Moving to Colorado: Discover the Best Cities to Live in Colorado

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Are you looking for a new place to live? Then, Colorado might be the place for you. Numerous outdoor activities include world-class skiing, camping, hunting, fishing, and mountain climbing.

Colorado is a natural wonderland with stunning mountains, rivers, plateaus, and canyons to explore. And, with more sunny days than rainy days each year, it’s easy to see why Colorado is a popular tourist destination.

This guide will provide all the information you need to make an informed decision about moving to Centennial State.

Key Takeaways

  • Colorado is a state that experiences more sunny days than rainy ones annually.
  • Individuals working in Colorado earn around $101,000 per year on average.
  • Colorado is an excellent choice for students interested in engineering, geosciences, applied sciences, and other related fields.

Table of Contents

Moving to Colorado

Moving to Colorado would be an excellent option if you are fond of skiing, camping, hunting, fishing, off-road tours, mountain climbing, and other outdoor activities. Colorado is a state that experiences more sunny days than rainy ones annually. In addition, it boasts the highest elevation in the United States and possesses several awe-inspiring mountains, rivers, plateaus, and canyons, which makes it a popular tourist spot.

What’s the Population of Colorado?

Table 1: Population

Population Estimates, July 1 2022 5,839,926
Population Estimates, July 1 2021 5,811,297
Population, change – April 1, 2020 (estimates base) to July 1, 2022 1.10%
Population, change – April 1, 2020 (estimates base) to July 1, 2021 0.70%

Table 2: Age and Sex

Age and Sex
Persons under 5 years 5.40%
Persons under 18 years 21.40%
Persons 65 years and over 15.10%
Female persons 49.30%

Table 3: Race and Hispanic Origin

Race and Hispanic Origin
White alone 86.50%
Black or African American alone 4.70%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 1.70%
Asian alone 3.60%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone 0.20%
Two or More Races 3.30%
Hispanic or Latino 22.30%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino 67.00%

Table 4: Population Characteristics

Population Characteristics
Veterans, 2017-2021 365,440
Foreign-born persons, 2017-2021 9.50%

What is the Climate of Colorado Like?

Colorado’s geographical location and high elevation result in a refreshing and arid climate. The average annual temperature in the state is 43.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 13.7 degrees lower than the global average. Moreover, the average rainfall is only seventeen inches, significantly less than the global average of thirty-eight inches. Temperatures in Colorado vary dramatically from season to season and day to night.

The altitude and, to a lesser extent, the orientation of mountain ranges and valleys in relation to general air movements greatly influence the local climate of various areas in Colorado. Because of these factors, there are significant differences in weather over short distances. Furthermore, each Colorado region has distinct characteristics specific to that region and not found throughout the state.

What is the Average Commute Time in Colorado?

According to a study that used pre-coronavirus data, Colorado residents have the 20th longest commute time among the states studied, at 25.5 minutes. According to the survey, approximately 7.1% of Colorado commuters have travel times exceeding one hour. According to the website, Springfield has the shortest average commute time among Colorado cities. 

Economy and Job Market in Colorado

As of 2022, Colorado’s population stands at 5,849,409, which reflects an annualized growth rate of 0.8% over the past five years, ranking it 15th among all US states in terms of growth rate. Colorado’s gross state product (GSP) reached $371.3 billion in 2022, representing a 2.4% increase over the previous five years. In addition, Colorado’s businesses employed 3,382,577 people in 2022, with an annual employment growth rate of 1.4% over the last five years.

Real estate and rental and leasing, professional, scientific and technical services and information are Colorado’s top three employment sectors. In 2022, the state’s unemployment rate was 3.5%. The state has a low unemployment rate of 2.6%, slightly below the national average. The largest employment sector is the Total Nonfarm sector, which includes all industries, followed by the Education and Health Services sector and the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector.

The most significant employment gains over the past year were in the Education and Health Services sector, which added 5.5 thousand jobs, and the Government sector, which added 6.8 thousand jobs. The Leisure and Hospitality sector also saw job growth of 3.5 thousand jobs, although it has a higher unemployment rate of 5.5%.

The Construction sector saw the largest employment growth rate of 3.2%, followed by the Education and Health Services industry with a growth rate of 1.4%. The Manufacturing sector saw a slight decline in employment over the past year, while the Information sector remained relatively stable.

Major Industries in Colorado

Colorado’s top three revenue-generating industries are oil drilling and gas extraction, tourism, and new car dealers, which generated $37.4 billion, $26.9 billion, and $21.5 billion in 2022.

2022 Revenue
Oil Drilling & Gas Extraction $37.4b
Tourism $26.9b
New Car Dealers $21.5b
Hospitals $21.1b
Supermarkets & Grocery Stores $16.8b
Drug, Cosmetic & Toiletry Wholesaling $16.1b
Real Estate Loans & Collateralized Debt $15.4b
Public Schools $14.7b
Housing Developers $14.0b
Electronic Part & Equipment Wholesaling $13.9b

Major Employers in Colorado

Denver International Airport, Walmart Inc., and Kroger Co. have the most employees in Colorado, with 35,000, 30,491, and 21,689 employees in 2022.

2022 Employment Percentage
Denver International Airport 35,000 1.00%
Walmart Inc. 30,491 0.90%
The Kroger Co. 21,689 0.60%
Amazon.Com, Inc. 20,000 0.60%
Lockheed Martin Corporation 14,000 0.40%
Hca Healthcare, Inc. 11,050 0.30%
United States Postal Service 10,479 0.30%
The Home Depot, Inc. 10,086 0.30%
Comcast Corporation 8,000 0.20%
Lumen Technologies, Inc. 6,500


What’s the Expected Salary For Employment in Colorado?

On average, individuals working in Colorado earn around $101,000 annually, with the lowest average salary of about $25,500 and the highest average salary of around $450,000. This annual average wage includes benefits such as housing and transportation. It’s important to note that salaries vary significantly across professions. 

Cost of Living in Colorado

If you’re considering moving to Colorado, you should know how much it costs to live there. Colorado ranked 34th in the cost-of-living index, according to MERIC data from the third quarter of 2021, with an average annual cost of living of $46,642. In addition, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Colorado’s average total personal consumption cost was divided into several categories in 2020.

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

The typical housing expenses in Colorado range from $1,068 to $1,744 monthly. The exact cost, however, depends on the property size and whether you are renting or buying. 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
  • Typical home cost in Colorado: nearly $523,000 

Transportation Costs in Colorado

Transportation costs in Colorado vary depending on factors such as the number of working adults and children in the family, daily commutes, and weekend activities. Transportation costs in Colorado can range from $4,900 per year for one adult with no children to $13,317 per year for two working adults with two children, according to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator.

Food and Entertainment Costs in Colorado

Expatistan estimates that the average monthly cost of groceries for one person in Denver is around $372, slightly higher than the statewide average of $332. On the other hand, the Grocery Items Index for Denver is 94.8, indicating that grocery prices in the city are slightly lower than the national average.

After paying the bills and groceries, some remaining funds can be spent on various Colorado activities and attractions.

  • The Boulder Rock Club charges $76 monthly or $850 for an annual pass.
  • The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park charges $21 for a gondola ride to the top of the mountain or $34 for a gondola ride and cave tours. 
  • The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is another enjoyable and educational family destination, with tickets starting at $14.95 for children, $19.95 for adults, and $16.95 for seniors.

Education in Colorado

Colorado is an excellent choice for students interested in engineering, geosciences, applied sciences, and other related fields. For example, the Microscopy Lab at Colorado School of Mines has advanced, high-tech equipment that can help you excel in your studies. In addition, Colorado has many activities to help you relax and unwind, such as bike paths and trails and outdoor activities, such as visiting national and state parks. 

Colorado graduates may have better job opportunities because the state has many educated employees. In addition, Colorado has a welcoming, diverse international student community and numerous job opportunities in fields such as aerospace, aviation, and bioscience. Finally, Colorado has beautiful weather, a relaxed way of life, and friendly and supportive communities.

Top-rated Schools and Universities in Colorado

Academic quality, retention and graduation rates, graduate employment rates, number of fields of study, financial aid packages, and research performance are among the factors used to rank universities.

College Name
US News National Ranking Campus Location(s) Undergraduate Enrollment Graduation Rate
Colorado School of Mines #83 Golden, Colorado 5,443 83%
University of Denver #93 Denver, Colorado 5,699 76%
Colorado State University #148 Fort Collins, Colorado 32,908 68%
Colorado College #26* Colorado Springs, Colorado 2,025 86%
University of Colorado, Boulder #99 Boulder, Colorado 29,511 72%
University of Colorado, Denver #227 Denver, Colorado 14,995 44%
The United States Air Force Academy #22* Colorado Springs, Colorado 4,336 85%
Regis University #298-#389 Denver, Colorado 3,013 72%
Colorado Christian University #298-#389 Lakewood, Colorado 2,652 59%
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs #55 in Regional Universities West Colorado Springs, Colorado 10,031 45%

Healthcare in Colorado

According to the consumer website WalletHub, Colorado is the seventh-best state in the US for its healthcare system. It has compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 40 metrics divided into three main categories: cost, accessibility, and outcome. Colorado ranked 23rd in healthcare costs, 15th in accessibility, and third in results, with the country’s fifth-lowest cancer and fourth-lowest heart disease rates. 

According to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez, Colorado’s high ranking is due to a number of factors, including its short average emergency room wait time of just 13 minutes, a low share of adults with Type 2 diabetes, and a low maternal mortality rate. However, critics argue that the term “health system” is too broad and that measures such as life expectancy do not always correlate with how well a state’s medical services function.

Hospitals and Clinics in Colorado

U.S. News has assessed and ranked 105 hospitals in Colorado, with twelve hospitals meeting their high standards and receiving state rankings.

Hospital NameLocationNational Ranking (Specialties)High Performing SpecialtiesHigh Performing Procedures/Conditions
1UCHealth University of Colorado HospitalAurora, CO5517
2UCHealth Medical Center of the RockiesLoveland, CO1215
3SCL Health St. Joseph HospitalDenver, CONot ranked216
4UCHealth Memorial HospitalColorado Springs, CONot ranked011
5Littleton Adventist HospitalLittleton, CONot ranked27
6Rose Medical CenterDenver, CONot ranked27
7Sky Ridge Medical CenterLone Tree, CONot ranked27
8UCHealth Poudre Valley HospitalFort Collins, CONot ranked19
9St. Anthony Hospital-LakewoodLakewood, CONot ranked08
10Swedish Medical CenterEnglewood, CONot ranked17
11Parkview Medical CenterPueblo, CONot ranked07
12SCL Health Good Samaritan Medical CenterLafayette, CONot ranked08

Health Insurance Options in Colorado

Health insurance is available from various sources, including employer-based insurance, individual insurance, and government health plans. Employer-based health insurance is provided as part of an employee’s benefits package, with the employer paying a portion or all of the premiums. Individual health insurance is purchased by an individual for single-person or family coverage and is paid for by the individual. 

Medicaid, CHP+, Medicare, and programs for military members and their families are examples of government health plans. The government administers these plans, and eligibility requirements vary depending on the program.

Best Cities to Live in Colorado


Denver has grown in popularity as a popular place to live in the United States, consistently ranking as a top city for living and working. From 2010 to 2020, Denver County’s population increased by 115,364, while neighboring counties Adams and Arapahoe saw significant resident increases. With over 300 days of sunshine per year, the city’s appeal stems from its ability to provide both urban conveniences and access to natural surroundings. 

Denver has many neighborhoods with amenities, such as breweries, coffee shops, restaurants, and recreational opportunities. In addition, the city offers numerous job and housing opportunities for individuals and families in and around Colorado’s largest metropolitan area.


Because of its high quality of life, Boulder is widely regarded as one of the most desirable cities in the United States. This “People’s Republic of Boulder” boasts a strong economy, low crime rates, and breathtaking flatiron views from historic Pearl Street, the University of Colorado campus, and picturesque residential areas. 

It is a hub for outdoor activities such as rock climbing, cycling, and yoga, making it an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts. Despite its distinctiveness, Boulder’s housing costs may be prohibitively expensive for some. However, more affordable housing options can be found in neighboring municipalities.


Castle Rock is an excellent choice for those looking to take advantage of the numerous amenities and opportunities available in Denver, Aurora, and Colorado Springs. Between 2010 and 2020, the town’s approximately 75,000 increased by more than 50%. In addition, it is a close-knit community with plenty of jobs and opportunities nearby. 

Castle Rock is named after a geological feature and provides easy access to open spaces, golf courses, and other outdoor attractions. The town is densely populated and hosts year-round neighborhood events. It is an ideal home base for commuters to nearby destinations such as Lakewood, Littleton, and the Denver Tech Center.


Aurora has emerged as a highly sought-after Denver suburb in recent years, owing to its excellent combination of family-friendly amenities and easy access to outdoor activities. Its convenient location just 30 minutes east of downtown Denver makes it a popular choice for families looking for a good mix of affordability and entertainment options in the area. In addition, visitors to Aurora can enjoy the cultural arts district, hiking around Cherry Creek Reservoir, and multiple commercial districts that have transformed this suburb into an independent city.

Colorado Springs

It is the state’s second-largest city and an appealing option for nature enthusiasts due to its combination of entertainment, value, and location. It is approximately one hour south of Denver and one hour from Pikes Peak. Despite its size, it has a small-town feel, with several close-knit neighborhoods scattered throughout the city. 

Colorado Springs’s historic downtown is excellent to explore, with various shops, restaurants, and lively nightlife. Furthermore, Colorado Springs’s living cost is lower than the state average, and housing is still reasonably priced, making it an appealing option.

Fort Collins

Fort Collins, about an hour north of Denver, has earned a reputation as a well-rounded place to live, offering an appealing blend of nature, entertainment, and culture at an affordable price. The city is located near the foothills of the Rockies and has many trails, lakes, and public parks for nature lovers, with Rocky Mountain National Park only an hour away. 

Downtown Fort Collins has Old Town Square, over 80 restaurants, and other commercial districts with top-notch shops and dining experiences. Colorado State University is also in Fort Collins, adding to the city’s lively atmosphere.

Grand Junction

Grand Junction, the only city on the list from Colorado’s Western Slope, is about an hour from the Utah border. This city is well-known for being the heart of Colorado’s wine country, with various activities to keep its residents busy all year. The town is surrounded by mountains, offering excellent biking, hiking trails, and rock climbing opportunities. In addition, because Grand Junction is located at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers, there are numerous opportunities for whitewater rafting.


Durango, in Colorado’s southwestern corner, is recommended for those who enjoy a relaxed lifestyle and a love of nature. This historic railroad town has been named one of the best cities in Colorado, even making USA Today’s list of the top 50. Durango has much to offer, including over 300 miles of biking and hiking trails. In addition, the city has a close-knit community and a charming downtown area with various local restaurants and cafes.

What are the Taxes Like in Colorado

How does Colorado’s tax system compare to that of other states? Colorado’s tax system includes a flat 4.40% state individual income tax rate and a 4.40% corporate income tax rate. In addition, local income taxes are also collected by some jurisdictions within the state. 

Furthermore, Colorado’s state sales tax rate is 2.90%, with a maximum local sales tax rate of 8.30%t, for a combined state and a local sales tax rate of 7.78%. As a result, Colorado’s tax system is ranked 21st overall in our 2023 ranking.

Challenges of Living in Colorado

The main disadvantage of living in Colorado is the high cost of living, with homes and rentals costing about 65% and 30% more than the national average. Furthermore, urbanization has resulted in overcrowding and higher prices for everything, including national parks. Finally, because 75% of Colorado is above 10,000 feet, altitude sickness is a real issue. Traffic is a significant issue, especially in cities like Denver, where rush hour lasts all day and weekends see a large influx of people. 

Some locals are unfriendly to newcomers, blaming them for rising prices and housing shortages. While snow is excellent for skiing, it can also be overwhelming and make getting around difficult. There are few swimming opportunities, with only a few city pools and reservoirs for boating, but the water needs to be warmer to swim in.

Things to Do in Colorado

Here are five ideas for things to do in Colorado:

  • The Museum of the Mountain West: A must-see for history lovers, this museum is a collection of Old West buildings and items. It’s in Montrose, Colorado, filled with incredible Old West artifacts, including an Old West saloon. Admission is $15 for individuals, $12.50 for couples, military members, and seniors, and $5 for children.
  • Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave: This museum tells the story of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, a legendary figure in the Old West. The museum offers a wealth of information about one of the fascinating people this state has ever known. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $1 for children. It is located in Golden, Colorado.
  • Manitou Spring: Located in a mountain community near Colorado Springs, this town offers great outdoor activities like ziplining and fishing and arts and cultural activities like visiting art galleries. There are numerous places of interest to visit in Manitou Springs.
  • Opera Colorado: One of the best ways to experience art in Colorado is through Opera Colorado performances. The Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver hosts shows that are filled with passion and beauty. If you’re looking for an enriching experience, this is one of the best.
  • Red Rocks Amphitheatre: This outdoor venue, made of actual stones, hosts some of Colorado’s best concerts. It creates a listening environment where your favorite bands sound better than you imagine. It’s in Morrison, Colorado, and it’s a great place to see a one-of-a-kind concert.

Local Culture in Colorado

Colorado’s cultural life is diverse and rich, with many notable artists, musicians, and writers associated with the state. Colorado’s history is preserved in various historical sites and museums, including the History Colorado Center in Denver and several early-state houses and forts. The state also has a thriving arts scene, with institutions such as the Denver Art Museum and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and a thriving outdoor recreation culture, with popular activities such as skiing, hiking, and kayaking.

What is Colorado Most Known For?

Colorado is well-known for its diverse landscapes, wildlife, and outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, skiing, and canoeing. In addition, there are forests, mountains, mesas, hot springs, and dunes. Colorado is known as the “Centennial State” because it was founded 100 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. 

It is also famous for being the cheeseburger’s birthplace and having a neighborhood known as The Sweetheart City. The Rocky Mountain National Park, skiing in Vail, trying local food such as Colorado Lamb, hiking the Colorado Trail, visiting Mesa Verde National Park, and learning about the invention of the cheeseburger are just a few of the things to see and do in Colorado.

Things to Know About Moving to Colorado

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

In Colorado, an annual income of $75,000 to $80,000 is typically required to live comfortably. This amount would cover basic needs such as housing, food, transportation, and healthcare, as well as some extra costs for leisure activities such as dining out, traveling, and entertainment.

Duration Requirements to Attain Resident Status in Colorado

To be considered a Colorado resident, you must either work for a Colorado-based company or own a business in the state. If you do not meet the criteria above, you must reside in Colorado for at least 90 days. 

Safety in Colorado

Colorado is generally a safe place to visit; however, visitors should be aware of the relatively higher rate of property crimes and the fact that Colorado has a higher violent crime rate than the national average. Tourists can, however, reduce their chances of becoming victims of crime by taking precautions such as locking their doors and avoiding dangerous neighborhoods.

Thinking about moving to other states? Read our articles “Moving to Arizona” and “Moving to California” for valuable insights and guidance.

Making Your Move to Colorado

Here at Mercury Auto Transport understand that moving to Colorado can be both exciting and concerning. That is why we provide dependable auto transport services to make the process easier. Our expert team is committed to providing safe and timely transportation to and from Colorado for your vehicle.

Our top priority is customer satisfaction, and we ensure that your vehicle arrives on time and in the same condition it was picked up in. We provide a full range of services and competitive pricing, so you can rely on us to handle your auto transport needs and make your move to Colorado as easy as possible. So get your free quote today and leave the rest to us.


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