Is It Cheaper to Live in Montana or Washington: Cost of Living Analysis
A new study of net migration data showed that people from Washington State are moving to Montana most often. Anecdotally, the assumption is that most people who move to Montana are coming from California, or even Texas, but the top three are:
The obvious reason: Montana is cheaper than all three states in terms of real estate, but potentially other costs too.
Just How Much Cheaper?
Comparing median home values, using data from nextburb, Montana is 24% cheaper than Washington.
Montanans spend approximately $450 less on rent than Washingtonians do based on median rent prices ($810 vs $1,258).
Another factor: Montanans make less money on average.
Montanans's median household income is almost $24,000 less than the median income in Washington according to nextburb ($67,631 vs $91,306).
Other Ways Montana Is Cheaper
Gas: Montana ($3.90) is cheaper than Washington ($4.88) based on yesterday's average, almost a dollar cheaper.
Target: Seattle Pike Plaza has Soft & Strong 6 rolls of toilet paper for $8.69. Missoula Reserve has Soft & Strong 6 rolls of toilet paper for $7.99.
No Sales Tax: The state sales rate for Washington is 6.5%.
Overall Cost of Living Difference
Using RentCafe to compare costs including all cost of living expenses, if you live in Washington and want to move to Montana and you have a salary of $50,000, you could get by and maintain your same standard of living on a salary that is 13% lower. Conversely, if you're from Montana going to Washington with the same salary, to maintain the same standard of living your salary would need to be 15% higher.
The difference is likely because the costs between the states aren't the same, Montana's lack of a sales tax being the main one.