I recently saw a documentary about the city of Seattle, WA. Homelessness and drugs seem to be prevalent there, and the police are complaining that they are incapable of enforcing the laws in the city. Although there are homeless people and drugs in San Antonio, the homelessness is less obvious than they are in Seattle. I decided to compare the two cities as if I were deciding to relocate to either city.
The cities of Seattle, WA, and San Antonio, TX, have similar forms of government, varying populations, and differing crime statistics, all of which impact the livability for those considering relocation. Both cities feature officially elected governments, with a mayor and a multitude of various types of council members who share legislative and executive power. The distance between San Antonio, TX and Seattle, WA is 1,475.3 miles (2,374.2 kilometers) as the crow flies.
According to the 2022 US Census Bureau, the Seattle metro area is about 1.4 millions people more than that of San Antonio. At 3,976,599 people, the Seattle metro area population has a greater variety of employment options and more expansive public services and infrastructure. The San Antonio metro area population is 2,550,960, and San Antonio offers a much lower cost of living and significantly lower crime rates, with a growth rate of at least 2%. Seattle is growing at a rate of 1.8% according to the most recent US Census estimates.
On a single night in January 2020, volunteers searched major US cities and counted the number of homeless situations. This “Point-in-Time Count” is considered to be an accurate measure of the homeless population in the United States. There were just 3,023 according to the 2020 Point-In-Time count. In contrast, Seattle was “home” to 11,199 people. In downtown Seattle, drug use and homelessness is considered to have overtook the area, second only to San Francisco.
However, salaries in Seattle tend to be higher than in San Antonio, with the median household income drastically higher. The cost of living in San Antonio, TX is on average 14% lower than the cost of living in Seattle, WA. In addition, Seattle’s employment market is significantly more robust, with many more high-paying positions offered. San Antonio, on the other hand, offers a lower cost of living, with much lower taxes and cheaper housing prices. Furthermore, San Antonio’s crime rate has decreased significantly over the past few years, making it a much safer city than Seattle.
The form of city governments is very similar. In Seattle, there are nine Council Members and a Mayor, while in San Antonio, TX there are ten City Council Members and a mayor. The salaries of these City officials vary wildly. (Incidentally, this reflects the overall city salary rates) In San Antonio, each Council Member earns $60,072 while in Seattle, WA, they earn $120,143. The mayor of San Antonio earns $61,440 per year, while the mayor of Seattle earns $192,856.
In both cities, the Mayor and the City Council are responsible for adoptions and amendments to the City’s laws, as well as the budgeting process. They also have oversight of City departments and planning, and they negotiate contracts and supervise elections. City Council members are also responsible for advocating on behalf of the community they represent and working with the Mayor to ensure the health and well-being of the citizens of Seattle.
The weather in the two cities vary drastically. In Seattle the weather is generally mild. Summers are moderate with temperatures typically ranging from 55-75°F, while winters are wet and mild with temperatures typically ranging from 40-55°F. It’s super worm, even hot in San Antonio in the summer. Overall, it’s generally hot and humid. Summers are typically warm with high temperatures in the 90s, with fall temperatures hitting 100 or over, but winters are mild with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the low 70s. It very rarely snows in San Antonio, and cold temperatures can virtually shut down the city. Snow occasionally occurs in Seattle due to its distance from the equator.
The citizens of San Antonio and Seattle exhibit a certain level of diversity when it comes to their ethnic and racial makeup. In San Antonio, Hispanic or Latino individuals make up over 61% of the population, compared to Seattle, where they make up less than 10%. Additionally, Seattle has a higher percentage of white citizens (67%), while San Antonio’s population is more diverse, with African Americans, Asians and other races making up a larger proportion. San Antonio is also more politically diverse (or less politically active), with registered Democrats at 33% and Republicans at 29%. That leaves 38% of the population either unregistered or “other”. In Seattle, In Seattle, Democrats are 56% and Republicans reported 36%. Only 8% of the population claims they are unregistered or “other”.
In conclusion, I would carefully consider relocating to either city. Carefully weigh their priorities, such as salary versus cost of living and employment opportunities versus crime rate and diversity in order to determine which city might be the best fit for you. There are significant differences between the two cities. Frankly, if you want to put up with the bullshit, Seattle offers higher salaries and more expansive job opportunities, but at a higher cost of living and a much higher crime rate. If you can handle the heat, San Antonio offers much lower crime rates, a much lower cost of living, and a few good employment opportunities, but with correspondingly lower salaries. A visit to both cities is in order before you make a move.
Disclaimer: I am a San Antonio native, and I feel the city is growing exponentially. Population has doubled in my lifetime. The city is well within the “Texas Triangle,” This region has a rapidly economic, population, and cultural importance in the state. I am a bit afraid that the city will change in short order.