Which is better, Wellington or Hamilton

Which is better, Wellington or Hamilton? 

Which is better, Wellington or Hamilton

Trying to figure out if Wellington or Hamilton is better? The answer to that question depends on what you’re looking for in a place to live. 

If you prefer to be surrounded by a vibrant arts scene and be in the bustling capital, then Wellington is an arguably better place to live than Hamilton. On the other hand, if you want to live in a city with a thriving economy, with a generally friendly atmosphere, then Hamilton is the better pick. 

What led us to this conclusion? We’ll show you how we evaluated them below in terms of cost of living, diversity and demography, safety index, and other factors. 

Cost of Living in Wellington vs. Hamilton  

Cost of Living in Wellington vs. Hamilton  
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The median monthly living cost in Wellington is 2,102.22 NZD.  In Hamilton, the montly cost of living is 1,675.88 NZD. 
So, this means that living in Wellington is 22% more expensive than it is to live in Hamilton. 

How did we arrive at this conclusion? Check out the chart below, which features data from LivingCost.org, for a more in-depth look at the costs of living in Wellington and Hamilton. 

Expenses Wellington Cost Hamilton Cost 
Housing (Average Rent per Month) 
1-bedroom apartment  (downtown)2,130.31 NZD1,340.07 NZD
1-bedroom apartment (outside the city centre) 1,813.75 NZD1,045.78 NZD
3-bedroom apartment (downtown)3,592.64 NZD2,279.52 NZD
3-bedroom apartment (outside the city centre)2,672.91 NZD2,236.04 NZD
Utilities (Average Monthly Bill) 
Utility bill for one person 153.56 NZD112.05 NZD
Utility bill for a family 235.12 NZD168.44 NZD
Internet plan 78.70 NZD81.98 NZD
Transportation (Fare)
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)4.04 NZD2.37 NZD
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)152.71 NZD106.71NZD
Taxi start (normal tariff)28.27 NZD32.22 NZD
Gasoline (1 liter)2.78 NZD2.83 NZD
Food for one person 819. 78 NZD783.97 NZD
Food for a family 2,191.36 NZD2,035.21 NZD
Childcare (Tuition Fee)
Private Preschool/Kindergarten (full day)1,286.41 NZD1,432.77 NZD
International Primary School 21,648.48 NZD19,367.07 NZD

Since Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city, a high cost of living is generally expected. But most young professionals looking to jumpstart their careers or inspiring artists don’t mind the extra expenses. 

Meanwhile, Hamilton’s lower cost of living generally attracts more retirees and young families due to the excellent schools and outdoor recreational activities for retirees. 

Real Estate Prices in Wellington vs. Hamilton 

Real Estate Prices in Wellington vs. Hamilton 
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According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, the median real estate price in Wellington is 790,000 NZD while the median real estate price in Hamilton is 739,000 NZD. 
This means that real estate prices in Wellington are 6.79% more expensive than it is in Hamilton. 

Both cities actually boast fairly reasonable real estate prices compared to many other cities in the country, including Auckland, where the median real estate price is about 1 million NZD. 

However, it should be noted that location can affect the actual prices you get quoted. For example, houses in the heart of both Wellington and Hamilton may well start to approach Auckland’s median real estate price in some cases. 

Diversity and Demographics in Hamilton vs Wellington

Diversity and Demographics in Hamilton vs Wellington
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Wellington and Hamilton are both incredibly diverse cities. According to the latest New Zealand census, the median percentage of minorities in the total population of Wellington is 18.3 %, and Hamilton is 18.5 %. 
This means Hamilton is only slightly more diverse than Wellington.

Wellington is home to a vibrant mix of cultures and lifestyles, with people from all over the world making their homes there. According to the latest census data, more than 33% of Wellington’s population comes from non-European countries, with the largest proportion coming from Asia. 

Hamilton too is home to an incredibly diverse population. Its population comprises an average of 23% Māori, compared to Wellington’s 8%. Its Asian population is slightly larger than Wellington’s too, at 18.5%. 

And age-wise? There is not much difference in the median age range as both cities’ median age level is in the 30s. 

Overall, you can expect a rich cultural experience in either city – you just need to decide what type of diversity best suits your needs and preferences!

Below we’ve made a table of the percentage of ethnic groups in Wellington and Hamilton for your reference and quick population stats. 

The data below is based on the latest NZ census found at stats.gov.nz.  

Number of people 422,000 160,911
Median Age 34.1 32.2 
Ethnicities Wellington Hamilton 
European 74.1 %63.6 %
Maori 8.6 %23.7 %
Pacific People5.1 %6.1 %
Asian18.3 %18.5 %
Middle Eastern/Latin American/African3.0 %2.2 %
Other ethnicity 1.4 %1.2 %

Career Opportunities in Wellington vs. Hamilton 

Career Opportunities in Wellington vs. Hamilton 
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Sourced data from Quarterly Economic Monitor shows that Wellington offers a slightly more favourable job landscape for job seekers than Hamilton. This is because the unemployment rate in Wellington is currently 3.2%, while in Hamilton, it’s 3.4%. 

Wellington is a vibrant city and the capital of New Zealand, home to many industries, including tech, professional services, finance and government. The city mainly attracts more creative job roles like app developers, graphic designers, and digital marketers. 

Plus, with the harbour views and sea breeze, there’s no shortage of reasons why it’s a great workplace.

On the other hand, Hamilton is located in the Waikato region of New Zealand and is known as a major rural service hub. It’s home to many iconic industries, such as dairy production and meat processing at AFFCO. 

There are also some opportunities in the retail sector, ranging from retail sales assistant positions to managerial roles.

Crime and Safety in Wellington vs. Hamilton 

Crime and Safety in Wellington vs. Hamilton 
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As of May 2023, Wellington may be a safer place to live than Hamilton because its crime rate is currently 2.7%. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s crime rate is currently at 10.22%. 
This tells us Wellington experiences a much lower number of reported crimes than Hamilton, at least for the given period. 

The lower number of crimes in Wellington may be due to economic conditions, population, and other local dynamics. All data is based on the New Zealand Police crime snapshots for May 2023. 

City Population Crime TotalCrime rate per 100,000 people Crime Rate % 
Wellington 422,00011,2822673.52.67%
Hamilton  184,905 18,91310228.510.22%

Lifestyle in Wellington vs. Hamilton 

Lifestyle in Wellington vs. Hamilton 
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Wellington boasts a lively arts community, a flourishing food and beverage culture, and many activities and sights to explore. While Hamilton may be a smaller city, living here means you can enjoy a slower pace of life, surrounded by lots of greenery and a close-knit community.

To better understand the lifestyle options available in each city, we will compare them in detail based on various factors, including the weather, recreational activities, and healthcare.

Weather in Wellington vs. Hamilton 

Weather in Wellington vs. Hamilton 
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Wellington has more cool ocean breezes that make for milder temperatures year-round and plenty of sunshine. This is a far cry from Hamilton, which has a warmer climate and steadier temperatures. 

Wellington is known as “The Windy City” because of its frequent stormy gusts that make for great surfing, but it’s generally mild and sunny most of the year. In summer, temperatures range between 15°C and 25°C (much cooler than Hamilton); in winter, they never drop below 5°C. 

Hamilton’s climate is hot and humid during summer (reaching up to 27°C) and chilly during winter (with temperatures dropping to 2°C). It also experiences higher levels of rainfall due to its proximity to the Waikato River. 

Although it’s not as mild as Wellington’s climate, Hamilton enjoys more than 2100 hours of sunshine annually — perfect for those summer picnics on the river banks.

Healthcare in Wellington vs. Hamilton  

Healthcare in Wellington vs. Hamilton  
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Like other major cities in New Zealand, healthcare services in Wellington and Hamilton are both high-quality. Data from Numbeo shows that Wellington’s healthcare index is 66.06% while Hamilton’s is 72.84%.

Wellington and Hamilton have many hospitals and medical centres with easy and quick access to medical care. Both cities have high standards for hospital care, with a strong focus on patient safety.

However, it appears that Hamilton has more public health initiatives than Wellington, such as ensuring everyone in the community can access health care, regardless of their income or social status.

Below are some factors that affect the overall healthcare index in both cities.  

Wellington Hamilton
Skill and competency of medical staff72.37%75%
Speed in completing examinations and reports63.84%72.22%
Equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment75%75%
Accuracy and completeness in filling out reports66.82%75%
Friendliness and courtesy of the staff72.77%72.22%
Responsiveness (waiting in medical institutions)45.54%47.22%
Satisfaction with Cost61.40%77.78%
Convenience of location75.45 %83.33%

Things to Do in Wellington vs Hamilton

Things to Do in Wellington vs Hamilton
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Living in a city is about more than just work and money. When comparing Wellington vs Hamilton, the two cities offer plenty of cultural activities and events for all interests. 

Wellington is famous for its lively arts scene, laid-back lifestyle, and breathtaking natural beauty. Hamilton is renowned for its friendly locals, vast green spaces, and being close to some of the most popular tourist spots in New Zealand.

It’s no secret that Wellington is known for being the creative capital of New Zealand, to be precise. There’s often something to do, including galleries, museums, festivals and live music.

If you’re looking for adventure, Hamilton is home to a botanic garden, the Waikato River and the world’s largest garage sale. You can also take advantage of the many outdoor activities such as tramping, fishing or exploring Waitomo Caves.

Both cities are vibrant after dark, with plenty of bars, pubs and clubs. If you’re looking for a great night out in Wellington, you can discover bars on Cuba Street or explore the night markets at Te Papa – they’re both great spots to catch up with friends over food or drinks.

In contrast to Wellington’s active nightlife scene, Hamilton offers more laid-back drinking spots, we think. But check them out yourself to see if you agree!

Wellington vs. Hamilton: How They Stack Up

Wellington vs. Hamilton: How They Stack Up
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Wellington and Hamilton offer unique advantages and drawbacks that will differ depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. Wellington’s bustling economy, lively entertainment culture, and low cost of living compare favourably with Hamilton’s strong job opportunities and beautiful weather.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to which is most important to you. To sum up our discussion, here are our recommendations on which city is preferable based on the factors we’ve talked about. 

Factors The Better City Why 
Cost of Living Hamilton The cost of living is 22% cheaper than it is in Wellington. 
Real Estate Hamilton Buying a home in Hamilton is cheaper because Wellington’s price is 6.79% more expensive.
Diversity and DemographicsHamilton Hamilton has a more diverse population than Wellington, with a higher population percentage of those of Maori descent and Asian. 
Career Opportunities WellingtonWellington’s unemployment rate is lower than Hamilton’s, at 3.2%.
Crime Report StatisticsWellingtonThe amount of crimes reported in Wellington is lower than in Hamilton.
Lifestyle Tied There is plenty to do in Wellington as it is the capital city! It’s easier to enjoy outdoor recreation, nightlife, and cultural activities. 
But in Hamilton, the healthcare systems are better, and the temperatures are more consistent.