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Where Washington Residents Pay the Highest Household Bills

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How does living in Washington state affect overall cost of living, especially when it comes to household bills? doxo’s latest research, the United States of Bill Pay: Washington State Household Bill Report 2021, analyzes key expenses across the state, specifically the $2,197 that the average Washingtonian household spends on bills per month. The report shows how this average spending breaks down, and how it differs in different cities and towns across the state.

United States of Bill Pay: Washington State Household Bill Report 2021

Download full report here.

At 27 pages long, the report provides localized bill-payment data for 20 different cities and towns in Washington, ranking them in order of most to least expensive for household bills. The rankings also provide insight into relative cost of living based on the area, or the “percent of household income” that residents spend on bills. They also indicate how much more or less expensive the average city is than the national average.

The report also provides a detailed look into spending in 10 key household bill categories, specifically Mortgage; Rent; Auto Loan; Utilities (electric, gas, water & sewer, and waste & recycling); Auto Insurance; Cable & Internet & Phone, Health Insurance (consumer paid portion); Mobile Phone; Alarm & Security; and Life Insurance.

Washington State residents pay $2,197 in household bills a month

The average Washington household pays $2,197 in the 10 most common household bills per month. Rent and mortgage are the largest expenses of this share, both considerably higher than the national average. The average mortgage payment in Washington is $1,593, and 43% of households have a mortgage payment. Average rent in Washington is $1,295 per month, and 37% of households make monthly rent payments.

Other than housing-related expenses, auto loans are the largest of the 10 most common bills for Washingtonians. The average auto loan bill in Washington is $435 a month, compared to the national average of $411.

  • Average Bill Cost per HH: $2,197 per month
  • State Bill Pay Market Size: $69 billion
  • doxoINSIGHTS State Rank: 9 out of 50
  • Most Expensive Non-housing Bill: Auto Loan
  • % of HHI Used for Bills: 36%
  • % of Bills Paid by Credit Card: 15%

Utilities is also a notably higher expense for residents of Washington: the average household in the state pays $353 a month for utilities, compared to the national average of $316. Auto Insurance is also a relatively larger expense for Washingtonians: $206 a month for compared to $185 nationally. Cable & Internet, on the other hand, is slightly lower of an expense in the state: Washington residents pay $112 a month on average, compared to $115 nationally. Out-of-pocket health insurance expenses are also lower in Washington state: $108 on average a month, compared to the national average of $113.

The Washington State report (as well as our Washington infographic page) also contains data about what percentage of households in the state pay a particular bill, and what the average annual cost per household is for each category.

Average Washington Household Bill Spending

Bill CategoryAverage Washington Monthly BillNational Average Monthly Bill
Mortgage$1,593$1,279
Rent$1,295$1062
Auto Loan$435$411
Utilities$353$316
Auto Insurance$206$185
Cable & Internet$112$115
Health Insurance$108$113
Mobile Phone$98$102
Alarm & Security$106$87
Life Insurance$90$88

See more details about the report’s state-wide rankings below. You’ll also be able to access detailed infographics about each major metro by clicking on the hyperlinks in the “City” column in the “5 Most Expensive Cities” and “5 Least Expensive Cities” tables. You can also browse doxoINSIGHTS’ regional bill comparison database to see infographics about more than 900 cities and towns across all 50 states in the US (towns and cities are demarcated by the US Census Bureau’s Core Based Statistical Areas).

Seattle tops list of most expensive cities in Washington

Perhaps unsurprisingly, residents of the Seattle metro area (including Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma) pay the highest household bills in the state of Washington, at an average of $2,553 per month, which is 35.2% higher than the national average of $1,889. Bellingham comes second in the rankings, with residents paying $2,152 on average per month.

Note: Some city data includes surrounding metro areas and neighboring towns, as designated in the US Census Bureau’s Core Based Statistical Areas. Click the infographic links in the tables below to see the full CBSA names (for example, the “Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue area.”

5 Most Expensive Washington Cities for Household Bills

Rank
(1-20)
CityMonthly Bill Expenses Per Household*Percent of Household IncomePercent +/- National Average ($1,889)
1Seattle$2,55335.9%+35.2%
2Bellingham$2,15243.9%+13.9%
3Olympia$2,14036.8%+13.3%
4Oak Harbor$2,06637.8%+9.4%
5Bremerton$2,04733.2%+8.4%

*Household Bill Pay Expense averages shown above reflect the ten most common bills paid, including housing (rent/mortgage).

See full report for details.

In proportion to household income, however, Bellingham bills are costlier than ones in Seattle. While Seattle’s monthly bill basket makes up 35.9% of average household income there, Bellingham’s bill basket accounts for 8% more of average household income: 43.9%

Olympia, Oak Harbor and Bremerton round out the list of the 5 most expensive towns and cities in the state of Washington, all with bill baskets that cost over $2,000 per month. The top 5 most expensive cities tend to be clustered around the northwest of the state, near major water bodies or on the coast.

Moses Lake is the least expensive Washington city

The most affordable cities and towns in Washington, meanwhile, tend to be far more inland, and located in eastern and central Washington. Moses Lake, for example, is the most affordable, with residents paying $1,578 on average for household bills, 16.5% lower than the national average. This expense accounts for 34.5% of local household income in Moses Lake.

Shelton comes in at the second most affordable town or city in Washington out of the 20 doxoINSIGHTS has ranked, with residents paying $1,616 per month on average, at 14.4% lower than the national average. These bill expenses account for 34.7% of local household income in Shelton.

Rounding out the list of 5 least expensive cities in Washington are Othello ($1,623 per month), Aberdeen ($1,643 per month), and Longview ($1,693 per month).

5 Least Expensive Washington Cities for Household Bills

Rank
(1-20)
CityMonthly Bill Expense Per HouseholdPercent of Household IncomePercent +/- National Average ($1,889)
16Longview$1,68338.6%-10.9%
17Aberdeen$1,64341.1%-13.0%
18Othello$1,62337.7%-14.1%
19Shelton$1,61634.7%-14.4%
20Moses Lake$1,57834.5%-16.5%

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some Washingtonians may be deciding whether to move from a more expensive city to a less expensive one. doxoINSIGHTS’ report can be a valuable resource for consumers seeking to make decisions like this, allowing them to compare average expenses in different cities. They can also use doxoINSIGHTS’ regional bill comparison database to compare average costs for over 900 towns and cities across the country.

Last month, research from doxo also showed how the rise in remote work also led to elevated household expenses in certain key bill categories, specifically Utilities, Cable & Internet, and Mobile Phone.

Read the full Washington State report (27 pages) here. If you have any questions or would like to sign up for updates to doxoINSIGHTS’ research, email aria.thaker@doxo.com

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