An aerial shot of Colorado Springs

Average Salary in Colorado: Can You Afford the Cost of Living in Colorado?

Colorado is a gorgeous state known for its beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and access to nature. No wonder a lot of people are curious about the cost of living in Colorado. It will definitely be a joy, especially for nature lovers, to live there and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Moving to this state is a great option for anyone who can afford it, but what is a good salary in Colorado?

If you want to move there, you’ll have to consider, in addition to salary, the average rent in Colorado, medical costs, and even public transportation costs. This guide will cover everything you need to know about the cost of living in Colorado, including the average salary in Colorado, a salary comparison by city, and how much you may have to spend to live comfortably in this beautiful state. 

What to Know Before Moving to Colorado

Colorado is home to well-known companies such as Celestial Seasonings, Coors Brewing Company, Ibotta, Crocs, Western Union, Otterbox, and Red Robin. There are also a number of prestigious universities in Colorado. There are plenty of opportunities waiting for you in this state, with a low 3.5 percent unemployment rate as of May 2022.  

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Several vacant positions might interest you while living in Colorado. You could become a sales development representative, a sales associate, a project manager, or even take the steps to become a certified medical assistant. There are also several industries you might want to explore while applying for a job here. These industries include aerospace and defense, business services, education, construction and maintenance, government, and healthcare. 

What Is the Cost of Living in Colorado? 

The cost of living in Colorado is $46,642 per year, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Various factors may affect the monthly costs of living in a state or city, including the career you choose to pursue, your average salary, how much it costs to buy or rent a house, food prices, gas prices, and utility costs. 

How Is Cost of Living Calculated?

The cost of living is calculated by aggregating the prices of different services or goods and then collating indices that can be used to compare different time periods and locations. An example of an index is housing prices. Other examples include food and healthcare. These indices are then weighted based on a consumer’s monthly budget and spending patterns. 

What Contributes to the Cost of Living in Colorado?

Average Rent in Colorado

The average rent price in Colorado is $1,451 per month. There are different apartment types you can consider. A studio apartment would usually cost $1,236 a month. Meanwhile, the monthly rate of a one-bedroom apartment is $1,364, while a two-bedroom apartment costs $1,659. If you’re still at the beginning of your career journey, the cheapest rent option is a studio. Rental prices tend to fluctuate, so be patient when looking for a place to live.

Average Transportation Costs in Colorado

The average cost of transportation in Colorado depends on whether you’ll be using a car or taking public transit. The average price of gas as of July 2022 was $4.96 per gallon. The fare for the light rail service depends on the city you are in. If you are in a major city like Denver, the lowest fare is $3

Average Food Costs in Colorado

The average food cost in Colorado if you’re living by yourself is ​​$4,091 per year. If you have one child, the estimated food cost is $6,029. On the other hand, two working adults with one child will spend $9,335 per year on food. The median prices of food and groceries vary from city to city. For example, in Denver, Colorado, a loaf of bread has an average cost of $3.26, a gallon of milk might cost $1.90, and a dozen eggs cost around $1.77.

Average Healthcare Costs in Colorado

The annual cost of healthcare in Colorado is around $2,849 per year if you’re a single person. Healthcare includes going to the doctor, visiting a dentist, visiting an optometrist, and even buying prescription drugs. If you’re a single person with a child, the estimated healthcare cost is $8,405 per year. On the other hand, if there are two working adults with one child, they will spend $8,183 on healthcare bills. 

Average Utility Costs in Colorado

The average retail price of electricity in Colorado is 10.27 cents per kilowatt hour. Other costs of utilities like cable and Internet services are around $107 per month. Furthermore, the average total cost of utility bills in Colorado is $241 each month. In Colorado, water is cheaper than electricity and comes with a monthly bill of $37, as opposed to your electricity bill, which is usually $87.

Other Expenses to Consider in Colorado

There are other expenses that a person has depending on their lifestyle, such as entertainment, personal care, education, and book costs. How much you spend on entertainment varies by city. If you are residing in the Denver Metropolitan area, for example, BLS estimates that you may spend 6.2 percent of your salary on entertainment and 1 percent on personal care products

Should I Buy or Rent in Colorado?

Whether you should buy or rent in Colorado is a big decision and depends on your financial goals. If you see yourself living in Colorado for a short time, one of your cheaper options is just paying a monthly rent. On the other hand, if you see yourself settling down, a wise option might be buying a house, especially if you have the means. You can look into different real estate agents to compare house prices and try and find a good deal.

The median home price is around $558,210, while the median rent is $1,236 per month. Moreover, the average fixed 30-year mortgage rate is around 4.8 percent. With that said, your monthly income should cover both your mortgage payments and other housing expenses such as electricity, water, cable, and Internet services. Make sure you do a thorough search of the real estate market before deciding.

What Is the Average Salary in Colorado? 

The average salary in Colorado is $72,017 a year. There are several factors in play that can affect the average income. It could be your position in the company, your seniority level, the location of the firm, and of course, the company that employs you. Popular jobs in the state include software engineer, operations manager, mechanical engineer, and project engineer. 

Salary Comparison by City in Colorado

City Average Salary
Denver $76,711
Arvada $74,735
Pueblo $71,096
Boulder $66,739
Colorado Springs $65,453

What Is a Good Salary?

A good salary should be above $46,642 since this is how much Colorado residents spend yearly on commodities. The average annual salary in Colorado is $72,017, so most people that reside in this state live a comfortable lifestyle and have enough money to pay their bills and other personal expenses.

Can You Afford the Average Cost of Living in Colorado?

You can afford the average cost of living in Colorado if your annual income is more than $46,643 per year. You have to keep in mind that housing prices differ in each city. However, taking note of the estimated average costs can help you decide if you can afford to live in the state. Other factors that can affect your expenditures include whether you are living alone or with a child and family and any miscellaneous costs beyond basic living expenses.

Cost of Living in Colorado FAQ

Is moving to Colorado worth it?

Yes, moving to Colorado is worth it if you have an active lifestyle and enjoy activities like biking and yoga. If you love snowy mountains and winter sports, then this is a place for you. Aside from leisure activities, Colorado offers you a place where you can build your career. Among the largest companies in Colorado, you are likely to find a profession that aligns with your goals. 

What are the cons of living in Colorado?

The cons of living in Colorado include the cost of living, which is higher than in other states. The traffic can also be bad, just like in Chicago, especially during rush hour. Moreover, you might be discriminated against if you don’t look like the locals. 

What is the best area to live in Colorado?

The best area to live in Colorado depends on your preferences and what you’re looking for. Usually, people go to popular cities like Denver because the city is surrounded by expansive natural areas. There are also a lot of coffee shops, restaurants, and housing opportunities waiting for you in this city. Another popular area is Colorado Springs near the Rocky Mountains. It’s a great place if you like hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. 

What is the safest town in Colorado?

The safest town in Colorado is Firestone, which has a 0.67 violent incident rate for every 1000 residents. This means you are more likely to be safe than experience an injury. Firestone is a small town that also has a low property crime rate. 

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