Whether you're just starting to consider relocating for another state or you've already planned the logistics of your interstate move, uprooting your life and settling down somewhere new can be as stressful as it is exciting. To help you decide where to move and get to know your know state, our Where To Move in 2021 guide explores the unique attributes of some of the most popular states people move to, including cost of living, climate and geography, employment, and cultural attractions.
1. Fast facts
Find out where the over 260,000 Americans who moved to Washington in 2018 relocated from.
We've collected data on house prices, household income, and cost of living for Seattle.
Compare the Evergreen State's average temperature and precipitation against the national average.
Discover the best cities in the state for jobs and top industries in Washington.
Learn about Washington's unique food and drink, arts and culture, outdoor activities, and sports.
|Total population: 7,614,893
Median age: 37.9
Largest city: Seattle
Over 260,000 Americans relocated to Washington state in 2018. Where do people come from?
2. Cost of Living in Washington
*Cost of living data is not available at the state level. In this article, cost of living data is based on the largest city in the state.
The average house price in Seattle is $549,200.00—about 56% above the national average.
The cost of living is also roughly 43% higher in Seattle, but don’t be discouraged by housing costs—the median household income is significantly higher than the national average, at $92,263.00.
Here's how the cost of living in Portland breaks down:
Cost of Living
|Phoenix, AZ||United States||Difference|
|Basic utilties (based on 915 sq ft apartment)||$201.31||$162.98||+19.0%|
|Food (per person, monthly)||$411.87||$323.75||+21.4%|
2. Washington Climate and Geography
Washington’s Pacific coastline is characterized by numerous bays and rugged cliffs. The Olympic Mountains rise in the far northwest, the Rocky Mountains ascend in the northeast, and the Coastal Mountain Range extends south into Oregon. The Puget Sound Lowlands stretch south from the Canadian border to the Columbia River, and contain many of the state’s major cities, including Seattle and Tacoma. East of the Lowlands lies the Cascade Mountains, with the Columbia Plateau extending south from Central Washington into Idaho and Oregon.
Like Oregon, Washington’s climate varies widely from west to east. West of the Cascades, the Pacific Ocean and the state’s latitude lead to abundant precipitation. The Cascades block precipitation from reaching too far inland, so the eastern part of the state is comparatively dry.
- Mount Rainier: Washington’s highest peak, this active volcano ascends to 14,140 feet above sea level.
- Puget Sound: West of Seattle, this picturesque inlet of the Pacific Ocean (also a part of the Salish Sea) connects many marine waterways and basins to the open Pacific Ocean. It’s the third largest estuary in the United States, and is also home to several small islands.
4. Employment in Washington
Washington took the #8 spot on Forbes’ list of the best states for business, with 2.5% job growth.
- THE GOOD: As the birthplace of companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Nordstrom, Starbucks, and Boeing, Washington is a hub for innovation. More than $4.6 billion in funding from venture capitalists (the 5th most in the nation) poured into Washington between 2014 and 2016.
- THE BAD: Home prices are on the rise, with a projected increase of 10.4%.
Four cities appear on WalletHub’s list of the best cities for jobs. Here’s how all four cities rank:
Top industries in Washington include:
- Agriculture and mining
- Trade and transportation
Major employers and corporations with headquarters in Washington include:
5. Washington Culture and Entertainment
Food and drink
Washington is one of the largest beer-brewing states in the nation, with over 284 brewers and beer wholesalers—second only to California. Foodies will enjoy the Pike Place Market in Seattle, with fresh produce, the best ingredients from across the state, and samples of Seattle delicacies that can’t be found anywhere else.
Arts and culture
Washington has artistic and cultural offerings to satisfy every new resident. Check out the Mount Baker Blues Festival, voted the best blues festival by the International Blues Foundation, featuring three days of blues under the shadow of Mount Baker, or head to Hoop Fest in Spokane—the world’s largest three-on-three basketball tournament, attracting approximately 30,000 players and more than 7,000 teams, plus music, rides, and food.
There’s no shortage of activities to keep outdoor enthusiasts occupied in the Evergreen State:
- National Parks: Check out Olympic National Park’s mineral springs, or head to Mount Rainier National Park for fishing, climbing, hiking, and cross country skiing.
- Lake Chelan: Satisfy your craving for watersports, or enjoy a wine tasting, a tasty bite at a local restaurant, and the area’s bustling nightlife.
- Mount Baker: Hit the slopes at one of the snowiest places in the world, with record-setting snowfall that regularly reaches over 600 inches.
- Scenic byways: Enjoy a road trip down the North Cascades Scenic Highway, Mount Baker Highway, or Coulee Corridor.
Get your sports fix at a Seattle Mariners (MLB), Seattle Seahawks (NFL) or Seattle Storm (NBA) game. Prefer the ice rink? Seattle is also getting its very own NHL team in 2021.