How Much Does It Cost to Live in Vancouver, Washington?
When you think of the city of Vancouver, the first place that probably comes to mind is the Canadian city in the province of British Columbia.
However, on the Border of Oregon and Washington State there is another Vancouver, this one more famous for being a fur trading hub long ago than for its poutine. It has come a long way since the pioneer days, though – in fact, in 2005, Money Magazine placed Vancouver, Washington at 91 on its list of Best Places To Live in America, and in 2016 WalletHub ranked it the 44th Best Place for Families to Live.
While Vancouver is geographically located in Washington State, it also acts as a suburb of the Portland Metropolitan Area, being directly across from Portland itself on the Columbia River.
For being in Washington State, Vancouver’s climate is relatively comfortable. The yearly high is 79 degrees while the low is about 34. According to Sperling’s Best Places, Vancouver has a higher comfort index than the national average – 78 out of 100 versus 54 out of 100.
If you are planning to make a move to Vancouver, the city’s ranking on lists and its climate won’t give you enough information to determine whether it is the right city for you. Here are a few important things to consider in terms of cost of living in Vancouver, Washington.
Jobs in Vancouver are constantly growing and have been for some years now. Job growth is estimated to be at 2.78%, with growth over the next ten years is predicted to be at about 38.76%. The unemployment rate is about average, at 6.8%.
The highest demand job market is the healthcare industry, with about 13.5% of all residents of Vancouver working in that industry in some capacity. Coming closely behind are manufacturing jobs and retail jobs, at 12.46% and 12.15% respectively.
There are some other services and careers that are in need in Vancouver as well. Professional and Scientific jobs make up about 6.19% of the workforce, Financial and Insurance jobs sit at 4.22%, and Construction and Manufacturing jobs sit at about 6% each. Vancouver also has one of the healthiest real estate markets in Washington and was voted the 7th best marketing in the nation by Smart Assets. This is enough to consider taking Washington real estate courses to get licensed in the field.
The average income per capita sits at $26,365, while the median household income is about $50,379. The state sales tax rate is set at 8.4%, and there is no state income tax in Washington, so you will get to keep a little more of your check.
In terms of housing, to rent or buy in Vancouver you will be spending a little above the national average, but is not nearly as expensive as other cities so close to a major metropolitan hub. With just over 160,000 residents, the city is not overcrowded and you will have plenty of space for yourself or your family.
Renting a studio apartment in Vancouver will cost an average of $884 a month, a 2 bedroom will cost $1161, and a 4 bedroom house will cost an average or $2029 each month. These figures are all about 10 percent higher or more than the national averages of the respective apartment sizes.
A house in Vancouver will cost an average of $300,000, at about $197 per square foot, according to real estate statistics service Trulia. House prices have been escalating quickly in recent years, though, so you may want to put down an offer before prices rise again. 32% of the city is populated by single residents, and 74% of people are homeowners.
Living with a family or alone
Schools in Vancouver, Washington are top-notch. With a vast array of choices of K-12 schools your children will be well taken care of and well taught at nearly any of the schools in the city.
Groceries in the city are cheaper than the national average, and the same is true for utility bills. However, transportation, housing and health are all slightly above the national average cost. Be sure to keep this in mind when developing a budget for moving to Vancouver, as you may have to factor in new costs that you did not have in other locations.
Violent crime occurrences in the city are lower than national averages in their individual categories, however, there is a slightly higher rate of property crimes and a higher rate of crime overall than national averages. There is about a 1 in 28 chance of becoming a victim of a crime in Vancouver, according to Neighborhood Scout.
What to do and see in Vancouver
Aside from the beautiful and entertaining city of Portland right across the river, Vancouver has plenty of attractions and things to do.
The Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is home to pioneer-era reconstructions of areas of the old Fort. This is a great place to bring kids to relive a part of time they might not be able to connect to. The whole city is full of historic areas, you can easily take a day just to immerse yourself in it.
The natural environment around the city provides some great experiences for young kids on various trails and hikes. Silver Star Mountain is a now-extinct volcano in the Cascade Mountains ripe for exploration, and the Waterfront Renaissance Trail is a trail in the city five miles long that has some great city views and places to stop and eat or look around.
In terms of the cost of living, Vancouver can be a little more expensive than the national averages. You could not ask for a more interesting metropolitan area to be a part of, however, and the city is looking to expand continuously in the near future.