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Cost of Living in Denver, CO 2022

May 12, 2022

There are plenty of reasons to move to Denver, including its booming job market, and an outdoorsy lifestyle. About to purchase a one-way ticket to the Mile High City? Get ready for scenic hikes, hot springs, and weekends conquering the slopes of the Colorado mountains.

Moving to Denver and starting a new chapter in your life is a thrilling adventure. But before you pack up, learn more about the cost of living in Denver to determine what you can afford and what kind of monthly budget to set. Here’s where to get started.

Housing Affordability in Denver

Housing is almost always your biggest expense when moving to any city. Denver is an emerging tech hub attracting an influx of engineers looking for an alternative to the San Francisco Bay Area. Because of this, Denver is also turning into a remote-worker city. In fact, Denver ranked #8 in our best cities for remote workers. Of course, the surge of highly paid workers drives up housing prices in the area. As a result, in the past five years, Denver rents grew by about 18% over the last five years and have increased about 16.85% over the past twelve months.

To get a better idea of the cost of living in Denver costs $1,489 on average, which is above the national average of $1,101. The bad news is, Denver is a bit more expensive than last year. Denver rent prices have increased by 14.1% compared to a 2.5% rise in nationwide rents.

Not sure how much to spend on an apartment in Denver? Do some math and figure out how much you can spend on rent.

Learn about the best neighborhoods to live in Denver.

Denver Transportation

Transportation is another important category to consider when calculating the cost of living in Denver. If you are an adult living in Denver, expect to spend at least $4,900 per year on transportation. Families with two working adults and one child can expect to pay $11,186 per year on transportation. If you decide to use public transit, be ready to pay $114 per month for a monthly pass to get around Denver or $3 per one-way ride.

Food in Denver

According to the MIT living wage estimates, a single adult that cooks his or her meals (including snacks) at home will spend around $3,792 per year on food. If your cooking skills leave much to be desired, take advantage of Denver’s fantastic restaurants for an average of $18 per meal at an inexpensive restaurant without appetizers, alcohol, and dessert. A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant will add up to $74 on average.

Denver Healthcare

Healthcare should also factor into your monthly budget when figuring out the cost of living in Denver. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MIT estimated the typical health expenditure for a single full-time working adult in Denver is $2,810 per year. For a family of two adults and a child, it will increase up to $8,135 per year.

Denver Utilities

Denver’s reasonable climate keeps utility bills in check, but is still a factor in the cost of living in Denver. According to the Energy Resource Center, the average residential electric bill in Denver is around $78 per month, well below the national average of $107 per month. A basic utility bill that includes electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage will average $149.94 per month. If you include Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) it will increase the total monthly cost of utilities by around $66.35 on average, totaling $216.29 per month.

Denver Fitness and Entertainment

Denver’s wealth of hiking and biking trails, walkable streets, and outdoor recreation make it a beautiful place to get fit. City Park is the perfect place to spend the day exploring 330 landscaped acres, playing golf, or visiting the Denver Zoo. However, you can still join a gym at an average of $65.08 in monthly membership fees.

When it comes to entertainment, watching that new blockbuster movie will cost you at least $13 per ticket, excluding popcorn and drinks. Fortunately, Denver is home to several free, world-class attractions. Embrace your frugal side and visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, City Park Summer Jazz Series, and the Red Rocks Amphitheater, in addition to special free days at attractions like the Denver Botanic Gardens.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in Denver?

After a surge in Denver rents over the last five years, apartment hunters are enjoying a reprieve with slightly decreasing rents. You need to earn about $53,928 per year, or $25.93 per hour to comfortably rent a median one-bedroom apartment in Denver. This factors in the idea you will still want some money to splurge and save and not spend it all on rent.

You should also consider the living wage when calculating the cost of living in Denver. The living wage is the minimum amount of money needed to live above the poverty threshold. In Denver, it is around $17.40 per hour for a full-time employed individual, as per MIT calculations. It doesn’t include expenses on entertainment, vacations, and restaurants, or make room for savings. The estimated median household income at the end of 2019 was around $68,592, providing Denverites with some breathing room.

Other Expenses Adding to Your Cost of Living in Denver

The cost of living in Denver also has a few surprises. The city sales tax is reasonably low at 4.75%, but there's also a state sales tax of 2.9%, and a Regional Transportation (RTD) tax of 1%. Recreational marijuana use is also legal in Denver, but there's a combination of steep excise taxes and sales tax to consider. You should expect to pay about 15% tax on recreational marijuana in Denver.

Final Thoughts - Should I Move to Denver?

In comparison to metropolitan cities, the cost of living in Denver is still pretty reasonable with room for newcomers.

If you're interested, compare the Colorado cities using the blogs below:


Colorado Springs

Now that you know all about the cost of living in Denver, you can start your apartment hunt in Mile High City. Get started with this quiz today.

FAQ: Cost of Living in Denver

How expensive is an apartment in Denver?

A studio apartment in Denver costs $1,561. A 1 bedroom apartment in Denver costs $1,498. A 2 bedroom apartment in Denver costs $2,835. A 3 bedroom apartment in Denver costs $2,800.

What is the cheapest rent in Denver?

A one-bedroom apartment is the cheapest rent you can get in Denver, with the median rent sitting at $1,498. The average rent for a studio apartment in Denver is higher at $1,561.

How expensive is it to live in Denver?

In Denver, rent averages $1,498 for a 1 bedroom apartment. Transportation costs in Denver amount to $4,900 a year. Food costs $3,792 a year on average for a single resident of Denver.

How far is Boulder from Denver?

Denver is 29.6 miles away from Boulder. It takes 36 minutes to get to Boulder from Denver by car, 2 hours and 49 minutes by bike, and 9 hours and 24 minutes by foot.

How far is Colorado Springs from Denver?

Denver is 72.9 miles away from Colorado Springs. It takes 1 hours and 12 minutes to get to Colorado Springs from Denver by car, 7 hours by bike, and 24 hours by foot.

How far is Aspen from Denver?

Denver is 198 miles away from Aspen. It takes 3 hours and 37 minutes to get to Aspen from Denver by car, 21 hours by bike, and 62 hours by foot.

How far is Breckenridge from Denver?

Denver is 81 miles away from Breckenridge. It takes 1 hour and 40 minutes to get to Breckenridge from Denver by car, 11 hours by bike, and 29 hours by foot.

How far is Denver from California?

Denver is 1,141 miles away from California. It takes 17 hours and 37 minutes to get to California from Denver by car, 103 hours by bike, and 356 hours by foot.

How far is Vail from Denver?

Denver is 97 miles away from Vail. It takes 1 hour and 46 minutes to get to Vail from Denver by car, 13 hours by bike, and 37 hours by foot.

What is the population of Denver?

The population of Denver is 715,522. It is the most populated city in the state of Colorado.

What is a good salary in Denver?

The recommended salary in Denver is $4,494 per month or $53,494 annually. This total reflects a salary that would allow a renter to live comfortably and afford to cover the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment which sits at $1,498.

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Sania is a content manager and contributing author at Apartment List. Sania previously worked in marketing at Habitat for Humanity and Samsung Electronics. Read More
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