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homes along a tree-lined street in Yelm, WA

Yelm, WA | The (2024) Ultimate Living In & Moving To Guide

Last Updated on: 28th February 2023, 01:43 am

Yelm is a small city located in Thurston County. The distance from Yelm to Seattle is 69 miles, and from Yelm to Olympia is approximately 20 miles. Settled in 1853, Yelm started out as a pioneer town that thrived from being close to Puget Sound. The name Yelm is actually a Native American word, meaning “heat waves from the sun,” referencing the city’s amazing sunny weather. Today, despite its small stature, Yelm is a thriving city with a flourishing local economy and lively, friendly community.

Thinking about moving to Yelm? You’re making a great choice, because this city is known for its small-town feel, low crime rates, and affordably priced real estate, making it a great place to live for families and professionals alike. Still on the fence? Keep reading to see why Yelm should be at the top of your list.

How Many People Live in Yelm?

The answer is, just about 8,400 people live in Yelm, Washington, making this city the definition of “small.” However, don’t judge a city by its population; while Yelm may not be the largest municipality in Washington, it has a ton of heart.

The median age in Yelm is 29 years old, making this city truly young (not just young at heart). Nearly 20% of the population is made up of millennials between 24 and 35 years old, making this the second-largest age bracket in Yelm after those between 35-44 years old. About half of the residents here are married, and 40% have children, making this a highly family-friendly community.

While Yelm is a majority white city, there is definitely diversity in the population. The largest minority in Yelm is the Latinx community which makes up about 15% of the total population. Only a quarter of people living in Yelm are religious, but of those, several belief systems are represented, including Christianity, Judaism, and Eastern Faiths. Politically, the area leans liberal, though Yelm is more conservative that Washington overall.

Yelm’s Housing Costs

Happy family of three standing outside their new homeWondering how much it costs to live in Yelm? With a median household income of $57,000 and a median home value of $220,000, life here is fairly affordable. By choosing to live in Yelm instead of nearby Olympia, you’ll save an average of $45,000 on your home. Property taxes in Yelm are also mid-tier, with most families spending between $2,000-$3,000 per year in taxes alone.

It’s important to note that while half of Yelm locals own their home, the other half choose to rent instead, and spend, on average, $1,362 per month for their apartments, condos or townhouses. Rents in Yelm have seen a 7% increase in the past year, so if you’re planning to rent a home here, you may want to consider rental price trends in your budget. Apartments in Yelm have an average area of 968 square feet, slightly larger than the American average of 941 square feet, and significantly bigger than Seattle’s average of 711 square feet.

Best Yelm Neighborhoods

Choosing a neighborhood is an important part of moving to any new city, but it can be hard, especially if you’ve never been to the area before. To help you with your home search here is some information on three of our favorite neighborhoods in Yelm.

  • Vail: Vail is a larger and more expensive part of Yelm, with a median home price of $325,303 and an average rent of $1,529. The suburban community is mainly made up of small to medium-sized homes, most of which are owner-occupied.
  • Downtown: Despite being at the center of the city, this neighborhood also has a suburban feel, filled with single-family homes and a spattering of apartment complexes. The median price on a home for sale is $302,403 and the average rent is $1,515.
  • North Yelm: This popular Yelm neighborhood offers a mix of rentals and single-family homes that are more affordable than other parts of the city. Most of the residences here were built after 1970, with many having been built after 2000. The median home price in North Yelm is $255,882 and the average monthly rent is $1,486.

Things to do in Yelm


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Yelm WA provides for some very convenient shopping within the city limits. This includes the Walmart Supercenter, Dollar Tree, Safeway and The Tractor Supply Company. But there’s more here to do than just shop. One of our favorite things to do in Yelm is to get outside, and here are two local landmarks where you can do just that.

  • Yelm City Park: The first public park in Yelm, this wonderful green space includes a brand new splash pad for kids, a children’s play area and a picnic area. It’s also home to the Yelm community center!
  • Cochrane Memorial Park: This nature park is the perfect way to connect with nature on a sunny day in Yelm. There is a pond that’s open for fishing (catch-and-release only), as well as walking trails and fields. Cochrane Memorial Park is also dog-friendly, and has some of the most beautiful natural views in the area!

Yelm Jobs

Wondering what kind of work is available in Yelm? The city limits only contain about 2,000 jobs, but that number has been growing year over year. Plus, since Yelm is part of the Greater Olympia Area, residents also benefit from access to jobs in other Olympia sister cities and suburbs. The main industries in the area are public administration, healthcare, and education. Industrial manufacturing also plays a large role in the Metro Area’s local economy!

Schools in Yelm

Maybe you have kids who are school-aged, or maybe you’re thinking about starting a family in your new city. Either way, Yelm is a great place to live with your children, and the community is committed to excellence in education. There are nine public district schools in Yelm, including three pre-K programs, five elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. The main public high school is Yelm High School, which offers a well-rounded curriculum, plus honors and Advanced Placement courses for its over 1,600 students.

Yelm’s Year-Round Weather

Like much of the Pacific Northwest, Yelm enjoys a full four seasons, including hot, humid summers and cool, rainy winters. Typically, the average temperature doesn’t drop below freezing, so it’s rare to see snow in Yelm, though the area does get a fair amount of rain. There are about 139 sunny days per year in Yelm, giving you plenty of time to get outside and explore the city!

Yelm Restaurants You’ll Love

After a long day at work, you’ll need some good food for when you just can’t be bothered to cook. Luckily, Yelm has restaurants aplenty! Here are two of our favorites.

Pizzeria La Gitana

Some days, you just need a good, super-cheesy pizza On those days, locals in Yelm head over to Pizzeria La Gitana, which features an array of pizzas, plus classic Italian pasta dishes like alfredo, carbonara, and arrabbiata.

Mr Doug’s Restaurant

For an all-American breakfast, lunch, and dinner, stop by Mr. Doug’s any day of the week. The delicious menu includes everything from steak and eggs to deluxe diner-style burgers and perfect lunch sandwiches like the classic patty melt.

Tips for Moving to Yelm

Now that you’ve learned what it’s like to live in Yelm, we hope you’ve decided to become a part of this wonderful community. When considering moving to Yelm, remember:

  • Yelm offers affordable living close to Olympia
  • The city has a small-town feel
  • Yelm has plenty of jobs for professionals

Need help with your move? All Ready Moving is the local moving company you can trust for a stress-free experience. Call our Yelm movers on 360-507-2447 today to get started!

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