Right across the Potomac River from each other the two centers of economic development and growing populations, Arlington, VA and Washington D.C. are coexisting quite harmoniously. Each stands by to answer and supply the others' needs without asking any questions. From jobs to tourism they both have plenty of options available to offer their residents. Afterall, they were initially part of the same square … quite literally as George Washington drew a square on the map when he selected the location for the U.S. capital. In the end, however, only the Eastern part of Potomac River became our nation’s capital and the Western side became Arlington.
If you’re looking into moving to one of these two conglomerates, you have to take into consideration the reason why you’re moving in the first place and there are some things you should know before moving to Arlington, VA for example. Whether it is work or family, hopefully the following comparing analysis will help you decide which suits you better. A comparison between the two will be something like comparing apples to oranges, but there are certain similarities that can make things a bit difficult no matter how different they are in other parts of the spectrum.
As the biggest influencer on the cost of living on each side of the Potomac River, housing will be the first thing that we’re going to dissect. When looking at Washington D.C. its housing market is neutral with plenty of requests and enough listings to respond to the demand. This influenced the price over the last few years by making them grow steadily and settling at a somewhat acceptable value. A median home value in Washington D.C. is currently at $638,000 which is not incredibly high considering the fact that it is the nation’s capital. The median price for homes that were sold recently is $576,000. You can get in touch with real estate agents in Washington D.C. for guidance if you decide to move here.
Arlington, VA can be considered adjacent to Washington D.C. as housing prices are not what one might expect. Many people believe that it might be cheaper to live in Arlington and work in D.C. but, unfortunately, that logic can’t hold up when we look at the price tag. With fewer listings available on the market than there are demands, the prices grew as Arlington, VA became a seller’s market. Currently, the median home value in Arlington is $750,000 and the median price for the homes that were sold recently is $661,000. With not enough inventory, sellers control the prices and so Arlington, VA became more expensive in real estate than Washington D.C. Renting in Arlington, VA is a viable, and maybe better option currently. There are real estate agents in Arlington VA who can help you whether you decide to rent or buy.
On both sides of Potomac River, however, homeownership is lower than the national average with both having more renters. In Washington D.C. only 41.8% of residents own the housing they inhabit while in Arlington, VA the percentage of ownership is at 43.5%
Washington D.C. has a median household income of $91,000 but there are very big differences when it comes to the industry you work in. The best areas for employment in the capital are the judicial system or the government. Either would allow for a comfortable living in Washington D.C. but if you come from a different background, owning is not obligatory. You can look into finding affordable rent in Washington as many millennials, as well as the biggest half of the D.C. residents, do.
D.C. can pride itself on the largest GDP (gross domestic products) per capita but it has an unemployment rate of 5.2% which is the fourth-highest in the U.S.
In Arlington, VA the median household income is around $122,000 which is relatively higher than D.C.’s but this difference is necessary when you take into account the housing markets. When comparing the unemployment rate the state of Virginia wins big time with 2.7% but it does have a GDP at 1.6% which is lower than the U.S. average of 2.1%.
This is where the big differences begin. The crime rates in Washington D.C. have decreased in recent years and currently there are 60 crimes per 1,000 residents. Compared to Arlington, VA, however, the reason why families choose Arlington over Washington becomes clear. In regards to the crime rate in Arlington, VA for every 1,000 residents there are 14 crimes. If in Washington the chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime are 1 to 100, in Arlington the chance is 1 in 724. When it comes to property crimes, in Washington there is a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim, while in Arlington there is a 1 in 77 chance of falling victim to property crime.
With the larger number of police officers, Arlington, VA wins against Washington D.C. when it comes to safety, by a relatively long shot.
With a quick look at the educational system on both sides of the Potomac River we see another difference. While Arlington, VA has the best school district in Washington, D.C. Area, D.C’s school district is ranked in ninth place. Arlington is only struggling with building more schools as the demand increases with each new young family that relocates there. Washington fails to rise to the challenge, that’s not to say however that the schools in D.C. aren’t good. The schools in District of Columbia just aren’t as great as the ones in Arlington. Even at the highschool level Arlington wins by 4% more graduates even if the school district in Arlington doesn’t manage to invest as much as D.C. in it’s students.
Now here is one that Washington D.C. wins. If you want a busy and ecstatic nightlife, Washington D.C. is the location for you, at least from the two options. In Washington you have clubs, piano bars, pubs as well as sports bars, pretty much anything for anyone when it comes to places to go at night. In Arlington, VA the nightlife is there but it’s less exuberant as its Washington equivalent. There is a wide variety of bars and restaurants in Arlington but for the clubs Washington D.C. is just a cab ride away. Arlington is more suited for the more at ease residents and, dare we say it, more family life oriented than Washington D.C.. There are plenty of young adults in Arlington, VA but in this particular instance Arlington can be seen as a suburb of Washington as D.C. is the Big City of the two.
ConclusionRegardless of which one you wind up choosing, they both have their share of benefits and disadvantages. It all depends on what kind of life you usually lead and what are the most important things for you. You can live in Arlington, VA while you work in Washington D.C. or the other way around, however it’s better to live close to your workplace for financial reasons. For either you'll find top Realtors on The Official Real Estate Agent Directory®.
Let us know which one you think it’s better for you in the comments below and why. We are curious to find out, for educational purposes of course. Like & Share with your friends and family as this competition needs to have a winner. Tell us what the results are.