How do Seattle and Portland, two of the biggest northwestern cities, compare in terms of cost of living? Basically, Portland is cheaper to live in. To maintain a lifestyle that would be considered normal on a salary of $120,000 per annum in Portland, Oregon, you would need to earn $165,629 in Seattle, Washington. Household income in Portland is at the national average and 27% lower than in Seattle.

The overall cost of living in Portland is 148, compared to Seattle’s 204 and the national average of 100 (according to statistical data, 100 is the average national index for all items). In terms of housing, Portland scores a 229 compared to Seattle’s whopping 407. The average home cost in Seattle is currently around $761,000 according to Zillow real estate listing firm, compared to $427,500 in Portland. Surprisingly, utilities score under the national average in both cities – 80 in Portland and 69 in Seattle. This also applies to health care costs: the indexes are around 80 for both cities. Finally, transport is more expensive in Seattle as well – the index is 157 compared to Portland’s 147.

Both Portland and Seattle have a large number of major companies (Nike in Portland and Boeing in Seattle). The cities enjoy a booming start-up scene. Seattle is home to Microsoft, Amazon, Paccar, and other Fortune 500 companies. It is much easier to find a job in Seattle though.

Properties in the nicer neighborhoods of Washington’s biggest city, like Fremont, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Central District, Ballard, Wallingford and U District, can be quite expensive. The average rent per room in U District is around $700–800 if you are living in a detached house with a few other people. The sales tax in the state of Washington is 9.60%. Rent levels are much lower in Portland, and there is no sales tax in Oregon.

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