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

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

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts