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Toronto vs Seattle Which city is cheaper to live in

Toronto vs Seattle: Which city is cheaper to live in?

Making a big move can be difficult and the biggest decision you have to make is which city should you choose, Toronto or Seattle? The cost of living can weigh heavily on that decision—it’s a major factor in choosing your next destination. 

According to data from Numbeo, the cost of living index in Toronto is 76.53 while in Seattle is 84.24. This means that Seattle is approximately 10% more expensive than Toronto. 

To get a sense of the breakdown of costs, here are some other specific comparisons:

  • The cost of rent in Seattle is about 24% higher than in Toronto.
  • Grocery prices in Seattle are about 5% higher than in Toronto.
  • Transportation costs in Seattle are about 13% higher than in Toronto.

It’s worth noting that these comparisons are based on average costs, and individual experiences may vary. However, overall, the data suggests that Toronto is generally cheaper than Seattle.

But before you pack up and move north, read on first, as we’ll take a closer look at the numbers and see just how different life is between these two cities.

Toronto vs Seattle: Cost of Living

If you’re looking to compare cities, one of the biggest factors that comes into play is cost of living. So how does Toronto compare to Seattle when it comes to cost of living?

Overall, Seattle’s costs for housing, food, and utilities are far more expensive when compared to Toronto. So, if you’re planning to move to a different city, moving to Toronto could help you save money.

1. Housing Costs

Housing Costs
Apartment Costs of Toronto vs. Seattle
1 bedroom apartment (Monthly Rent) in City Centre2,446.95 CAD3,295.68 CAD
3 bedrooms apartment (Monthly Rent) in City Centre3,934.33 CAD6,088.09 CAD
Units for Sale in City Centre (Per Square Metre)12,653.21 CAD11,336.07  CAD
Data sourced from: Numbeo

According to Numbeo, rent is about 40% higher in Seattle than it is in Toronto. When you compare apples to apples — renting an apartment with the same number of bedrooms — Toronto is cheaper than Seattle by about $800 per month.

While both cities have seen significant increases in home prices over the last year, Seattle has had greater growth than Toronto.

2. Food Costs

Food Costs
Food Costs in Toronto vs. Seattle
1 litre of regular Milk3.67 CAD1.52 CAD
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)3.47 CAD5.62 CAD
Beef Round (1kg) 18.08 CAD26.35 CAD
Banana (1kg)1.68 CAD3.07 CAD
Chicken Filets (1kg)16.03 CAD19.90 CAD
Data sourced from: Numbeo

To get an idea of the difference between Toronto and Seattle when it comes to food and groceries, let’s look at a few simple items. A 1 kg beef round in Toronto is around 18.08 CAD, while in Seattle it’s 26.35 CAD – that’s a difference of eight Canadian dollars! 

The same goes for a loaf of fresh white bread. A 500g loaf will cost you around 3.45 CAD in Toronto versus roughly 5.62 CAD in Seattle – that’s a difference of two dollars!

3. Utilities Costs

Utilities Costs
Utilities Costs(Monthly) in Toronto vs. Seattle
Electricity, Water (w/heater), Garbage ( for 85m2 Apartment)190.68 CAD350.81 CAD
Internet (60 Mbps or more)76.52 CAD103.94 CAD
Data sourced from: Numbeo

In terms of utilities, Seattle is more expensive than Toronto overall due to higher fees charged by the city government or utility companies. 

On average, you can expect your monthly utility bills (power/water/gas) in Seattle to be 2-3% higher than what you would pay for them in Toronto on a monthly basis. 

Overall, though the differences here are slight compared with the potential savings on rent – making up just a small portion of your total monthly costs if you were looking to move.

Toronto vs Seattle: Quality of Life

Toronto vs Seattle Quality of Life
Quality of Life Index
Purchasing Power Index84.44 Moderate116.00 Very High
Safety Index57.54 Moderate46.71 Moderate
Health Care Index75.11 High71.13 High
Climate Index65.35 High91.73 Very High
Cost of Living Index74.01 High96.21 Very High
Property Price to Income Ratio12.99 High5.88 Low
Traffic Commute Time Index44.71 High43.18 High
Pollution Index37.22 Low32.04 Low
Data sourced from: Numbeo

It’s no secret that living in either Toronto or Seattle can be expensive. But when deciding which city is more affordable, there are many factors to consider beyond just cost of living. 

Although both cities have a lot to offer, when it comes to quality of life, Seattle got a higher score of 170.34 while Toronto got 146.81. 

Toronto is home to world-class cultural institutions and experiences such as the Royal Ontario Museum, and numerous music festivals throughout the year. 

On the other hand, Seattle is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, with attractions like Mount Saint Helens, and Snoqualmie Falls offering amazing outdoor experiences. 

Additionally, Seattle offers unique activities such as whale watching, art galleries and music venues that are sure to create memorable experiences for visitors.

Our Verdict: 

It is clear to see that in this section, Seattle (170.34) won as it has a higher score in quality of life compared to Toronto(146.91).

1. Toronto vs Seattle: Population

Toronto vs Seattle Population
Population in Toronto vs Seattle
• Toronto’s population is estimated to be 2.73 million, making it the largest city in all of Canada. 

A large portion of Toronto is made up of immigrants, as more than half of its residents were born outside of Canada.
• Seattle’s population is estimated to be 737,955, making it the largest city in Washington state. 

A large portion of Seattle’s population is composed of people who are originally from outside of the United States.

We’ve seen that Toronto and Seattle have different costs of living, but how do their populations differ? Understanding the population can help you make an informed decision about which city is more suitable for you.

Though Toronto and Seattle have different populations, both cities boast a diverse and vibrant culture and atmosphere due to immigrants from all over the world calling them “home”. 

This makes them both great options for those who are looking to settle down in a new area and experience something different!

2. Toronto vs Seattle: Weather

Toronto vs Seattle Weather
Climate and Weather in Toronto vs Seattle
• The average high temperature in Toronto in January is around -1°C (30°F), while in July it is around 26°C (79°F).• In Seattle, the average high temperature in January is around 8°C (46°F), while in July it is around 24°C (75°F).

Toronto and Seattle have different climates, so the weather in each city can be quite different. 

Toronto has a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons, while Seattle has a marine west coast climate characterised by mild, wet winters and cool, dry summers. In general, Toronto tends to have colder winters and hotter summers than Seattle. 

Seattle also tends to be wetter than Toronto, with an average annual precipitation of around 950 mm (37 inches), compared to Toronto’s average of around 830 mm (32.7 inches).

Our Verdict: 

In summary, Toronto’s population is much larger than Seattle. Also, Toronto tends to have more extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the year, while Seattle is more mild with a higher chance of precipitation.

Toronto vs Seattle: Education

Toronto vs Seattle Education

When it comes to choosing a city to live in, the educational system is an important factor for many people. Let’s take a look at how Toronto and Seattle compare in this regard.

In comparison to Seattle, Toronto can provide students with more financial aid. Though, we can all agree that both cities place a great importance on education for their students.

Toronto is home to a range of top-notch universities, including the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. Both are highly ranked nationally, and their tuition fees can be expensive. 

However, they also offer many scholarships and financial assistance options like the UTAPS Program or the University of Toronto Advanced Planning for Students which can help make higher education more affordable.

Seattle has two top-ranking universities — University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University— but these both cost more on average than the two universities in Toronto. 

Additionally, Washington State has some of the highest tuition costs in the US due to limited state funding for public universities.

Toronto vs Seattle: Job Opportunities

Toronto vs Seattle Job Opportunities

Although Toronto offers more job opportunities, Seattle’s average salary is much higher compared to Toronto. 

When it comes to job opportunities, let’s get something out of the way first: Seattle is a tech hub. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks are based in Seattle and they drive the economy in the state. 

But Toronto still offers plenty of job opportunities, too. In fact, there are lots of occupations that pay more in Toronto than they do in Seattle—like web developers, business development directors, and IT project managers. 

There are also industries where people tend to make more money in Toronto than in Seattle, like finance and insurance. 

So if you’re thinking about moving to one of these cities for work or starting a career, Toronto may be the better option for higher wages.

Average Salary in Toronto vs. Seattle
• According to the latest data from Glassdoor, the average base salary in Toronto is around CAD 65,000 per year. 

• Toronto is Canada’s largest city and one of the country’s main economic hubs, with a wide range of industries such as finance, technology, healthcare, and manufacturing. 
• The average base salary in Seattle is around USD 85,000 per year.

• Seattle is also a major economic hub in the United States, with a strong tech industry and a growing healthcare sector.

Toronto vs Seattle: Taxes

Toronto vs Seattle Taxes

Overall, the federal and provincial tax rates in Toronto tend to be higher than the federal tax rates in Seattle. 
But since the residents of Seattle still have to pay federal income tax to the US government, it is still more affordable to live in Toronto.

Tax Bracket in Toronto vs Seattle
2022 Taxable IncomeTax Rates2022 Taxable IncomeTax Rates
First $50,197 of taxable income15%0 to $11,00010%
$50,197.01 up to $100,39220%$11,000 up to $44,72512%
$100,392.01 up to $155,62526%$44,725 up to $95,37522%
$155,625.01 up to $221,70829%$95,375 up to $182,10024%
Over $221,70833%$182,100 up to $231,25032%
$231,250 up to $578,12535%
Over $578,12537%

So let’s talk about taxes—the difference between the two cities when it comes to tax rates is interesting. In Toronto, you pay higher taxes than in Seattle, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s more expensive to live there.

In Toronto, income tax is collected by both the federal government of Canada and the province of Ontario. In Seattle, income tax is collected by the state of Washington, which does not have a state income tax. 

However, residents of Seattle still have to pay federal income tax to the US government which is shown on the table above. Another difference between the two cities are the sales taxes and property taxes. 

In Toronto, you’ll have to pay 13% for the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) as well as property taxes of 1.2%. In comparison, Seattle has no sales tax whatsoever and its property tax rate is around 1.1%. 

Toronto vs Seattle: Immigration Process

Toronto vs Seattle Immigration Process

The immigration process for Toronto and Seattle can be both complex and time-consuming, but there are a variety of programs available for individuals who want to immigrate to these cities and make them their home.

The process varies depending on the individual’s circumstances and the type of immigration program they are applying for. Here is a general overview of the immigration process for each city:

Immigration Process in Toronto vs. Seattle
The Canadian immigration system breaks immigrants down into three main categories: 

• Economic immigrants
• Family class immigrants
• Refugee class immigrants. 

Within each category, there are various visa programs that you can apply for depending on the purpose of your immigration.

• Express Entry
• Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
• Family sponsorship
The immigration process in Seattle can be more complicated depending on your country of origin due to certain restrictions or limitations they have in place. 

To immigrate to Seattle, you will have to apply for either: 

• Immigrant visa under US permanent residence (Green Card) or 
• Non-immigrant visa for a temporary stay. 

Common immigration programs in Seattle include:

• Employment-based visas
• Family-based visas
• Diversity Visa Lottery

The immigration process in Canada is overseen by the federal government, and there are a variety of immigration programs available for individuals who want to move to Toronto and other cities in Canada. 

While in Seattle, the US immigration system is overseen by the federal government, and there are also a variety of immigration programs available for individuals who want to move to Seattle and other cities in the US. 

The specific requirements and application process for each program can vary, but generally involve submitting an application, undergoing a background check and medical examination, and attending an interview with an immigration officer.

Toronto vs Seattle: Pros and Cons

Toronto vs Seattle Pros and Cons

Toronto and Seattle are two great cities, both offering their own unique benefits and drawbacks when it comes to cost of living. To help you decide which city is cheaper for you, let’s break down the pros and cons of each.


• Toronto is a larger city, meaning more competitive prices for goods and services due to the higher demand.
• Generally, the Canadian dollar is weaker than the American dollar., allowing you to get more bang for your buck.
• Toronto has a lower tax compared to Seattle.

• Toronto’s housing market has seen a significant increase in prices over the past few years, making it difficult to find affordable options in popular neighbourhoods.

• Seattle has a strong economy, meaning that wages are slightly higher than in Toronto and job opportunities often come with generous benefits packages.
• The city offers lower property taxes and car insurance premiums than in Toronto.
• It can be easier to find cheaper housing options in popular neighbourhoods here compared to in Toronto.

• Despite the higher wages, it can still be challenging to afford basic necessities due to the high cost of living in Seattle.

By weighing up the pros and cons of each city’s cost of living, you can make an informed decision about which one will work better for your budget!

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