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Seattle vs. Boston: A Showdown of Super Bowl Cities

How do cities represented in Super Bowl 49 stack up?

By Livability.com on January 27, 2015

Most odds makers are putting the New England Patriots as a two-point favorite over the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s Super Bowl. That’s how the teams match up, but what about the cities they represent? We decided to do our own city vs. city matchup to determine whether Boston, Mass., or Seattle, Wash., is the best place to live. Consider this our inaugural Livability Bowl.

First, let’s take an initial look at the contenders.

Boston, Mass.

  • Founded: 1630
  • Current Population of the Metro Area: 4.6 million (10th largest population in the nation)
  • Median household income: $72,907 (More than $20,000 above the national median).
  • Median home value: $363,200. More than $189,000 higher than the national median.
  • Average commute to work: 30 minutes

Seattle, Wash. 

  • Founded: 1851 
  • Current Population of the Metro Area: 3.6 million (15th largest population in the nation)
  • Median household income: $67,479 ($15,000 above the national median).
  • Median home value: $307,900 ($134,000 higher than the national median).
  • Average commute to work: 28.6 minutes

*Data from the U.S. Census Super Bowl XLIX report.

So Seattle has the initial edge for offering more affordable housing and a shorter commute. But let’s dig in a bit deeper, and take a look at the Liv Scores these cities get. Our 2015 Top 100 Best Places to Live list ranks only cities with populations under 350,000, so that’s why you won’t find Boston or Seattle there.  

In nearly every metric we analyzed, Seattle came out ahead. That’s not to say Boston isn’t a great place to live; it just means Seattle ranks higher for the things most Americans look for in a city. To get an understanding of how we measured these metrics, visit our city ranking criteria page. 

Boston beat Seattle in the health care category thanks to the presence of highly ranked medical facilities like Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. When it came to diversity, Boston also topped Seattle. More than 23 percent of Boston area residents speak a language other than English when at home, according to the U.S. Census. 

The keys to Seattle’s win were the city’s housing market, school systems and amenities. Located between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington and within view of the Olympic Mountains, Seattle offers residents an array of recreational options. 

Livability Ranking


  • Economy: 56
  • Health Care: 77
  • Housing: 73
  • Social and Civic Engagement: 50
  • Education: 84
  • Amenities: 93
  • Demographics: 77
  • Infrastructure: 70


  • Economy: 32
  • Health Care: 69
  • Housing: 37
  • Social and Civic Engagement: 42
  • Education: 74
  • Amenities: 76
  • Demographics: 81
  • Infrastructure: 69


Final Liv Scores: Seattle 729, Boston 605




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