Many of the readers who responded to our recent post "Why It's So Hard to Make a Living in Denver Despite Strong Economy" told us that costs in the Mile High City are putting a major squeeze on their pocketbooks. And indeed, Denver is currently among the twenty most expensive cities to live in in North America as measured by updated price data for basic commodities in the area.
Our source is Expatistan.com, which describes itself as "the original source for cost-of-living comparisons" and uses crowdsourcing techniques to come up with its number. The latest figures in the site's cost-of-living index for North America are based on 1,899 prices as entered by 364 different contributors and was last updated yesterday, April 24.
At this writing, according to the site, Denver is the seventeenth most expensive place to live in North America, based on prices arrayed in six major categories: food, housing, clothes, transportation, personal care and entertainment. The focus in food is on staples such as milk, eggs and bread; housing looks at the cost of rent and some common appliances; clothes range from casual to business-appropriate; transportation includes gas prices and more; personal care incorporates toothpaste, toilet paper and doctor visits; and entertainment encompasses the amount charged locally for movie tickets, a dinner out on the town and the charge for a pack of cigarettes, among other things.
Based on our experience as longtime consumers in metro Denver, Expatistan's prices seem on, or at least near, the nose.
Below, see the complete breakdown for Denver, followed by Expatistan's list of the twenty most expensive cities in North America.
Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district: $14
Combo meal in fast-food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar): $7
500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast: $3.94
1 liter (1 qt.) of whole-fat milk: $0.84
12 eggs, large: $3.34
1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes: $4.17
500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese: $7
1 kg (2 lb.) of apples: $3.26
1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes: $1.50
0.5 l (16 oz) domestic beer in the supermarket: $2.06
1 bottle of red table wine, good quality: $16
2 liters of Coca-Cola: $1.64
Bread for 2 people for 1 day: $1.89
Monthly rent for 85 m sq (900 sq ft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area: $1,873
Monthly rent for 85 m sq (900 sq ft) furnished accommodation in NORMAL area: $1,556
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 2 people in 85 m sq flat: $124
Monthly rent for a 45 m sq (480 sq ft) furnished studio in EXPENSIVE area: $1,509
Monthly rent for a 45 m sq (480 sq ft) furnished studio in NORMAL area: $1,045
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 1 person in 45 m sq (480 sq ft) studio: $77
Internet 8 Mbps (1 month): $48
40” flat screen TV: $380
Microwave 800/900 Watt (Bosch, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, or equivalent brands): $138
Laundry detergent (3 l/100 oz.): $13
Hourly rate for cleaning help: $26
1 pair of jeans (Levis 501 or similar): $46
1 summer dress in a High Street Store (Zara, H&M or similar retailers): $51
1 pair of sport shoes (Nike, Adidas or equivalent brands): $85
1 pair of men’s leather business shoes: $100
Continue for the data about the cost of transportation, personal care and entertainment in Denver, plus Expatistan's list of the twenty most expensive cities in North America.