#4. The constant traffic
Time and time again, Seattle clocks in as one of the worst cities for traffic in the country. Rush hour lasts about 5 hours a day (yes, really) and the city is in complete gridlock during that hour.
It’s safe to say that when you live in Seattle, traffic is all but guaranteed in your daily life.
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As Seattle grows, the aging infrastructure can’t keep up with demand. As such, plan to spend a lot of time sitting in a car practicing zen mantras over and over because you’ll need it.
Most locals prefer driving to taking public transportation… which probably tells you everything you need to know about public transportation in Seattle, but we’ll cover that shortly.
#5. The housing market
Seattle is considered one of the most expensive cities in the country to buy a home — which is definitely something to consider if you plan on moving to Seattle to settle down long-term.
If you’d like to live close to downtown, starter homes (requiring some work) start around $765,000 and increase annually.
The housing market in Seattle is nowhere near affordable. If I finally save enough for a down payment, my only option is to move out of Seattle proper to buy a home.
It’s unfortunate because I enjoy living in Seattle’s vibrant downtown core, but a long-term stay is just not realistic.
And yes, I understand that exorbitant housing costs are not unique to Seattle – but it’s still very unfortunate.
#6. Seattle lacks diversity
One thing I learned quickly after moving to Seattle is that the city is overwhelmingly white. Aside from a healthy Asian community, it’s hard to find diversity in the Emerald City.
I moved to Seattle from Brooklyn, so the lack of diversity was a brutal wake up call, to be sure.
However, based on what I hear from coworkers and friends, it seems like the the Pacific Northwest lacks diversity in general.
Here’s some data to back this up: The racial composition of the Seattle in 2016 was 65.7%white, 14.1%Asian, 7.0%Black, 0.4%Native American, 0.9%Pacific Islander, 2.3% from other races, and 5.6% fromtwo or more races.
#7. High rate of homelessness
Seattle has the third highest homeless population of any US city and I would be remiss to exclude this fact because it impacts my perception of living in Seattle.
Tent cities are quite common and drug use is rampant. It seems like homelessness gets worse by the day.
Homelessness is a tough humanitarian issue to solve and the city is working on it, but I personally have no idea what the solution is and doubt it will get addressed anytime soon.
#8. There’s a rise in wildfires
As of lately, the biggest con of living in Seattle is the constant threat of wildfires.
If 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything about living in Seattle it’s that wildfires are becoming a part of our daily life. It’s heartbreaking to see record-setting wildfires fill the city with dense black smoke during the summer months and the occurrences are definitely on the rise.
The wildfire smoke is so bad you can’t leave your house some days because of the poor air quality.
This is one of the biggest factors in my decision to potentially move out of Seattle.
#9. Public transportation is lacking
Public transportation in any city depends on where you live and where you work and play. Living in Seattle is no different.
Seattle has public transportation, but based on my personal experience it’s not effective enough to rely on. Service shortages, heavy traffic and delayed buses and trains are not uncommon.
People often ask me if they should get rid of their car before moving to Seattle and I say no, not until they’ve lived here for 3+ months and get a feel for the public transportation.
I know that most folks complain about public transportation and don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful that Seattle has options, it’s just that living in Seattle without a car isn’t a no-brainer.
Moving to Seattle (Post Conclusion)
In short, here are the honest pros and cons of living in Seattle, Washington:
Proximity to natureCareer opportunitiesNo state income taxSeattle is a safe cityThe foodie sceneHome to the best coffee in AmericaSeattle is an intellectual cityNo need for A/CSeattle is a beautiful citySeattle is dog-friendly Great summersHigh cost of livingThe weatherThe Seattle FreezeNightmare trafficThe housing marketLack of diversityHomelessnessRise in wildfiresPublic transportation is lackingFurther Reading
Washington’s beauty is hard describe using pictures and words, if you’d like to see some of the beauty surrounding Seattle, the video below may prove helpful.