Seattle vs. Vancouver where should you live

Living in Seattle vs. Vancouver: Where Should You Live?

Seattle, or the Emerald City, is situated in Puget Sound, Washington and is surrounded by mountains, the sea, and dense woods. It offers stunning visuals and a wide range of outdoor activities. Moving to Seattle means becoming part of a unique community with hospitable people, fantastic food, magnificent natural beauty, and abundant activities. 

Vancouver, in contrast, routinely ranks as one of the best cities in the world for livability and quality of life due to its political and economic stability, universal healthcare, diversity in the environment and culture, and top-notch infrastructure and education. Vancouver is known for its stunning natural beauty, easy access to beaches and the great outdoors, mild climate all year round, and active public transportation. It’s a place where innovation and creativity intersect.

Choosing to move to one city or the other, as well as finding the right home can be a tough choice. Vancouver is cheaper than Seattle in terms of rent with similar amenities. However, the housing market in Vancouver is very overpriced. The benchmark price of a house in Vancouver is $1,261,100CAD, whereas it is $890,000US in Seattle. 

Let’s get straight to our guide on Living in Seattle vs. Vancouver.

(*Vancouver Economic, Seattle.gov, Wowa & Numbeo)

Seattle vs. Vancouver

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Public transit in Seattle vs. Vancouver

Public transport in Seattle

Whether you travel by land or sea, Seattle offers a wide range of transit options. Although the city does not operate buses or light rail trains, the Streetcar System is commonly used by the public. Two contemporary streetcar lines make up the Seattle Streetcar system. 

The King County Metro bus system, which runs all across the city, may have steep charges, but it is still less expensive than renting a car. Adults must pay $2.75US for each ride.

One route of the Link light rail runs across Seattle from the airport to the University of Washington, with stops in the City’s downtown, well-known neighborhoods, and suburban areas.

A water taxi service is also run by King County Metro between West Seattle, Vashon Island, and downtown Seattle. Regular rates vary depending on your destination, from $5.75 to $6.75US.

The government collaborates closely with other organizations to purchase bus services, enhance its dependability, and ensure people can go to their destinations.

Public transit fares in Seattle

The table below lists the fares of the Seattle Streetcar system, the city’s most commonly used public transit system: 

 

Single ride (US)

Day pass (US)

Adults (19-64 years)

$2.25

$4.50

Youth (6-18 years)

$1.50

$3.00

Seniors (65+ years)

$1.00

$2.00

Children (0-5 years)

Free 

Free

 

Monthly pass (US)

Kitsap Transit (Full fare)

$50.00

King Metro pass

$63.00

Pierce Transit

$62.00

Washington state ferries

$73.95 -120.00

(*Seattle.gov (1) & Seattle.gov (2))

How much is a transit monthly pass in Seattle?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The cost of a public transit monthly pass in Seattle ranges from $50.00 to $120.00US depending on the area. 

Public transport in Vancouver

Convenient and reasonably priced, the Translink system includes the SkyTrain (an automated rapid transport system of trains that go above and below ground), the SeaBus (ferry service), and several bus routes. 

Over the day, customers are transported by a network of bus routes and smaller community shuttles. The city is split into three zones, each with its fees.

Tools for planning trips, schedules, maps, and fare information are available on the Translink website. There are also compass cards and concessions available. The fares for buses, SkyTrain, and the SeaBus are all the same

Public transit fares in Vancouver

 

Adults (CAD)

Compass Card (CAD)

Concession (CAD)

One Zone

$3.05

$2.45

$2

Two Zone

$4.55

$3.35

$3

Three Zone

$5.90

$4.60

$4.05

Translink Day Pass

$10

$8.45

Monthly

Adults (CAD)

Concession (CAD)

One Zone

$100.25

Two Zone

$134

Three Zone

$181.05

$57.30

(*City of Vancouver & Destination Vancouver)

How much is a transit monthly pass in Vancouver?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The cost of a public transit monthly pass in Vancouver ranges from $100.00 to 181.00CAD depending on the zone.

Cost of groceries in Seattle vs. Vancouver

The cost of groceries is as follows: 

The average cost of groceries (Items X kg)

Seattle (US)

Vancouver (US)

Milk (1 liter) 

$1.06

$2.17

Loaf of fresh white bread (500g)

$3.82

$2.52

Rice (white), (1 kg) 

$5.17

$3.61

Eggs (12)

$3.51

$3.60

Local cheese (1 kg) 

$16.55

$12.30

Chicken fillets (1 kg) 

$13.28

$12.48

Beef round (1 kg) 

$16.03

$16.18

Apples (1 kg)

$5.80

$3.23

Bananas (1 kg)

$2.73

$1.41

Oranges (1 kg)

$5.51

$3.38

Tomato (1 kg)

$6.76

$3.63

Potato (1 kg)

$3.03

$2.54

Onion (1 kg)

$3.26

$1.90

Lettuce (1 head)

$2.49

$2.37

Water (1.5-liter bottle)

$1.97

$2.09

Bottle of wine (Mid-range)

$15.00

$15.52

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter)

$3.42

$3.48

Imported Beer (0.33 liter)

$3.37

$3.20

The total cost of groceries for one person

$112.76

$91.98

Groceries prices in Seattle, WA are 18.59% higher than in Vancouver.

(*Numbeo)

What is the average cost of groceries for 1 person in Seattle?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average cost of groceries for 1 person in Seattle is $281.90US. 

*Groceries for one person are multiplied by 2.5 for a monthly average.

What is the average cost of groceries for 1 person in Vancouver?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average cost of groceries for 1 person in Seattle is $229.95US. 

*Groceries for one person are multiplied by 2.5 for a monthly average. 

What to do in Seattle vs. Vancouver

Entertainment in Seattle

Seattle is known for its unmatched natural beauty, first-rate attractions, major sports teams, vibrant arts and cultural scene, and more. Without ever leaving the city, you may meet artisan manufacturers, buy independent boutiques and designer clothing, appreciate precious works of art, sing your heart out at a karaoke bar, explore like a local in the city’s different neighborhoods, and take in nature.

Seattle is the birthplace of the world’s largest coffee chain, Starbucks. Major tourist attractions in the city include the Space Needle, Pikes Place Market featuring blooming flowers and flying salmon, and the Chihuly Museum. People prefer moving to Seattle for its natural setting, including wonderful parks, and its food scene, where restaurants serve creative and delicious cuisine.

Two top-notch stadiums and other stunning buildings are present in the city. The biggest ferry system in the country and Woodland Park Zoo are also in Seattle. Seafood, the Big Wheel, and the Seattle Aquarium are all located on the waterfront in Seattle. Pike Street Fish, Seven star Pepper, Paseo, and The Pink Door are some well-known eateries in the city. 

Entertainment in Vancouver

Vancouver is a gorgeous city, surrounded by a coastline and beaches, mountains and ski runs, flat farmland, and plains. It’s a dream city to move to with amazing sushi, some of the best Chinese, Korean, and Indian food, and a variety of new dishes from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Lebanon, the United States, South America, and the Philippines.

It is a hub for arts and cultural activities. People in Vancouver frequently go sailing, skiing, and biking. 

You can visit Stanley Park, Granville Island, Grouse Mountain, the Museum of Anthropology, and Kitsilano Beach, which best represents the carefree, joyful Vancouver culture. If you don’t want to climb, ski, or snowboard, there are plenty of family-friendly activities to do, such as the gondola up to Grouse Mountain, enjoy the serenity of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, or gobble down some pho fries at Richmond Night Market.

Cost of entertainment in Seattle vs. Vancouver

In Vancouver, a three-course supper for two at a mid-range restaurant costs $76US, compared to about $80US in Seattle. Adults in Vancouver pay $44.14US per month for a fitness club, compared to $55US in Vancouver. The price of a movie ticket for an international release in Vancouver is only $12.38US, while it is $15.00US in Seattle. 

The entertainment costs are slightly higher in Seattle than in Vancouver. 

(*Visit Seattle & Numbeo)

Vancouver

Cost of housing in Seattle vs. Vancouver

Homes in Seattle sold for a median price of $890,000US in May 2022, an increase of 7.9% from the 2021. Compared to last year, Seattle homes typically sell after 6 days on the market. In May 2022, 1,197 properties were sold, down from 1,347 in May last year.

For nearly 30 years, Vancouver has remained Canada’s most expensive property market. For the first time in 23 months, It has seen a decrease in price on a monthly basis as Metro Vancouver records the benchmark price of $1,261,100CAD for May 2022. There is still a 15% increase in year-over-year prices. 

(*Wowa – Vancouver & Redfin)

How much is a house in Seattle?

The average cost of a house in Seattle is $890,000US

How much is a house in Vancouver?

The average cost of a house in Vancouver is $1,261,100CAD

Cost of rent in Seattle

Rent in Seattle varies according to the location and size of apartments. The table below lists some common neighborhoods and the cost of apartments of different sizes in each: 

Neighborhood

Studio (US)

1 bedroom (US)

2 bedroom (US)

3 bedroom (US)

South lake Union

$2137/month

$2771/month

$4091/month

$10,880/month

Broadway

$1272/month

$1885/month

$2895/month

$3850/month

Belttown

$1550/month

$2500/month

$3820/month

$6105/month

Lower Queen Anne

$1365/month

$1929/month

$2695/month

$2250/month

First Hill

$1395/month

$1980/month

$3035/month

$6862/month

Lake City

$1095/month

$1550/month

$1841/month

$2648/month

University District

$1263/month

$1615/month

$2150/month

$2595/month

Adams

$1150/month

$1751/month

$2345/month

$3595/month

Wallingford

$1495/month

$2069/month

$3015/month

$3550/month

Central Business District

$1865/month

$2213/month

$3680/month

$6995/month

(*Zumper)

How much is rent in Seattle?

The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Seattle is $1,919US

Cost of housing in Vancouver

The table mentions the rents of apartments in some neighborhoods in Vancouver: 

Neighborhood

Studio (CAD)

1 bedroom (CAD)

2 bedroom (CAD)

3 bedroom (CAD)

Downtown Vancouver

$2090/month

$2502/month

$3900/month

$7500/month

West End

$2025/month

$2175/month

$3300/month

$5248/month

Kitsilano

$1795/month

$2200/month

$3580/month

$4000/month

Marpole

$1725/month

$1875/month

$2750/month

$2950/month

Mt.Pleasant

$1950/month

$2350/month

$3750/month

$6300/month

Fairview

$1700/month

$2175/month

$3150/month

$3400/month

University Endowment Lands

$1800/month

$2175/month

$3500/month

$5500/month

Renfrew Collingwood

$1600/month

$2000/month

$2600/month

$3000/month

Kesington Cedar Cottage

$1700/month

$1950/month

$2300/month

$3600/month

West Point Grey

$1650/month

$2400/month

$2500/month

$4000/month

Hastings Sunrise

$1300/month

$1600/month

$1938/month

$2400/month

Strathcona

$1330/month

$2160/month

$2750/month

Grandview Woodland

$1525/month

$1795/month

$2500/month

$3950/month

(*Zumper)

How much is rent in Vancouver?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $2,394CAD

Seattle vs. Vancouver Where should you live?

Job opportunities in Seattle vs. Vancouver

Seattle has a high employment rate and higher average pay than the rest of the country.

Seattle residents can find employment in important sectors, including biotech and health care, maritime businesses like shipping and fishing, and technology opportunities at companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Zillow. 

Web developers, data scientists, research analysts, project managers, financial managers, and cyber security analysts are in high demand. 

Vancouver’s diverse economy features a dynamic expansion in the green and technology sectors and a quickly growing creative sector, particularly in technology, digital entertainment & interactive, and the green economy. People also move to work in conventional industries like tourism, forestry, mining, transportation, and logistics.

Canada’s West Coast, where Vancouver is located, has the lowest unemployment rates. Teachers, chefs, cooks, developers, and sales specialists and positions in the healthcare industry are in high demand. 

(*Immigration.ca, Real Estate & PCE)

Salary comparison in Seattle vs. Vancouver

The table compares the most in-demand jobs in both Seattle and Vancouver and the salary expectations in each city: 

Job title

The average salary in Seattle (US)

The average salary in Vancouver (CAD)

Dentist

$131,792

$73,170

Physician

$175,658

$125,146

Pharmacist

$81,241

$58,680

Business Development

$103,268

$66,930

Hardware Engineer

$73,271

$50,582

Chemical Engineer

$80,605

$62,473

Product Manager

$104,279

$65,025

Finance Manager

$94,443

$58,395

IT Manager

$87,415

$65,096

Mobile Developer

$81,141

$45,425

Sales Manager

$75,939

$53,362

Operations Manager

$80,601

$55,216

Software Engineer

$103,827

$57,673

Architect

$59,334

$50,981

Financial Analyst

$69,632

$46,282

Research Scientist

$79,169

$50,534

UX designer

$82,775

$51,085

Teacher

$51,800

$37,889

Interior Designer

$67,212

$45,770

Chef

$40,038

$42,930

Customer Support

$43,405

$26,926

(*Teleport – Vancouver – Seattle)

Cost of living in Seattle vs. Vancouver

Seattle vs Vancouver

Vancouver’s consumer prices are 13.45% less than Seattle’s without rent, and 4.97% cheaper with rent. 

The rental costs in Vancouver are 17.26% less than those in Seattle, Washington. Vancouver’s dining costs are 5.30% less expensive than those in Seattle. The cost of groceries is 15.46% lower in Vancouver than in Seattle. 

Seattle, Washington, has a 15.6% higher cost of living than Vancouver. To live comfortably in Seattle, you would need about 6,700 dollars US. In Vancouver, you could do so with 5697.15 dollars US.

Vancouver and Seattle’s cost of living indices are:

City

Cost of living index

Vancouver

76.31

Seattle

87.96

(*Numbeo)

Summing up the entire discussion, the average monthly living costs in Seattle and Vancouver are compared in the following table. 

Category

*For 1 person

Seattle (US)

Vancouver (US) 

Average house price 

$890,000US 

$1,261,100CAD

Average monthly rent price (1 bedroom in City Centre)

$2,197.73 

$1,745.25

Public transit (One-way ticket)

$2.75

$2.36

Groceries

$281.9

$229.95

Utilities (electricity + internet) 

$288.68

$146.97

Cell phone plan

$80, unlimited talk, text, and data included

$80, unlimited talk, text, and data included

Gym membership (monthly)

$55.00

$44.14

Clothing and shoes (1 pair each)

$177.37

$190.85

Total

$3,083

$2,438

*Groceries for one person are multiplied by 2.5 for a monthly average.

(*Numbeo)

FAQ - The most frequently asked questions about Seattle and Vancouver

What is the biggest difference between Seattle and Vancouver?

Vancouver is a cheaper city to live in than Seattle but still, both have relatively high living costs. However, the biggest difference is that Vancouver is in Canada and whereas Seattle is in the United States. Seattle has a great nightlife. On the other hand, Vancouver offers a nice walkability, which means a better quality of living for its residents.

Where to live in Seattle?

Lifestyle

Neighborhood

Young Professionals 

Belltown, Downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill

Families

Greenwood, Columbia City and West Seattle

Students

The University District and Fremont

Where to live in Vancouver?

Lifestyle

Neighbhorhood 

Young Professionals 

Gastown and Yaletown

Families

Main street and Olympic village

Students

Kitsilano

Is tax cheaper in Seattle vs. Vancouver?

Washington State has a 6.5% sales tax and Seattle has a 3.75% sales tax for a combined total of 10.25% sales tax

In the State of Washington, there is no tax on income

Federal income tax for the US 

(For one person)

  • 10% between $0 to $10,275
  • 12% between $10,276 to $41,775
  • 22% between $86,141,070 to $98,901
  • 24% between $98,901 to $120,094
  • 32% between $120,094 to $162,832
  • 35% between $162,832 to $227,091
  • 37% on the amount over $227,091

*For married tax filing and others, see : SmartAsset

For Vancouver, they have the standard GST set at 5% and the PST set at 7% as a provincial sales tax.

Applicable tax in Vancouver on the taxable income includes (in CAD):

  • 5.06% between $0 to $43,070
  • 7.70% between $43,070 to $86,141
  • 10.50% between $86,141,070 to $98,901
  • 12.29% between $98,901 to $120,094
  • 14.70% between $120,094 to $162,832
  • 16.80% between $162,832 to $227,091
  • 20.5% on the amount over $227,091

Federal tax rates on income for Canada  

Applicable tax on the taxable income includes (in CAD):

  • 15% on the first $50,197 of taxable income, plus
  • 20.5% on the next $50,195 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over 50,197 up to $100,392), plus
  • 26% on the next $55,233 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $100,392 up to $155,625), plus
  • 29% on the next $66,083 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over 155,625 up to $221,708), plus
  • 33% of taxable income over $221,708

(*Department of Revenue, Tax Foundation, SmartAsset, Canada.ca & Gov.bc.ca)

Conclusion

Both cities offer a wide range of activities and opportunities. However Seattle has a higher cost of living compared to Vancouver. The former also has a significantly bigger population and tends to offer higher salaries. They are both on the West Coast and a few hours’ drive from each other. If you are planning to move soon, check out the 5 best moving companies in Seattle and the 5 best moving companies in Vancouver.

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