Seattle Vs. Atlanta: Which City Is Better to Live In?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

You might have seen both Atlanta and Settle on television. Heck, you might have even taken a quick trip there before. It’s easy to see why so many people tend to like visiting these two major tourist hotspots. Both cities are booming in both entertainment gigs as well as interest from people trying to move in. Curious to find out which is the best option?

Seattle is known for having a high cost of living, but has high wages to back things up. Atlanta boasts low real estate prices, a decent living wage, and a world-class entertainment setup. People love the food in both, but the transportation tends to be tougher in Seattle. Atlanta has high heat and humidity, while it’s often temperate and rainy in Seattle.

It’s very possible to enjoy an amazing lifestyle in both cities, most tend to lean towards one or another.

Which City Is Better: Seattle Or Atlanta?

Trying to compare Seattle and Atlanta is like comparing coffee to peach nectar. It’s like apples and oranges. What we’re saying is that people tend to prefer one or the other, or appreciate both in different ways.

Quality Of Life

Seattle and Atlanta both have their perks and pitfalls. Seattle is known for attracting big tech, while Atlanta is more of a blue-collar place. While both have their art scenes, the differences are pretty notable. Atlanta has that classic Southern swagger, while Seattle tends to have a slightly hippie-ish vibe to it.

Most people are happier in Atlanta when compared to the overall mood in Seattle. Due to the fact that Seattle is noted for being the most depressing city in America, we’re going to give Atlanta the win here.

Winner: Atlanta

Cost Of Living

There is no way to mince words. Seattle is far more expensive than what you will find in Atlanta. Seattle’s cost of living index is around 172.3, compared to Atlanta’s 107.5. This means that Seattle is closer to living in New York City. Meanwhile, Atlanta is going to be closer in price to a typical, average American town.

No matter how you try to justify it, living in a place like Seattle will yield a lower quality of life simply because you’re going to have to earn more just to make sure that you get the same stuff.

Winner: Atlanta

Housing Costs

Seattle’s sky-high home prices could make a New Yorker get a little nervous, and rightfully so. The city is going through a major housing price crisis, and the prices of a home don’t match typical wages in the area. The prices in Atlanta are still sane, which makes it over 60 percent cheaper to buy a home there.

Average Cost 1 BR Apartment$1,500$1,550
Median Home Price$259,000$714,400

Winner: Atlanta

Job Market

Honestly, it’s hard to compare these two markets. Atlanta is known for having more blue-collar jobs with lower wages. Seattle’s arts and tech firms have started to pump up the median income of families across the board. The one thing we can say about both places is that we’re seeing a huge influx of jobs over the next 10 years.

In other words, both places can offer a good place to start getting work as long as you choose the city with the right job market for your field. Seattle is more likely to require a degree. The low tax rates, low crime, and great jobs make Seattle a good place to live.

Atlanta Seattle
Projected 10-Year Growth46.8%45%
Median Household Income$59,948$92,263
Median Personal Income$34,218$49,293


Both Atlanta and Seattle have cultures that draw thousands of visitors every year.

Atlanta is all about Southern charm. There’s a heavy emphasis on the city’s peaches, lots of music, basketball, and Southern cooking. If you love the idea of soaking up the culture of the deep south, then this is the best place to go. With that said, the city is also pretty famous for having a serious hip-hop influence.

Seattle is a little bit gloomy and is highly artsy. This is the kind of place where people go when they want to get in touch with their inner artists. Gorgeous views, art galleries, fashion, and a lot of literature tends to be what people love about Seattle. Oh, and did we mention the coffee? And the food? Because they’re great.

Winner: Tied


Oh, my oh my. Where do we begin? In terms of dining, both Seattle and Atlanta are places where you can expect to see a lot of food that is famous around the world. Seattle is known for its coffee (Hello Starbucks!) as well as its wildly popular craft brews. It also has a fairly active pastry scene and a hyper-popular gastropub scene.

When it comes to Atlanta, it’s time to loosen your belt up a notch. You are going to find yourself inundated with peach pies, grits, bourbon, and absolutely mouthwatering spreads of Southern cuisine. If you’re up for decadent food that’s bad for your waistline, you’re going to fall in love with Georgia…and that includes Atlanta. Mint julep, anyone?

In terms of other leisure goods, you’ve got lots of sports and basketball items in Georgia. Though both have art museums and performing arts, Seattle tends to be more famous for its arts district. When it comes to national parks, both Seattle and Atlanta are close to similarly popular venues.

Winner: Tied


Have a rough commute? Well, so do a lot of people in Seattle. The city has a little bit of a traffic jam problem, especially near the center of town. Parking, too, can be a little rough. Even so, Seattle still has an average commute time of only 27 minutes, a single minute above the national average of 26. Where does Atlanta stand, you ask? Typical commutes are right with the national average…26 minutes in total.

Winner: Atlanta


Most of the cities that we’ve compared so far have pretty similar demographics, but this is not the case when you look at Atlanta and Seattle. Seattle is 65 percent white, making it a white-majority city. Atlanta’s population is only around 35 percent white, making it one of the most diverse major cities in the United States.

The other large demographics are Asians (14 percent) for Seattle and African Americans (51.3 percent) for Atlanta. So, the makeup of the cities is very different. If you prefer a lot of diversity, then you will want to pick Atlanta.

Winner: Atlanta


Education is kind of a hot-button topic in both cities. Both Atlanta and Seattle have high school graduation rates in the high 80s and 90s, making them both education-friendly places. Atlanta spends over $16,000 per student, while Seattle spends $12,000. Around 61 percent of Seattle residents have a college degree. This is a far cry from Atlanta, which has the college grad rate at around 48.6 percent.

Either way, both cities have a higher education rate that stands far above the norm. It’s admirable.

Winner: Seattle


We don’t need to really go here, do we? Well, let’s do it anyway. Atlanta has hot, humid weather that occasionally gets hit with hurricanes. If you love the dog days of summer, this is the place to be. Seattle, on the other hand, is regularly voted as one of the gloomiest cities in America due to its weather. Seattle gets rain. A lot of it. And clouds. Lots of clouds.

So, if you’re a vampire-like person who can’t stand the sun like the author of this article, Seattle will work well for you. If you love the summer and warmth, you’ll enjoy Atlanta.

Crime Rates

Crime is never fun, and sadly, both cities have a crime rate that’s above the national average. Both Atlanta and Seattle have roughly double the crime of a regular town. With that said, police reports revealed something interesting. Seattle tends to have the same property crime rate as Atlanta, which means that theft and vandalism are pretty commonplace in both areas.

However, when it comes to violent crime rates, Atlanta has a far higher occurrence. While both Seattle and Atlanta have gang presence in their neighborhoods, police reports suggest that the gang activity in Atlanta is far more violent. Crime is high in the city, and you’ll want to know the most dangerous neighborhoods in Atlanta.

Winner: Seattle

Related Questions

What foods should you try in Seattle?

Seattle has a very popular foodie scene that makes most other cities turn green with envy. Along with being the birthplace of Starbucks, Seattle has its own fair share of foods that make it a foodie paradise. The biggest thing you need to try while you’re here has to be the seafood. Oysters, fresh fish, and crab are notoriously tasty here.We also suggest the craft beer, just because it’s pretty neat.

What is the Seattle Freeze?

While many cities are famous for their friendliness, Seattle is famous for its Freeze. More specifically, people here tend to have a very icy, exclusionary demeanor when they’re talking to people they don’t know. It can make it hard for newbies to make friends, feel accepted, or even feel happy.

What foods are famous in Atlanta?

Atlanta is a gastronomic paradise. We strongly suggest trying the barbecue, grits, freshly picked peaches, as well as some of the seafood. Since the Coca-Cola factory is in Atlanta, everyone’s favorite soft drink is also a part of the local culture.

The Verdict

It’s really hard to pick just one city, but when it comes to the basic staples that most people want to have, Seattle might be the better pick. While the cost of living is high, so are the wages. Unemployment is low. Getting home from work might be slightly longer, but you’ll also have a safer overall time here. With that said, it’s not hating on Atlanta. Either city would be a major win!

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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