MYNORTHWEST LIFESTYLE

Yikes! How much does it take to live comfortably in Seattle?

Mar 21, 2024, 1:32 PM

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Seattle has emerged as a top 10 most expensive city to live comfortably. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

We all know that Seattle has become a very expensive city. It’s now mentioned in the same breath as New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

But how much does it really take for one person to live comfortably in Seattle?

A recent study by SmartAsset, a financial technology company that connects people with financial advisors, determined that a single person in the city must make $119,382. The combined salaries of two working adults with two children are needed; it takes $283,712 to live comfortably. That’s ninth in the nation.

“Comfortable” is defined as the income needed to cover a 50/30/20 budget, which assumes 50% of your monthly income can pay for necessities like housing and utility costs, 30% can cover discretionary spending and 20% can be set aside for savings or investments.

More on Seattle affordability: Surging home prices prolong Seattle’s ‘bidding wars’ era

In Seattle, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is just shy of $2,000 a month, according to Apartments.com.

SmartAsset said the average monthly food spend for a Seattle resident is $399, which is almost $75 more than the national average of $324. Seattle households spend the sixth-most per week on groceries among major metro areas, at an average of $289.

We all know that gas prices are among the highest in the nation at $4.41, according to AAA.

That’s OK, but you want to have fun while you’re here, right? According to Vivid Seats, the average price for one Seahawks season ticket is $2,204. Of course, you’ll want to park, which costs $40-$100. According to Cheapism, a hot dog and a beer will set you back at least $18.

Well, there are a lot of good parks to hang out in during the 100 days of warmth and sunshine we have here.

There’s always the option of moving to the cheapest big city in America: Houston. Even then, you need an annual salary of $75,088. For two adults with two children, it’s $175,219. But, you have to live in Houston. (At least they have good BBQ.)

Living comfortably as a single person in New York City takes the most money. This breaks down to $66.62 in hourly wages or an annual salary of $138,570. To cover necessities as a single person in New York City, you’ll need an estimated $70,000 in wages.

More on Seattle affordability: Inflation slows, but Western Washington consumers still gasping for air

Top Five Cities With the Highest Salaries Needed to Live Comfortably

1. New York City, New York
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $66.62
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $138,570
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $318,406

2. San Jose, California
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $65.74
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $136,739
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $334,547

3. Irvine, California
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $60.96
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $126,797
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $291,450

4. Santa Ana, California
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $60.96
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $126,797
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $291,450

5. Boston, Massachusetts
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $60.08
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $124,966
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $319,738

Top Five Cities With the Lowest Salaries Needed to Live Comfortably

1. Houston, Texas
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $36.10
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $75,088
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $175,219

2. El Paso, Texas
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $36.18
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $75,254
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $180,461

3. Lubbock, Texas
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $36.24
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $75,379
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $181,043

4. Toledo, Ohio
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $37.26
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $77,501
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $208,416

5. Laredo, Texas
Hourly wage needed for a single adult: $37.72
Annual salary needed for a single adult to live comfortably: $78,458
Combined salaries for two working adults with two children needed: $179,046

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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Yikes! How much does it take to live comfortably in Seattle?