How Much a Family Needs to Earn for a Modest Standard of Living in Colorado

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Last month, we published "How Much You Need to Make to Have an Adequate Standard of Living in Denver." 

The post used number complied by the Economic Policy Institute — and there's a lot more data about Colorado available.

EPI's website includes a tool dubbed the Family Budget Calculator, which "measures the income a family needs in order to attain a secure yet modest living standard by estimating community-specific costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities and taxes."

The digits date back to 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, and offer estimates for 615 American locations, including eight areas in Colorado: Boulder, Denver-Aurora, Fort Collins-Loveland, Greeley, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs and Teller County. There's also a grab-bag category that uses the umbrella term "Rural."

The calculator allows users to search for six family types: either one or two parents in conjunction with between one and three children. For the sake of simplicity, we chose one family type — two parents, two children — and we were startled by how much EPI says modesty for such a family costs.

We've listed and photo-illustrated the nine areas from lowest cost to highest and included EPI graphics. For more information, or to calculate other family sizes, click here.

Number 9: Pueblo
Number 8: Greeley
Number 7: Colorado Springs
Number 6: Fort Collins

Number 5: Grand Junction

Number 4: Rural
Number 3: Teller County
Number 2: Denver-Aurora
Number 1: Boulder

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.