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Denver Cost of Living 💰 [2024] | What is the Cost of Living in Denver Colorado

Located near the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Denver, Colorado attracts newcomers with its breathtaking scenery, vibrant cultural scene, and high quality of life. However, before you make the move to this picturesque city, you may be wondering, “Is Denver affordable?” Although the cost of living in Denver Colorado is higher than the national average, it is still less than many other major U.S. cities. Here’s everything you need to know about the Denver cost of living.

Denver Cost of Living Index

Is Denver expensive? The best way to answer this question is to first look at the Denver Cost of Living Index. The Cost of Living Index, also known as COLI, is a metric published by the Council for Community and Economic Research and is used to compare the cost of goods and services in a city to the national average.

The Denver Colorado Cost of Living Index is 113.5. With a COLI of 113.5, it can be determined that the cost of living in Denver is 13.5% more expensive than the national average of 100. However, the cost of living in Denver CO is 7% more affordable than the state average of 120.5.

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Another way to analyze the Denver Colorado cost of living is to take a look at the Consumer Price Index. This is a report that is published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics stating the average changes in prices that consumers in a certain region pay for goods and services.

Over the last year, the Consumer Price Index in Denver has risen by 3.5%. Over the past few months, however, it has fallen 0.1%. The fall is largely due to the decrease in energy costs for items such as gasoline and natural gas. Although the price of energy has fallen, the price of food has risen by 1.2% since January 2024. Additionally, the increase of rent has risen by 7.2%.

Consumer Expenditure Survey

What is the cost of living in Denver Colorado? This question can also be answered by checking out the Consumer Expenditure Survey. This is another survey conducted by the Census Bureau and is used to help calculate the CPI. According to the latest survey, households in Denver spent an average of $84,293 in the 2021-22 calendar year. This is above the national average of $70,052.

Here’s a guide to how this Denver CO cost of living analysis breaks down:

  • Housing: 36.7% of yearly budget (compared to U.S. average of 33.5%)
  • Transportation: 15.4% of yearly budget (compared to U.S. average of 16.6%)
  • Personal insurance and pensions: 12.9% of yearly budget (compared to U.S. average of 11.9%)
  • Food: 11.7% of yearly budget (compared to U.S. average of 12.6%)
  • Healthcare: 7.7% of yearly budget (compared to U.S. average of 8.1%)
  • Entertainment: 4.9% of yearly budget (compared to U.S. average of 5.0%)
  • Education: 2.2% of yearly budget (compared to U.S. average of 1.8%)
  • Apparel and services: 2.1% of yearly budget (compared to U.S. average of 2.6%)

Based on the figures above, the Denver CO cost of living is lower than the national average in transportation, food, healthcare, entertainment, and apparel and services. The cost of living in Denver Colorado is above the national average in housing costs, personal insurance and pensions, and education.

Family Budget in Denver

How much does it cost to live in Denver as a family? According to the Economic Policy Institute's Cost of Living Calculator, a family of four can expect an average cost of living in Denver to be $127,095 per year ($10,591 per month). This is how this budget breaks down monthly:

  • Child care: $2,438
  • Housing: $1,856
  • Taxes: $1,600
  • Transportation: $1,478
  • Food: $1,097
  • Health care: $1,077
  • Other necessities: $1,046

Of course, these numbers can fluctuate greatly based on your family size and lifestyle. Child care is the highest expense on the list, so if you don’t have children, you can save an extra $2,438 every month. According to the calculator, a couple without children would only need to make $69,039 per year to live comfortably in the city. You can also cut back on transportation costs by utilizing Denver’s public transportation system.

Cost of Household Items, Utilities, Gas & Groceries in Denver

What is the cost of living in Denver? When answering this question, it is important to consider your everyday Denver living expenses. Here’s a quick breakdown of everyday expenses that will contribute to the overall Denver cost of living.

  • Steak (1lb): $7.78
  • Milk (1 gallon): $4.34
  • Eggs (1 dozen): $4.47
  • Potatoes (5 lbs): $6.40
  • Bread (1 loaf): $3.99
  • Beer (1 bottle): $6.00
  • Movie ticket: $15.00
  • McDonald’s meal: $11.25
  • Average cell phone bill: $62.94
  • Gas (1 gallon): $3.47

Source: Numbeo

The average cost of utilities in Denver is about $193.20 per month. According to CarInsurance.com, you can expect to pay an average of $51 per month for car insurance in Denver. While owning a car is certainly convenient, taking advantage of public transportation can significantly lower your average cost of living in Denver Colorado.

RTD-Denver provides both bus and rail service to the Denver Metro Area. You can get a monthly pass for $88. Seniors, individuals with disabilities, and customers enrolled in the LiVE program can apply for a discounted monthly pass, which is $27.

Denver Real Estate Market

If you are moving to the area, then you will likely be exploring the Denver real estate market. There are plenty of Denver homes for sale in a variety of price ranges. According to Redfin, the average home price in Denver Colorado is $535,000. The average home price in Denver is more than the national average of $402,242, but less than the Colorado average of $591,500.

The Denver housing market is remaining relatively stable, with home prices only up 0.5% from last year. Additionally, homes sit on the market for an average of 44 days (the same amount of time as last year).

Although several Denver CO homes for sale are on the expensive side, the final price you pay is largely dependent on the area you choose to live. You will find more affordable Denver Colorado real estate in neighborhoods like Ruby Hill (average home price of $450,000), East Colfax (average home price of $427,000), and Goldsmith (average home price of $220,000).

Denver Rental Market - Average Rent in Denver

Would you rather rent Denver CO real estate? According to RentCafe, the average rent in Denver CO is $1,979 for an 842-square-foot apartment. The average Denver rent is higher than the national average of $1,702.

Here’s how the rent in Denver stacks up to other Colorado cities:

  • Colorado Springs: $1,547
  • Boulder: $2,405
  • Aurora: $1,772
  • Lakewood: $1,904
  • Littleton: $2,113

If you want to find more affordable rent in Denver Colorado, then you’ll want to explore the neighborhoods of Barnum, Mar Lee, and Westwood, where the average rent goes for $1,330 per month. The most expensive neighborhoods in Denver include Congress Park (average rent of $2,519), Cherry Creek (average rent of $2,537), and Belcaro (average rent of $2,551).

Is it cheaper to buy a home or pay Denver Colorado rent? According to the 2023 Rental Affordability Report, it is cheaper to rent in Denver CO than to buy. To compare renting vs. buying Denver real estate, you can calculate the price-to-rent ratio. The higher this ratio is, the better it is for renters. The lower it is, the better it is for buyers. The calculation for the price-to-rent ratio is the median home price divided by the median rent. Here’s a look at the equation with Denver’s numbers plugged in:

$535,000 (Denver average home price) / $23,748 (average apartment rent in Denver per year) = 22.5

This is considered to be a higher price-to-rent ratio, and therefore, the Denver real estate market is better for renters. The Denver population is completely split down the middle, with 50% of housing units being owner-occupied and 50% of the units being renter-occupied.

Can I afford to live in Denver as a renter? According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach Report, an average resident in Denver would need to earn $35.69 per hour ($74,240 per year) to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the city without spending over 30% of their yearly income on housing.

Average Salary & Median Household Income in Denver

When considering the cost of living in Denver, it is important to consider how the local economy affects salaries and household incomes. The average income in Denver for a typical household is $88,213, which is about the same as the Colorado average of $89,302. Additionally, the average salary in Denver is $80,000, according to PayScale. As of January 2024, the minimum wage in Denver increased from $13.65 to $14.42.

Denver has a thriving economy, and was recently ranked on Forbes list of the ‘Best Places for Business and Careers.” Some of the top employers in Denver include Denver International Airport, HealthONE Corporation, SCL Health Systems, and Century Link.

Here is the average salary in Denver Colorado for some of the most popular occupations:

  • Bus drivers: $47,900
  • Elementary school teachers: $62,170
  • Real estate sales agents: $84,030
  • Electrical engineers: $110,330
  • Computer programmers: $122,850
  • Lawyers: $174,870
  • Family medicine physicians: $205,480
  • Chief executives: $313,130

Source: BLS

Income, Sales & Property Taxes in Denver

When analyzing the Denver Colorado cost of living, it is important to consider the taxes you will need to pay when living in the area.

Colorado Income Tax Rate

The Colorado income tax rate is 4.4%. It is one of 11 states with a flat income tax, meaning that every taxpayer pays the same rate regardless of income. This tax policy also does not allow for any deductions or exemptions.

Denver Sales Tax Rate

Sales tax in Denver is a tax that is imposed on the sale of goods and services. The Denver CO sales tax rate is 8.810%. Here's how the sales tax in Denver Colorado breaks down.

  • Colorado State: 2.900%
  • Denver County: 0.000%
  • Denver: 5.910%
  • Total sales tax in Denver Colorado: 8.810%

Denver Property Tax Rate

Denver property taxes are collected, recorded, and deposited by The Treasury Division. The Denver property tax rate is calculated by multiplying the property’s assessed value by the Mill Levy. One mill equals one-thousandth of a dollar or $1 of tax per $1,000 of assessed value.

Denver vs. Boulder Cost of Living

Boulder

If you are in between Denver cities, then you may also be thinking about settling down in Boulder. Before deciding on a city, you may want to compare the Boulder cost of living to the Denver cost of living. The Cost of Living Index in Boulder is 141.3, making it 41.3% more expensive than the national average and 27.8% more expensive than the Denver average.

Here is a breakdown of the cost of living in Denver Colorado vs. Boulder:

  • Average home price: $535,000 in Denver vs. $932,500 in Boulder
  • Average rent: $1,979 in Denver vs. $2,405 in Boulder
  • Estimated monthly costs: $10,591 in Denver vs. $11,231 in Boulder
  • Average salary: $80,000 in Denver vs. $82,000 in Boulder

As you can see, it is more expensive to live in Boulder. However, the average salary in Boulder is higher, giving you a little bit of extra income to work with.

Overall, the cost of living in Denver Colorado is very manageable with the proper planning. If you are ready to move to The Mile High City, give our Denver movers a call today. Contact Homegrown Movers at 303-587-6200 to discuss your move and get started with a free estimate.

Toby Martinez
Toby and all of our staff are Colorado natives, hence the name Homegrown Moving and Storage Company. Toby has been active in the Denver Metro business community for over 20 years. He has been in the moving industry since 2010 and brings great experience to the daily operations of this 5 star rated local moving company. He and the Homegrown Moving and Storage Company team are committed to offering outstanding service at a reasonable cost. As Denver has grown dramatically over the past several years, so have our moving services and capabilities in order to keep up with the changes of our city. We hope to speak with you soon about how our team can help meet your moving needs here in Colorado.
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