How do these northwestern titans measure up in terms of cost of living? The overall cost of living in Portland is 148, compared to Seattle’s 204. 100 is the national average index according to statistical data.

The average home cost in Seattle is currently around $761,000, compared to $427,500 in Portland. In terms of housing, Portland scores a 229 compared to Seattle’s whopping 407. Utilities score below average in both cities – 80 in Portland and just 69 in Seattle. This is valid for health care costs too: the indexes are around 80 for both cities. Transport is cheaper in Portland as well – the index is 147 compared to Seattle’s 147.

All this goes to show Portland is less expensive to live in. To maintain a lifestyle that would be considered normal on a salary of $165,629 a year in Seattle, you’d need to earn only $120,000 per annum in Portland, Oregon. Household income in Portland is 27% lower than in Seattle and equivalent to the national average.

Properties in the nicer neighborhoods of the Emerald City can be quite costly. These include Fremont, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Central District, Ballard, Wallingford and U District. The average rent for one room in a detached house in the U District is $760 on average. Rent levels are much lower in Portland, where no sales tax is charged. In Seattle, the sales tax is 9.60% (sales tax is valid for the whole state).

Lack of sales tax makes services like having a driver’s license issued more costly and time-consuming. You might be charged for parking in recreational areas in Oregon, whereas in a state like Washington that does have sales tax, you wouldn’t be. Seeing as Seattle is more expensive than Portland anyway, this goes a certain way toward balancing things.