35 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Washington State

Ryan Nickum

Mar 25

State Profiles

Home to over 7 million people, Washington state has incredible wilderness areas, modern cities, and a diversity of geography and people. Sure, it rubs up against Canada, and it’s littered with earthquake fault lines and explosive volcanoes, but it does have plenty of upsides. However, before you decide to live there and buy a home there are 31 things you should probably know…

Very few potty mouths

According to a study by the Marchex Institute, residents of Washington state swear less than any other state. If you don’t want to live surrounded by Ned Flanders consider living in Ohio. Those #$%@ing @!#$s swear way #&%$ing more than people in any other #%$!ing state.

So many cat people

If you long to meet someone barricaded in their apartment knitting sweaters for their dozen cats then Washington state is your heaven. The state has the fifth most cat owners per capita, the most expressed Facebook interest in cats, and residents even report dreaming about cats more than in any other state.

Area men not so rugged anymore

Washington men were once rugged types, making a living working in the woods or at sea. Now they are primarily sedentary desk jockeys who venture into the elements only when outfitted in the latest polar fleece and Gore-tex. Use caution when approaching them. They are skittish creatures.

Extreme enthusiasm for holiday music

If the idea of Christmas carols in September makes you want to puke your guts out then you might want to cross Washington state off your list. Despite being one of the least religious states in country, it still has plenty of holiday spirit. Washington has the fourth most downloads of holiday music, and it’s the birthplace of Bing Crosby, who popularized “White Christmas,” that song you can’t get out of your head until sometime in February.

Incapable of fending off zombie attack

When the zombie apocalypse inevitably occurs, Washington state will not survive (here’s proof). The state is ranked 31st in preparedness to fight off an army of the undead. RIP Washington.

Sometimes the mountains explode

Washington state is home to five active volcanoes, all of which go boom on occasion. The largest, Mt. Rainier, is overdue for an eruption, while it’s volatile sister Mt. St. Helens blew its top back in 1980. Volcanoes are a real danger for those who live in the shadow of these mountains, or in the river valleys that drain them.

Locals loathe Justin Bieber

Out of every U.S. state and Canadian province, Washington state has the fewest Justin Bieber fans per capita. If you’re a fan of this troubled man-child you might consider taking your shameful taste in music to West Virginia, the state with the most true Beliebers.

It’s got a really boring flag

Aside from states still using flags depicting the Confederate battle flag, Washington state’s flag is possibly the lamest in the country. This is no critique of George Washington handsome appearance, it’s just the flag doesn’t really look cool on a T-shirt or a bumpersticker. It’s certainly not as iconic as the Lone Star Flag of Texas, and it’s lacking a cool bear like California’s.

No income tax, but…

Washington is one of seven states with no income tax, which sounds great except it masks that Washington actually has the most regressive tax system in the country. If you’re among the very wealthy, or if you’re an exceptional NFL free agent considering the Seahawks (please consider the Seahawks), Washington is a great state for you to maintain your wealth. However, if you’re poor or middle class, a far higher percentage of your income will be going to state and local governments.

Beer paradise

Do you enjoy carbonated beverages made from hops and malted barley? Well, Washington state is craft beer heaven. The state had the second most permitted breweries in the country, trailing only California, which is a lot bigger. On top of that, Washington produces more hops than any other U.S. state, and more than any country but Germany.

You might bump into Bigfoot

Bigfoot obviously isn’t real, unless of course he is. Is he? Regardless of what you believe it doesn’t change the fact that more people report seeing the furry biped in Washington than in any other state. It’s just one reason why Washington state was named the “#1 State for Bigfoot to Live.”

Smoking same-sex weddings

Are you pot smoker who wants to marry someone of the same sex? Marijuana and same-sex marriage are both legal in Washington, and not because of a court ruling. Residents of the state voted to legalize both in recent years.

How about them apples?

Washington state is the largest producer of apples in the United states. That’s a straight up fact! Over 58% of all apples grown in the U.S. are grown in Washington, and yet it’s New York City that’s called the Big Apple?

Home to the richest person in the world

His name is Bill Gates and he has riches galore. You may have a lot of riches, but he has much more. And someday his super duper Gates Foundation is going to rid the world of malaria and people in Washington will be able to say, “My neighbor cured the world of Malaria and yours just borrows your stupid lawn mower.”

Washington state is geographically like a McDLT

The Cascade Mountain Range divides Washington state in half. The western half of the state has a moderate climate with plentiful rainfall, while the eastern half has a drier climate with greater temperature extremes and sunnier skies. Basically, when it’s summer the state is like McDonalds’ long since canceled McDLT. The marine air keeps the west side cool, while the Cascade Mountains keep the east side hot.

There’s no “R” in Washington

Despite being spelled W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N there are millions of Americans who insist on pronouncing it Warshington. What causes people to sneak an “R” into the name is a mystery, but if you insist on mispronouncing it you should probably stay in Kenturcky or Idahor, or Massachusserts or wherever you’re from.

Got a thing for sailors?

Every week is Fleet Week in Washington state because Puget Sound is the U.S. Navy’s third largest concentration area. There are 21,000 active duty service members, 16,000 civilian employees, 6,000 drilling reservists, and 35,000 Navy retirees. Your Maverick, Goose, or Charlie could be out there.

Strange internet search history

In an Estately study of what each U.S. state Googles more than any other state there were some surprising results. Residents of Washington state were tops for searches of the following:  circumcision, Dungeons & Dragons, gluten, Judas Priest (band), non-alcoholic beer, pho, quinoa, Rachel Maddow (TV host), unicorn tattoo, and happy hour.

Mt. Rainier named for enemy of America

Mt. Rainier is a stunning, 14,411-foot volcano that towers over Washington state. For some dumb reason it’s named for British Admiral Peter Rainier Jr., a rotund navy man who once fought against the Americans in the Revolutionary War. While the mountain and the man both have immense size in common, Mt. Rainier should really be renamed for someone more worthy, or at least called Mt. Tahoma as it once was. Maybe if you move to Washington and do something awesome they’ll name the mountain after you?

3rd cheapest electricity

Electricity rates in Washington are less than seven cents per kilowatt, third cheapest in the country. The reason the price is right is because the state derives much of its electricity from hydroelectric dams built during the 1930s and 1940s. These giant blocks of concrete are terrible for salmon, but they allow you to leave every light in the house on all day and night like you’re a dang Rockefeller.

It’s where pickleball was invented

Washington is renowned for its innovative companies so it’s no surprise the sport of pickleball was invented there. Legend has it three Bainbridge Island men returned home to find their families bored and attempted to set up a badminton court. When they couldn’t find the shuttlecock they grabbed a Wiffleball, lowered the badminton net, and made paddles from scraps of plywood. The game is now played in local physical education classes. Do you think have what it takes to be the Roger Federer of pickleball?

High unemployment

While many people are moving to Washington state for work, the state does have an unemployment rate of 6.4%—ninth highest in the country. That’s higher than neighboring Oregon (6.3%) and Idaho (4.1%).

Political divisions

More populated western Washington, dominated by large cities like Seattle, is far more liberal than the rest of the state. Eastern Washington is home to more social conservatives, with majorities opposing same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization, and gun control measures. This divide has led some in eastern Washington to call for splitting the state into separate states. This pipe dream is going nowhere, but it’s representative of the contentious nature of Washington state’s internal politics.

Nerd paradise

In states with low nerd populations (Mississippi, New Jersey…) people have to hide their love of Star Trek, cosplay, and comic books. Not so in Washington where nerds are abundant. The state placed sixth in recent nerd rankings, earning especially high scores in enthusiasm for “Lord of the Rings” and Magic: The Gathering. Washington is a wedgie-free zone.

Few firearms

Washington is located in America so you can be certain there are guns everywhere. However, the state ranks 15th for fewest registered firearms. To put it in perspective, there are nearly 23 times more registered guns in Wyoming than there are in Washington.

Lots of hunting land

In addition to low gun ownership, Washington is home to large numbers of people who don’t eat meat. On top of that, 31% of the state is public lands where hunting is allowed—the 11th highest percentage in the country. If you’re a hunter you can interpret this to mean you’ll have little competition when it comes to shooting various game birds and furry woodland creatures.

Property crime is in vogue

Washington state has a low rate of violent crime, but apparently that’s because the state’s criminals are too busy stealing cars, bikes, and iPhones. Washington has the highest rate of property crime of any state and it’s only getting worse.

Highest minimum wage in U.S.—$9.47 per hour

If you’re stuck making minimum wage in America you can’t do any better than Washington state. Full time minimum wage workers in Washington earn $19,697 per year, over $4,500 more than those making the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Plus, the minimum wage is tied to inflation so it automatically goes up. Workers in Seattle will even earn $15 per hour in the future.

Surprising number of megachurches

Washington is the eighth least-religious state, but it somehow has the eighth most megacurches per capita of any state (protestant churches with sustained weekly attendance over 2,000). Not only that, but it’s the only one in top nine that isn’t in the South.

Internet built for speed

According to the Washington Post, 83% of individuals polled in Washington reported living in a home with high-speed internet access, the eighth highest in the country. Last place Mississippi reported just 62.3%, which is terrible.

Swimming in wine

California produces the most wine of any state, but Washington comes in second. In fact, Washington produces four times as much as neighboring Oregon.

Dreariness and gloom

According to a recent study, Seattle has the dreariest weather in the country (tied with Buffalo). When accounting for total precipitation, wet days, and cloudiness, western Washington is a gloomy, dark, and dreary place. Eastern Washington is pretty nice. Kind of methy at times, but pretty sunny.

Not prepared for sunny days

Because the sun vanishes for months and months the locals don’t show a lot of skin. When a sunny day finally does appear not everyone is prepared for it. Tasks like shaving legs are often put off.

No Guy Fieri restaurants

There are no Guy Fieri restaurants in Washington state. Zero. There are no plans for any. None.

People won’t shut up about kale

Have you tried kale? Did you know it’s a superfood? Did you know it’s about the only thing people can grow in their gardens year round in Washington? For some reason, Washingtonians can’t get enough of this leafy green. It’s a lot like lettuce, but much harder to chew. The state is ranked 4th for overall kale enthusiasm and has the highest percentage of restaurants featuring kale on the menu.

Geographical differences

Beyond the East/West divide, there are plenty of other divisions within the state. It is not a homogenous grouping of clones in rain jackets. Washington is a geographical smorgasbord and you are free to take your pick.



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