city’s stunning natural landscapes.
3. Pet-Friendly City
As astounding as it sounds, it’s completely true, Seattle has more dogs living there than children. According to the data provided by the U.S Census and the Seattle Animal Centre, there are about 153,000 dogs while the population of kids stands at only 107,178
Furthermore, Seattle has a remarkable number of off-leash parks like the Magnuson (the largest off-leash park in Seattle). Their data suggests that every year about 200,000 dogs visit their park. From dog-friendly restaurants to hotels and even workplaces, this city strengthens the human-dog bond. No wonder this city is ranked as the top dog-friendly city in the country.
4. One of the Most Educated Peoples are in Seattle
Education in Seattle is highly prioritized and valued. Out of the 760,000 Seattleites, almost 39.4% hold bachelor’s degrees, 91% have High School Diplomas and more than 27% of the city have an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D. or a master’s degree, making it the city with the highest rates of college graduates among all the major cities in the US. According to resonanceco.com, Seattle is even the smartest city in the world!
5. Diverse and Quality Food
According to Insider.com, Seattle is the sixth-best city in the US for foodies. Whether you’re craving for delicious seafood or a quick takeaway from any fast-food chain, you can find the perfect restaurant that serves exactly what you’re longing for.
This city offers diverse, accessible, and high-quality multicultural delicacies. Living here means you’ll get to experience this fusion of culinary genres in one of the best and most iconic farmers’ markets in the US – the Pike Place Market. This 108-year-old farmer’s market, located at the heart and soul of downtown Seattle, is a top tourist destination that attracts 10 million visitors annually.
Cons of living in Seattle
Living in Seattle has its negative sides. There are multiple things to consider before relocating here. Here are the cons of living in Seattle.
1. High Cost of Living
Seattle is the fifth most expensive city to live in the U.S. In fact, living in Seattle is more expensive than 88% of cities in the world. Between 2000 to 2018, home values have massively increased by 179.65%.
And a report by upforgrowth.com shows that almost half of the people residing here spend 30% of their salary on housing alone. Of course, with proper research, you can find affordable housing options but note that with only one additional housing available for every 3.3 new jobs.
The real estate market faces a tough challenge balancing this supply-and-demand of the booming population.
2. Booming Population
The Emerald City has been one of the cities with the fastest-growing cities in the country. The current number of 760,000 Seattleites is projected to continue growing steadily, with an estimate that the population will exceed 1 million people in several years.
All this population growth means that the city faces major problems when it comes to accommodation, jobs, and transportation. If you move here, be prepared for big crowds everywhere you go.
Be warned: Seattle has a reputation for having the worst traffic in the U.S. Rush hours can be extremely rough and a pain in the neck. Commuting to and from work every day, in one of the most congested cities, means facing countless moments of exasperation.
As the population thickened, so did traffic congestion. On average, Seattleites spend 72 hours in traffic delays in 2017. To avoid heavy traffic, stay off the road during the peak hours, 3 p.m-5 p.m., especially on Fridays.
4. Gloomy Weather
Another major drawback of relocating to Seattle is its unfavorable weather. According to the Western Regional Climate Centre, Seattle gets 822 hours ( 155 days) of measurable rain every year, which is slightly more than a quarter of the year. Now although this steady supply of rain tremendously contributes to the city’s lush and green environment, the constant dull weather can negatively affect your mood. It can adversely bring you down and make you feel depressed.
Given it is one of the rainiest big cities, make sure you carry an umbrella at all times.
(Also, the winter doesn’t get any better. The high wind from the Pacific coast triggers a cold winter breeze so make sure to properly cover your face and hands.)
5. High Crime Rate
Unfortunately, Seattle’s crime rate stats are rather high. With the crime rate averaging at 60 per one thousand residents, Seattle’s average crime rate stands 115% higher than the national average crime rate. According to the statistics from areavibes.com, violent crime in the city is 65% more than the nation’s average and property crime is 123% higher than the nation’s average.