There is no doubt that Colorado is a really nice state which makes it no surprise that a lot of people move there every year. The number of newcomers the state gets has contributed to the increase in their population which went up by 14.8% between 2010 and 2020. The state has maintained an annual growth rate of 1.85%.
Different people have different places in mind where they would love to reside in the state. While some love cities along the Front Range, others love a more laid back vibe that the Eastern Plains and the state’s mountain towns offer. Where people move to depends on their personal preference, lifestyle, amongst other reasons.
If you are looking to move to Colorado, one thing you should know about irrespective of the particular city or neighborhood that you wish to reside in is the cost of living in the state. Knowing the cost of living before making the move will allow you to better plan yourself and make adequate preparations to ensure that you live comfortably in the state.
That being said, you should know that Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade has it that the overall cost of living in the state is 12% above the national average. Also know that the particular place where you are living in the state can result in variations in this figure, so you can either have things more expensive or cheaper.
In order to properly discuss the cost of living in Colorado, we will be looking at some major factors which include housing, food, healthcare, taxes, utilities and transportation.
Colorado (Centennial State) Expenses
Generally the cost of living in Colorado is quite expensive. A family of four spends an average of about $4,700 monthly, and a single person spends an average of $2,100 for the same time frame.
Colorado Housing Prices
Housing cost will take up a bulk of your budget and is one of the main reasons why the cost of living in the state is on the high side. Colorado’s housing cost is 34% higher than the national average. The average amount that you’ll need to have to buy a home in the state is $591,200.
When it comes to renting, a one bedroom apartment goes for an average amount of $1,360. You have to bear it in mind, that the neighborhood where you are residing in the state, also influences the amount you pay.
In some places you may have to pay higher while some areas could be more affordable. That being said, do not be surprised if the cost of purchasing a home in some areas is $851,740 and if renting a one bedroom goes for $2,100.
Colorado Food Budget
Colorado is a state that has one of the lowest obesity rates in the country and the diets that most of the people living there stick to gets major credits for that. Now why it is really nice to follow a diet and stay healthy, it also means that you will have to spend extra on food.
A single person residing in the state spends an average sum of $316 on food each month. That means $632 for two persons and $1,264 for a family of four. We have to point out here that the amount someone residing in the state spends on food is also determined by personal taste and preferences.
Different factors influence the amount one has to spend on healthcare, examples of which are health status and insurance package. Although the average monthly cost of medical insurance in the state is $369 for a person, it could be different for you based on your premium. Whether you are registered as an individual or if the insurance is for a family also influences the cost.
Before you make the move to the state, you have to ensure that you have made proper plans with regards to your health. Health is something everyone should take very seriously, remember the popular saying “health is wealth”.
The cost of utilities in the state is also high. Energy Star has it that whereas an average US family spends around $371 monthly, those living in Colorado spend about $241. When you hear utilities, it refers to some services such as electricity, internet, natural gas, water, etc.
The amount that you will have to spend on transportation in the state depends on your preferred means of transportation. When you factor in the cost of maintenance, repairs, gas, and express tolls, you will see that those who own cars have to spend more on transportation.
You can decide to save some of that money by taking public transportation. Whether you are taking the bus, rail or light rail, the affordable rates of the public transportation is something you should make the most of. The average cost for transportation is between $114 to $200 monthly.
You can also check if you are eligible for some of the discounts such as FlexPass, EcoPass or CollegePass as this will allow you save more money. People living along Front Range enjoy a wide network of public transportation systems made available by the state’s Regional Transportation District (RTD).
Colorado State Taxes
You should know that everyone living in Colorado has to pay taxes and that the state is a flat-tax state. This implies that no matter what your income is, the rate for taxation stays at 4.50%. Other taxes that residents have to pay include property and sales tax.
Although the base rate for sales tax is 2.9%, cities in the state are free to add to it and most do. So do not be surprised if you have to pay higher than the base rate of 2.9%.
For property owners in the state, you are in luck as the property tax rates of Colorado is one of the lowest there is with the average being just 0.49%.
You must have gleaned from what we have looked at so far, that how affordable or expensive the cost of living in the state will be for you, is very dependent on the part of the state that you are looking to move to.
While Denver has the most expensive cost of living, small towns on the Eastern Plains are much more affordable.
The cost of living in Colorado has increased over the years and it might not be reducing anytime soon seeing that the state is just increasing in popularity. That being said, you need to have a yearly income of over $100,000 to live comfortably in the state.
Before you start having second thoughts over making the move due to the high cost of living, remember the beautiful climate, culture, wonderful scenery and the many opportunities that the state has to offer.
Just draw up your budget, make comparisons, adjust things that needs to be adjusted in your lifestyle and you can also opt to move to a more affordable area close to your choice city. These options of things you can do will make you see that moving to the state is a possibility.
Let us now take a look at the cost of living of few cities in the state.
Overall cost of living: $3,427 per month
Average cost of renting: $1,943 per month for a one bedroom apartment
Average home price: $652,170
Estimated food budget: $337 per month for one person
Average cost of transportation: $450 per month
Average cost of utilities: $116 per month for water, heat and electricity.
Overall cost of living: $2,772 per month
Average cost of renting: $1,700 per month for a one bedroom apartment
Average home price: $1,126,946
Estimated food budget: $331 per month for one person
Average cost of utilities: $215 per month for gas, heat, and electricity.
Overall cost of living: $2,148 per month
Average cost of renting: $1,553 per month for a one bedroom apartment
Average home price: $495,187
Estimated food budget: $348 per month for one person
Average cost of utilities: $176/month for water, gas, trash and electricity.
Cost of Living elsewhere