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How Much You Need to Make to Be a 1 Percenter Where You Live in Colorado

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A recent study reveals how much money is required to break into the top 1 percent by income in cities and counties across Colorado, and the numbers at the top of the charts are eye-popping.

To climb into the lower reaches of the 1 percent in the top metro area, a resident must bring home more than $800,000 — and breaching that barrier in the priciest county requires in excess of $1.3 million per annum.

These digits can be found in "The New Guilded Age," from the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, our source for a post identifying Colorado places with the greatest income inequality.

As authors Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price point out, the gap between the richest and the rest has widened in all fifty states since the 1970s, and this scenario has gotten worse in almost every state since 2009, the dawn of the Great Recession. In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, an American family in the top 1 percent benefited from approximately 26 times more income than folks in the bottom 99 percent.


The threshold for entry into the 1 percent varies widely from place to place within Colorado. In four of the seventeen Colorado metros analyzed by the institute, those who live there can become 1 percenters with incomes of less than $300,000. In contrast, the top six communities, including the Denver area, require incomes above $500,000 to achieve this designation.

The differences are even greater at the county level. People who live in seven Colorado counties need an income under $200,000 to hit the 1 percenter target. But in the six priciest counties, 1 percenters need more than $750,000 for membership in this exclusive club.

Below, we've focused on all seventeen Colorado metros (out of 916 across the country) and the 57 Colorado counties (from a total of 3,061) included in the institute's analysis. The items include the 1 percenter threshold for each location and its national ranking, ordered from lowest to highest.

As you'll see, entry into the 1 percent tends to take fewer dollars in rural communities and counties. The amounts go up in major metros and ski/resort towns.

Note that the threshold in the biggest buck Colorado county is the fifth most expensive in the entire country. Get the details below.