Cost of Living in Colorado

cost of living in Colorado 2021

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    (Last Updated – 12/2021)

    If you love to hit the slopes, you’ll love living in Colorado. Maybe the access to so much nature and so many outdoor activities is why Colorado is the seventh healthiest state in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.

    Good health and lovely landscapes may be why so many people are flocking to Colorado. According to 2020 census results, Colorado was one of the fastest-growing states in the last decade.

    To better understand if living in the Centennial State is the right fit for you, keep reading to learn more about the cost of living in Colorado.

    What’s the Average Cost of Living in Colorado?

    Average Cost of Living in Colorado: $46,642 per year

    Take a closer look at your budget before you decide to move to Colorado. MERIC data gathered in the third quarter of 2021 found that Colorado took the 34th spot in a cost-of-living ranking from lowest (Mississippi) to highest (Hawaii). The neighboring state of New Mexico (No. 10) would be a better fit for those looking to save on living expenses. Kansas (No. 2), to the east, is an even bigger bargain. What does the Colorado cost of living look like? According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis , the average total personal consumption cost in Colorado is $46,642 per year. This is what the average spending looks like across a variety of categories.

    Category

    Average Annual Per-Capita Cost in Colorado

    Housing and Utilities

    $9,914

    Health Care

    $6,543

    Food and Beverages (non-restaurant)

    $3,980

    Gas and Energy Goods

    $751

    All Other Personal Expenditures

    $25,453

    Housing Costs in Colorado

    Average Housing Costs in Colorado: $1,068 to $1,744 per month

    Colorado is home to more than 2.4 million housing units, which means you’ll have plenty of options. The big question is, can you afford rent or a mortgage in Colorado? Zillow reported Colorado’s typical home as nearly $523,000 in late 2021.

    How much you’ll pay for housing will depend on if you’re renting or buying and how large your rental is. Here’s what those prices look like according to 2019 census data:

    •  Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,744

    •  Median studio rent: $1,068

    •  Median one-bedroom rent: $1,196

    •  Median two-bedroom rent: $1,391

    •  Median three-bedroom rent: $1,566

    •  Median four-bedroom rent: $1,888

    •  Median gross rent: $1,369

    Recommended: Denver Housing Market: Trends & Prices

    Because prices can vary so much throughout the state, take a look at the typical home price in some of Colorado’s major cities, sourced from Zillow in September 2021 (or August 2021, when starred):

    Colorado City

    Typical Home Price

    Denver

    $569,007

    Colorado Springs

    $440,499

    Fort Collins

    $507,628

    Boulder

    $708,602

    Greeley

    $473,711

    Pueblo

    $268,892

    Grand Junction

    $350,196

    Glenwood Springs

    $686,989

    Edwards

    $945,108

    Durango

    $551,180

    Cañon City

    $289,588

    Montrose

    $343,754

    Fort Morgan

    $255,227*

    Breckenridge

    $863,050

    Steamboat Springs

    $800,855

    Sterling

    $188,713*

    Craig

    $222,523*

    Utility Costs in Colorado

    Average Utility Costs in Colorado: $371 per month

    It can get bone-chilling in Colorado, so you need to budget enough to keep the heat pumping in the winter. Here’s what the average utility spending looks like.

    Utility

    Average Colorado Bill

    Electricity

    $137

    Gas

    $88

    Cable & Internet

    $107

    Water

    $39

    Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Sales, Revenue, and Average Price, 2021; Inspirecleanenergy.com; DoxoInsights, U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report 2021; and Rentcafe.com, What Is the Average Water Bill?

    Groceries & Food

    Average Grocery & Food Costs in Colorado: $332 per person, per month

    We all need to eat, so it’s fair to wonder how much you should expect to spend on food in Colorado.

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates Colorado’s average annual non-restaurant food cost per person to be $3,980, or about $332 per month. For a family of four, the grocery bill could be about $1,328 per month.

    Where you live will play a role in how much you spend on food. The Council for Community and Economic Research, ranks food costs in major cities. These are the rankings for grocery costs for the second quarter of 2021, from lowest to highest.

    Colorado City

    Grocery Items Index

    Westminster

    89.6

    Denver

    94.8

    Pueblo

    100

    Transportation

    Average Transportation Costs in Colorado: $4,900 to $13,317 per year

    Daily commutes, weekend ski trips with the family, and getting from place to place all cost money. How much you’ll spend on transportation in Colorado depends greatly on how many working adults are in your family and how many children you have.

    This basic breakdown from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator gives you an idea of what you might spend on transportation.

    Family Makeup

    Average Annual Transportation Cost

    One adult, no children

    $4,900

    Two working adults, no children

    $8,987

    Two working adults, two children

    $13,317

    Health Care

    Average Health Care Costs in Colorado: $6,543 per person, per year

    Colorado residents spend an average of $6,543 a year on health care, according to the 2020 Bureau of Economic Analysis Personal Consumption Expenditures by State report.

    Of course that average can vary, depending on individuals’ coverage and needs.

    Child Care

    Average Child Care Costs in Colorado: $1,190 to $1,446 or more per child, per month

    Child care can really eat up your budget, no matter where you live. The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program helps families who need child care so they can work, search for employment, or go through employment training in order to become self-sufficient.

    These are the average child care costs you can expect to encounter in Texas, according to 2021 data from costofchildcare.org .

    Type of Child Care

    Average Cost Per Month, Per Child

    Infant Classroom

    $1,446

    Toddler Classroom

    $1,191

    Home-based Family Child Care

    $1,190

    Taxes

    Tax Rate in Colorado: 4.55%

    No matter what state we live in, we all follow the same format when it comes to federal income taxes. When it comes to state income taxes, all states have different state income tax rates (if any) and varying ways of calculating how much is owed.

    In Colorado, calculating how much you owe is simple, as Colorado has a flat income tax of 4.55%, according to the Tax Foundation’s State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2021 . Utah, a neighbor, also has a flat income tax rate: 4.95%.

    Miscellaneous Costs

    Once you’re done paying the bills, hopefully you’ll have some spending money left over to enjoy some Colorado pleasures.

    If, as the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates, personal expenditures total $25,453 a year, this is where some of that spending may be going (costs are accurate as of Nov. 11, 2021):

    •  If you want to practice rock climbing safely indoors before heading outside, check out the Boulder Rock Club, a popular local rock climbing gym: $76 per month or $850 annual pass

    •  The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs offers a wide variety of family fun: $21 for a gondola ride to the top of the mountain; $34 for a gondola ride and cave tours.

    •  For a fun and educational family day in Denver, stop by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science: Youth tickets are $14.95, adult tickets are $19.95, and senior tickets are $16.95.

    How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Colorado?

    How obtainable it is to live comfortably in a specific state will depend greatly on your family size and other factors. That said, don’t expect to get off easy in Colorado.

    Colorado took the 43rd spot in U.S. News & World Report’s Affordability Rankings , which compare the average cost of living in each state with the average household income. Colorado fared much better in the previously mentioned MERIC study, where the state ranked 34th.

    What City Has the Lowest Cost of Living in Colorado?

    Looking for an affordable place to live in Colorado? Take some time getting to know the three major cities with the lowest cost of living from the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index for the second quarter of 2021.

    Pueblo

    The most affordable major city in Colorado is Pueblo, with a cost-of-living index of just 93.4. Enjoy strolls on the stunning Riverwalk and take a break to enjoy one of the many local cafes or breweries.

    Colorado Springs

    With a cost-of-living index of 107.8, Colorado Springs is the second most affordable city in Colorado. This city is a nature lover’s dream and there is no shortage of hiking opportunities to help you blow off steam after work. On the weekends, enjoy some family time at the local zoo, museums, and parks. Colorado Springs is home to more than 60 attractions, so there’s no shortage of fun to be had!

    Recommended: Colorado Springs Housing Market: Trends & Prices

    Westminster

    Westminster is a fairly small city (cost-of-living index of 109) with just 113,166 residents as of the latest census figures. This small but mighty city has a lot to offer when it comes to commerce and employment, as census data found that Westminster has nearly 10,000 businesses.


    SoFi Home Loans

    Nature lovers will appreciate all the hiking, skiing, rafting, and biking Colorado affords. The cost of living in Colorado may be relatively steep, but it’s easy to see why you might want to move there and enjoy all that fresh mountain air.

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