Washington Vs. Tennessee: Which State Is Better To Live In?

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by Upgraded Home Team

Choosing the best state between Tennessee and Washington is complex, with these two dramatically different cultures and markets. While one state is landlocked and at the heart of the country, the other is on the coast, open to fair trade and Asian markets.

Washington state is the better location because this state offers a unique blend of culture and tradition that has been formed through centuries of trade and cooperation. The top-ranked school districts and relatively safe cities are attractive for young families. Further, the remarkable outdoor space with multiple National Parks makes Washington the perfect place to relocate to.

Tennessee is not to be overlooked with a solid African American heritage and a love for art and music. This state offers very affordable living costs and housing options, which can be hard to beat. If you are considering moving to either Washington or Tennessee, think about the individual cities of interest and make a deeper comparison to find the best option for you and your family.

Which State Is Better: Tennessee or Washington?

To determine which state is better, we look at several metrics. We understand that each state has significant cities and smaller suburbs which can fluctuate drastically when it comes to income levels, crime statistics, and education opportunities.

In each case, we try to collect a good blend of data encompassing the entire state to give you an accurate and fair portrayal of each state’s pros and cons. We want to consider each state as the average person lives and functions so that our recommendations can be valuable yet relatable.

Quality of Life

Understanding the quality of life in a state is imperative for overall happiness. Both Washington and Tennessee have an extremely high quality of life, but Washington dwarfs Tennessee. Not only will residents have more purchasing power in Washington, but they will also experience better healthcare, lower pollution, and a safer community. Although residents in Washington will have to suffer through higher housing costs and longer commutes, this state will deliver more opportunities for residents.

Winner: Washington

Cost of Living

Overall, Washington will be far more expensive compared to Tennessee. Costs will be inflated by about 41%. Housing is a significant contributor to these increased costs, with housing about 63% higher in Washington. Transportation and food will also be cheaper in Tennessee compared to Washington. However, those living in Washington will experience much lower utility costs and about a 13% savings on healthcare.

Winner: Tennessee

Housing Costs

The biggest difference between these two states when it comes to living is the price of housing. Washington state averages a much higher home sale price which is nearly double that of Tennessee. It follows that rent appropriately for a one-bedroom apartment is also about double the amount. Of course, more rural or suburban areas away from major cities like Seattle and Tacoma will also see much lower home prices.

Median House Price$221,000$397,900
Average Rent 1 BDRM$987$1,889

Winner: Tennessee

Job Market

Many areas of Tennessee have seen dramatically low unemployment rates that are far lower than national averages. A high job growth projection bolsters this encouraging sign of the state’s economy for the next ten years. Still, the median income is on par with national averages, making this a stable place for individuals and families alike.

Comparatively, Washington has a significantly higher unemployment rate which is well above the national average. Although this is alarming, the median incomes are also considerably higher, helping to balance the dramatic discrepancy.

Projected 10-Year Growth42.3%23.5%
Median Household Income$43,786$78,687
Median Personal Income$34,093$38,915

Winner: Tennessee


Tennessee has a strong culture that is influenced by its historical past. This state has heavy African American influences that permeate day-to-day life, including art, music, and cuisine. Daily activity is based in southern hospitality, and in many parts of the state, residents will have the opportunity to listen to live rock, country, blues, or jazz music.

Due to the high amount of Pacific trade, Washington state has a broad range of harmoniously blended cultures, mixing tradition, cuisine, art, and music. Washington is home to a solid Asian, Native American, and Scandinavian influence. There is a strong push for outdoor adventure, and outside of major cities, the tone is calm, casual, and relaxing.

Winner: Washington


There is something for everyone to enjoy in Tennessee. Residents who live the nightlife will have fun exploring Nashville and its lively music scene. History buffs can enjoy visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame or the Johnny Cash Museum. Outdoor enthusiasts can visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or the Big South Fork National River and Recreation area.

Not to be outdone, Washington State is home to Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park. This state has a coastline with beaches well suited for water sports or a bustling metropolis for urban adventure. Seattle, Washington, is home to Pike Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium, and the iconic Seattle Space Needle, attracting tourists worldwide.

Winner: Washington


Transportation throughout Tennessee is hit or miss, depending on the city you are living in. Some major cities, like Nashville, are lacking public transportation options. In contrast, smaller towns, like Knoxville and Memphis, have a better transportation infrastructure established with a dedicated bus or light rail system. Regardless, Tennessee has a wonderfully developed highway system that allows residents to connect to fellow cities throughout the country easily.

Washington is very similar, and the transportation is largely dependent on the location within the state. Major cities like Seattle have a wonderful public transit system, including light rail and bus, that helps to connect the city to the international airport and the surrounding residential areas. Commuting through Seattle can be complicated and congested, but there are many area highways throughout the state.

Winner: Washington


While the individual cities throughout Tennessee are incredibly diverse, the state as a whole lacks diversity. The state is over 78% White, 17% Black, and just 2% Asian. The state’s statistics paint a very different picture than mostly Black and Hispanic populations in the urban areas.

Washington state offers very similar pictures when the entire state is examined. While major cities like Seattle are a poster child for diversity, the state as a whole is rather bland. Washington’s population is made up of 78% White citizens, 9% Asian citizens, 4% Black citizens, and 2% Native American citizens.

Winner: Tie


Washington state has some of the best school systems throughout the country, and both the public and private schools are much higher than the national average when it comes to standardized test scores. Grade schools and high schools are highly regarded in Washington state for their academics and athletics. Higher education is widely available in Washington State University, Western Washington University, Seattle University, and Whitman College.

The public and private school systems in Tennessee are largely dependent on the city. Some cities, like Nashville and Memphis, have substandard school systems, while other cities, like Knoxville, have phenomenal schools. To make up for the lacking grade schools and high schools, Tennessee is home to some prestigious colleges and universities, including Vanderbilt University, University of Tennessee, Belmont University, and the University of Memphis.

Winner: Tennessee


Tennessee weather is rather temperate and comfortable throughout the year. In some areas of the state, summer temperatures can reach into the 90s. Winter temperatures can hover around 40 degrees F for some parts of the state. Tennessee is home to some severe storm systems which can produce high winds and hail.

Although Seattle has a bad reputation for being the rainiest city in the country, the weather isn’t really that bad. Summer temperatures are comfortable, usually reaching into the low 70s. Winter temperatures can dip into the high 30s, but snow is a rarity. While there is a significant amount of precipitation in this city, it is not the rainiest city in the United States. Despite the colder temperatures, Seattle has a slight edge in weather because at least day to day weather is predictable.

Winner: Washington

Crime Rates

Crime throughout Tennessee is much higher than the national average, with much of the crime centralized in major urban areas. On average, much of the state is double the national standards for violent crimes like rape, murder, and assault. Unsurprisingly, property crimes like theft and burglary are also much higher than the national average.

Comparatively, Washington state also has much of the crime centered in major city centers. Seattle is the top city for crimes, followed by Tacoma. For every 100,000 people, there were 311 total cases of violent crime. While this may seem significant, it is about average compared to other states in the country.

Winner: Washington

Related Questions

Are there good beaches in Washington state?

The entire west coast of Washington runs along the Pacific Ocean, giving residents plenty of beach access. While there are some stunning vistas and opportunities for water sports, the beaches in Washington are often too cold for swimming. Still, it is perfectly possible to play on the beach, build a sandcastle, or enjoy a day in nature.

Are there dangerous animals in Tennessee?

Tennessee is home to some big mammals, like black bears, but these are usually not the animals residents have to worry about if they enjoy a day in nature. There are several poisonous snakes, like copperheads and rattlesnakes, that call Tennessee home.Further, there are dangerous insects like brown recluse spiders and black widows prevalent in the area. But, with the proper precautionary measures and a keen eye, most residents will be able to avoid any unfortunate run-ins with dangerous animals and insects.


Determining a winner between these two states is complicated, with the many differences between them. However, in the end, Washington state is the clear winner. Washington state is fun for just about everyone, with plenty to do outdoors and a bustling urban flair in the central city centers. Although housing prices are much higher than in Tennessee, this city also offers a higher median income, better schools, and lower crime rates, especially when residents move away from major urban areas.

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