Toronto vs Seattle cost of living

Toronto and Seattle are both top cities when it comes to livability. They are world-class locations with amazing opportunities regardless of their differences. So, what’s the cost of living in Toronto and Seattle?

Seattle is a more expensive city to live in than Toronto. Almost everything is cheaper in Toronto, including food, utilities, housing, entertainment, and personal care. The only major expense that seems to cost more in Toronto is transportation. Overall, the cost of living in Seattle is 16% higher.

However, Toronto is still one of the most expensive cities in Canada and even North America. This article examines the cost of living in Toronto and Seattle by looking at the major monthly expenses for an individual.

1.  Food

Food is one of the essential commodities you’ll have to pay for no matter the city you choose to live in. Unfortunately, the cost of food in Toronto is lower than that of Seattle. This includes the cost of groceries, which is more than 26% higher in Seattle. At times, the difference in the price of food between the two cities is slight, but other times, the disparity is much wider. Numbeo provides a detailed analysis of the cost of various food items in both cities.

Based on this data, fruits, rice, eggs, tomato, beer, wine, and most other food items are more expensive in Seattle. Only a few food items such as milk are cheaper in Seattle than in Toronto. Even if you’re buying food in restaurants, you can expect to spend more in Seattle. The average meal cost for two people in a mid-range restaurant is CAD80 in Toronto but CAD112.19 in Toronto. McDonald’s or its equivalent meals are even cheaper in Toronto than in Seattle.

2.  Transportation

The best way to get around in Toronto is by using public transport. Three different options – streetcar, bus, and subway – are available, and they cover most routes throughout the city. While passengers can easily get a boarding pass for each trip, the best way is to get a monthly pass if you’re a regular commuter. Like Toronto, Seattle’s public transportation service is excellent, with several options such as Streetcars, Light Rail, monorail, ferries, and buses.

However, a monthly pass is more expensive in Toronto compared to Seattle. The regular price of a monthly pass is CAD156 in Toronto but CAD127.66 in Seattle. Likewise, the cost of getting around in a taxi or even buying gasoline for those who own their car is more expensive.

3.  Utilities

The cost of utilities in Toronto and Seattle varies significantly. Toronto is a far cheaper city to live in for basic utilities. For example, it will cost only CAD162.64 monthly to pay the cost of electricity, water, garbage, heating and cooling for an 85-meter square apartment. The same expenses in Seattle will cost a whopping CAD277.79.

However, the cost of telephone plans is higher in Toronto than in Seattle. Of course, that’ll depend on the network operator and the kind of plan you choose. But prepaid mobile tariff for local calls is higher in Toronto. The cost of the internet is, however, slightly cheaper in Toronto. Overall, residents of Seattle will spend more on utilities than those in Toronto.

4.  Housing

Toronto has an expensive real estate market in Canada. Whether buying or renting, residents have to fork out a substantial amount to get a place in the city. The average cost of houses sold in Toronto in November 2021 is over CAD1 million. While the prices differ based on the type of house, it’s generally high. Rent is also high in Toronto. According to Numbeo, the average rent of a one-bedroom in the city is over CAD2,000 but around CAD1,700 outside the city center. Three-bedroom apartments in the city centre cost around CAD3,500, but it’s below CAD3000 outside.

Despite Toronto being one of Canada’s most expensive real estate markets, it’s cheaper than Seattle. The average cost in Seattle is $888,202 (CAD1,147,623). Not only are homes expensive, but rent is even more expensive. For example, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is over CAD2,500, while it’s only slightly above CAD2,000 outside the center. Of course, three-bedroom apartments are more expensive. They cost almost CAD5,000 in the city centre and around CAD3,700 in other areas. Thus, anyone moving to Seattle must be ready to spend more on accommodation than they’ll have to spend in Toronto.

5.  Entertainment

Another cost to consider is entertainment. This covers the general amount an individual will normally spend on having fun, such as tickets to the theatre, visiting a club, dinner in a restaurant, buying alcohol, purchasing a new gadget, etc. These expenses are higher for those living in Seattle than those in Toronto. Residents of Seattle spend 13% more on the same entertainment expenses than those in Toronto.

6.  Personal Care and Clothing

Personal care will cost you more money in Seattle than in Toronto. Whether it’s getting a pack of medicine from the store or getting a haircut, you’ll have to shell out more money if you stay in Seattle. For example, the average cost of a haircut in Toronto is $20 (CAD26) but $25 in Seattle. Even a private doctor visit will cost you significantly more in Seattle. Beyond the universal healthcare that Canadians enjoy, a visit to a private doctor costs about CAD72 ($56) in Toronto, but the same visit will cost $137 in Seattle. The 59% difference is significant.

Despite the US being the home of most of the top clothing brands in the world, residents of Seattle still have to spend more on clothing on average. Even a pair of Nikes cost more in Seattle at $112 than in Toronto, where it’s $99. But leather shoes cost more in Toronto. Overall, clothing is 15% more expensive in Seattle than in Toronto.

In Conclusion

If you’re considering moving to Toronto from Seattle, you’ll be surprised to discover that the cost of living is cheaper here than what you’re used to. Of course, that doesn’t mean Toronto is an affordable city to live in; it just means Seattle is less affordable.

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