The Cost of Living in Washington, DC

As the center of political infrastructure in the United States, there is much demand for talented employees in Washington, DC. The largest industries in the capital city are the professional and government spheres followed by education, health, commerce, transportation, utilities, and hospitality. Unemployment has been steadily decreasing since 2011, and wages are on the rise. However, while pay is seeing a slight increase, the cost of living is at a significantly sharper increase, especially in the domain of housing cost.

downtown Washington, DC overlooking white house

Washington, DC is a promising city for gainful employment and career-building, but the cost of living is out of scope for most renters. The average rent in DC is $2,224 per month, compared to only $1,661 in the nearby metropolitan city of Gaithersburg. Not only are the majority of renters paying more than two grand per month, most live in studio or one-bedroom apartments, averaging 744 square feet. For contrast, the average renter in Gaithersburg lives in a one to two bedroom apartment of 916 square feet. The stark comparison means Washington, DC is a great place to work but an expensive city to live in. Commuting from a nearby city is often the best option. 

When it comes to buying a house, DC buyers spend nearly twice as much as Gaithersburg buyers on the same house. In 2018, the average home value in Washington, DC was $566,800. Compared to the $367,200 average home value in Gaithersburg, it can take years longer to build a suitable down payment. While the United States capital has a rich variety of career opportunities not found elsewhere, it’s wise to consider purchasing a home outside the city. 

Commuting is a popular alternative for people who work in Washington, DC. There are several quality options, but Gaithersburg is often selected for its metropolitan atmosphere and proximity to the capital: just 20 miles away. See how to commute from Gaithersburg to Washington, DC via public transportation.

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