10 Pros and Cons of Living in Washington State Right Now

Top Things To Know Before Moving To Washington State

Let’s work through the pros and cons of living in Washington state. Because these points are important to know before moving to Washington.

You may be looking for the best places to retire in Washington.  Or, relocating to Washington for a new opportunity.

Regardless of your specific situation. Knowing the living in Washington state pros and cons will help you.

How? By allowing you to make an informed decision before you move. And answer this important question: Is Washington a good place to live?

So, let’s dive right in…

living in Washington state pros and cons

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Washington State

Here’s my top 10 list.

Covering both the benefits of living in Washington state. Plus some good reasons not to move to Washington.

  • Picturesque landscape
  • Robust economy
  • Low overall income tax burden
  • High resident satisfaction rate
  • Temperate year-round climate
  • Cloudy and rainy weather
  • High cost of living
  • High sales tax rate
  • Bad traffic and driving conditions
  • Homelessness and crime

We will go through each of these Washington state pros and cons in detail. In just a moment. But first, let’s address the big question right away…

Pros And Cons: Is Washington A Good State To Live In?

Yes. Most definitely. Washington state is a great place to live.

For work opportunities, access to majestic outdoor spaces, no income taxes, and moderate year-round temperatures. Looking at these features. Washington is hard to beat.

On the other hand, it’s not cheap living here. In Washington state.

Also, you need to be satisfied with a lot of cloudy days. At least in the Western part of the state.

And if your livelihood depends on getting around. Realize that traffic is a nightmare. And gas prices are high.

Okay. With those highlights taken care of.

Let’s move to the top 10 list. Starting with the best things about Washington…

Picturesque Landscape

pros and cons of living in Washington state

Washington may be one of the most beautiful areas. Similar to California: another West Coast state.

It is considered part of The Pacific Northwest. Which is also referred to as Cascadia.

Living In Washington Means Access To The Ocean

The state has miles of Pacific coastline. Also, Puget Sound, a large inlet accessing the Pacific Ocean.

Plus hundreds of smaller inlets and bays. Intricately sculpted into the shoreline.

Washington State Also Has Mountains

Not to be outdone by the water. Washington state has plenty of mountains.

Because the Cascade Mountain Range cuts through the West-central part of the state.

From Canada to the North. Down to Oregon on the state’s southern border.

The mountain range divides Washington into 2 distinct parts. And provides for many forests, rivers, and lakes.

Then there is Mount Rainier. One of the tallest mountains in the U.S. At more than 14,000 feet above sea level.

Furthermore, Washington state is home to three national parks. They are:

  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • North Cascades National Park

And finally, this area has many state parks, recreation areas, and wilderness areas.

To sum it up. The state of Washington is rich in natural beauty.

Including the ocean, mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, and streams. You will never confuse it with the Midwestern state of Kansas.

Here’s the 2nd of our good reasons to move to Washington state…

Robust Economy

Speaking of rich. Let’s talk about the great economy that this state has.

Since it is another one of the pros of living in Washington state.

Washington Has A Large Economy

First of all, living in Washington state means having access to one of the largest state economies in the country.

Since the state ranks in the top 10 based on its gross domestic product (GDP).

Living In Washington Means Access To Good Jobs

Furthermore, employment prospects in this state are strong. Boasting an unemployment rate lower than the national average. Because the job market is very active.

Big Employers Call Washington Home

Finally, the economy is diversified. With technology, retail, and manufacturing well represented.

Companies that either call the state home for their headquarters. Or, contribute to jobs in a big way include:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • Amazon
  • Boeing
  • Costco
  • Microsoft
  • Nordstrom
  • Starbucks
  • Weyerhaeuser

To get in with these types of prestigious companies. You need a top-notch resume.

I keep mine up to date. Using MyPerfectResume. It’s a great online tool for job searchers.

Here’s another economically friendly policy. One of the perks of living in Washington state…

Low Overall Income Tax Burden

tax benefits of living in Washington state

Washington state puts a low tax burden on its residents.

No Personal Income Taxes When Living In Washington

First of all, as a local, there are no state income taxes here. So, there is no need to file a state tax return.

As a result, Washington is one of only 9 states. In the entire country.

That has no personal state income tax.

The others are:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wyoming

But it gets better in Washington. At least as far as taxes are concerned…

No Corporate Income Taxes When Doing Business in Washington

Because this state does not have a corporate income tax either. Making it one of only a handful of states that does business this way.

Other states without a corporate income tax include:

As a result, there are some substantial tax benefits of living in Washington state. Coupled with the opportunity to make some good money.

So, get your finances in order before you move. And manage all of your spending and investments in one place.

Personal Capital is a great online tool to do just that. And best of all? Personal Capital is completely free to sign up and use.

But, now. It’s time for another one of the good things about living in Washington.  The moderate temperatures…

Temperate Year Around Climate

Nearly 80% of the population in Washington state. Resides West of the Cascade mountains. In this part of the state, the weather is relatively mild.

Temperatures When Living In Western Washington State

Summer days rarely rise above 80 degrees. With the unprecedented heatwave during the summer of 2021 being a notable exception.

While winter days are seldom below 45°. And you won’t have to worry about snow here. Even though winter temperatures can drop into the 20s overnight.

Temperatures When Living In Eastern Washington State

The other 20% of Washington’s population. As you move closer to the state of Idaho.

Does experience greater temperature extremes. And the city of Spokane is a good example.

Where temperatures can rise to 100 degrees here. During the peak of summer. Then drop to below zero on cold winter nights.

But overall, most of Washington state’s population. Enjoys a mild climate year-round.

Here is another one of the good reasons to live in Washington state.  I call it the happiness factor…

High Resident Satisfaction Rate

Because according to past polls. Residents of Washington state have a generally high satisfaction rate.

Simply put, residents love living in this state.

Allow me to recap a few of the reasons to live in Washington. And throw in a few more. Then the happiness factor of living in Washington state becomes clear…

Scenic Landscapes In Washington

We already know it’s a beautiful state. With access to the great outdoors.

And all of the recreational sports that the land and water will accommodate.

Economic Prosperity In Washington

Plus, there are good jobs. In a strong economy. To fund a comfortable lifestyle.

Diversity And Inclusion In Washington State

Furthermore, because of the growing population of transplants. From other parts of the country and the world.

Living in Washington state means enjoying a lot of diversity. Plus, the state has a very welcoming culture. And the people are pretty friendly.

Knowing How To Have A Good Time Living In Washington

Finally, throw in that the state has nearly 300 breweries. Also, almost 1,000 wineries. And was one of the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

So hey. Who wouldn’t be highly satisfied with Washington living? Those items represent some pretty good reasons to move to Washington.

But, there is the other side of this story…

Because that concludes the advantages of living in Washington. However, an article about living in Washington state pros and cons wouldn’t be complete.

Without highlighting the disadvantages of living in Washington. And I must. Circle back to the weather…

moving to Washington state pros and cons

Cloudy And Rainy Weather

They don’t call Washington “The Evergreen State” for nothing. Because the Western portion of Washington state receives its fair share of rainy days.

On average, rainfall is higher than in many other states in the country. But far from the highest rainfall total compared to other rainy places.

Here’s the bigger issue…

Life in Washington state means clouds in the sky for weeks at a time. Because all of those drizzly days come with plenty of cloud cover.

Making Seattle in particular. One of the cloudiest cities in the nation.

So, if you like plenty of bright skies. You won’t get a lot of sun in this state.

And the environment can be damp. With higher humidity levels.

If cloudy and damp conditions are not for you. Then other states may be more suitable from a weather perspective.

For example, Nevada may be a better state to consider.

Now I have another one of the bad things about living in Washington state.

High Cost Of Living

The average cost of living in Washington state is very high. Let’s go through the budget issues one by one.

Living In Washington State Means High Housing Costs

First of all, homes are expensive. Since the real estate market has been hot.

Thus, the median price of a home in Washington is about 65% higher than the rest of the U.S.

On the other hand, real estate taxes aren’t so bad. But, they in no way make up for the high price of homes.

And if you need a mortgage for your new home in Washington. Check out Lending Tree for affordable rates.

Renting An Apartment Is Expensive In Washington

Furthermore, you won’t be able to escape the high price of living in Washington state by renting. Because median apartment rents run about 25% higher. Versus the average of all states.

And don’t forget that lenders and landlords will check your credit score. So, be sure to keep it in top-notch shape.

You can check your credit score for free. I do so using Credit Karma.

Other Living Expenses In Washington

Finally, gasoline and grocery costs are also higher. Versus other places to live in the U.S.

But, no matter where you live. Save on your grocery purchases. We use the Ibotta app to do so.

Remember the moderate temperatures we talked about earlier. They do help control your costs. Specifically, utility bills.

Because you won’t need to pay a lot to heat and cool your home. Since many homes still do not have air conditioning. Since it is rarely necessary.

So, if you are looking for a cheap state to live in. Washington does not fit the bill.

And I’m not done breaking your budget yet. Here is another one of the cons of living in Washington state.

cost of living in Washington state

High Sales Tax Rate

As I said earlier, living in Washington means you won’t have to pay individual or corporate state income taxes. But, that doesn’t mean you get a free ride.

Since all states have to pay for public services in some way. So, Washington will hit up both individuals and businesses with sales taxes.

In other words, individuals pay taxes on their purchases of goods. And businesses pay taxes on their sales of goods and services.

A little more detail on this drawback to living in Washington…

Individual Sales Tax Rates Living In Washington State

Washington has one of the highest sales taxes in the country. With a combined state and average local rate that exceeds 9%.

But, here’s one way to offset the costs of sales taxes. By using the Rakuten cashback app.

It doesn’t matter where you live in Washington state. Or, elsewhere. Rakuten pays cash rebates on all of your online purchases.

Plus get $10 cash just for signing up with Rakuten. And making your first purchase.

That $10 combined with cash rebates. Well, it’s like free money.

Gross Receipts Tax Levied On Businesses in Washington

And businesses can’t completely avoid a tax hit. With what is known as a gross receipts tax.

It is also called a business and occupation tax (B&O tax). And is measured on the value of products, gross proceeds of sales revenue, or gross income of the business.

B&O tax rates vary. Starting at nearly one-half of a percent.

And in some cases exceed 1%. Depending on the type of business.

Gasoline Taxes When Living In Washington State

Finally, contributing to the high cost of living. And specifically, gasoline prices.

Is the Washington state gas tax. It is one of the highest in the country.

And since we are talking about gas for your car. Next, another one of the reasons not to live in Washington state…

Bad Traffic And Driving Conditions

According to Wallet Hub, Washington ranks as the third-worst state for drivers. Mainly due to steep gas prices, high rates of car theft, poor overall road quality, and brutal traffic congestion

Furthermore, the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan is notorious for traffic jams. Plan on spending plenty of time in your car. If you need to commute around that area.

Last, but not least. Another one of the bad things about living in Washington state…

Homelessness And Crime

crime rate

For all of the wealth, prosperity, and beauty that the state offers. Not everyone participates.

Because Washington state has a large homeless population. Partly due to the moderate year-round temperatures.

And I’m not sure if this is directly related to homelessness. But the state also has a much higher than average crime rate.

Both property crime and violent crime are a problem. But, I’m sure you can find a safe place to live in Washington. As long as you do your homework.

Okay. That concludes my review of the pros and cons of Washington state. Let’s wrap it up with a recap.

Recap: Pros And Cons Of Living In Washington State

Here’s my best list of pros and cons of living in Washington.

  • Picturesque landscape
  • Robust economy
  • Low overall income tax burden
  • High resident satisfaction rate
  • Temperate year-round climate
  • Cloudy and rainy weather
  • High cost of living
  • High sales tax rate
  • Bad traffic and driving conditions
  • Homelessness and crime

What does it all mean? Is Washington state a good place to live? Yes. I think it is.

It is a beautiful state. And an outdoor lovers paradise. As long as you can afford to live here. And put up with some of the other negatives of living in Washington.

Now you know the moving to Washington state pros and cons. Good luck with your decision!

More Reading About Where To Live, Money, & Your Finances

If you liked reading about the reasons to move, or not to move to Washington state. Then here are some related articles you may enjoy…

My Favorite Resources To Make The Most Of Money And Your Life

I mentioned several resources throughout the article. They are summarized here for your convenience:

conclusions about Washington living

Disclosure & Disclaimer: I am not a licensed investment adviser, financial adviser, or tax professional. And I am not providing you with individual investment advice, financial guidance, or tax counsel. Furthermore, this website’s only purpose is information & entertainment. And we are not liable for any losses suffered by any party because of information published on this blog.

The Pros And Cons Of Living In Washington state