Best Places To Live In Colorado In 2022
There are many compelling reasons to live in Colorado—as the state offers a four-season climate while boasting rugged mountains and desert towns. People are also moving to the state for its casual culture, economic opportunities and endless outdoor activities.
Whether you’re relocating from the midwest or a coastal state, these are the best places in Colorado to live and enjoy the state’s famous scenery and relaxing quality of life. We analyzed cities by pulling recent data on key lifestyle factors such as the area’s median home price, personal income per capita, and the unemployment and crime rate.
Pueblo provides a southwestern culture and plenty of sun. The downtown Riverwalk is a fun assortment of shops, restaurants and events. Some of the town’s primary employers are Colorado State University Pueblo and Parkview Medical Center.
A high desert climate shields residents from the extreme winter conditions that affect most of the state. The annual average snowfall is around 32 inches, but this is lower than northern cities like Denver or Fort Collins, which can expect to receive around 50 inches annually.
While Pueblo is one of Colorado’s most affordable midsize towns, its crime and unemployment rates are above average for similar cities across the state. As a result, it doesn’t rank higher on our list, as finding a safer neighborhood can require more effort.
Durango is one of the best places to live in Colorado if you want easy access to ski slopes, trout fishing and trails for hiking and biking. You can also enjoy the perks of small-town living, which can be beneficial for families and retirees.
It’s also one of the most influential cities in southwestern Colorado with tourism being a primary industry. However, this city has a high cost of living due to its desirable mountain location.
It’s easy to enjoy the best of many worlds in Boulder. This college town of approximately 100,000 residents has a vibrant social scene, tech employment opportunities, easy access to outdoor activities and an emphasis on holistic living.
While the city has just about everything you need, the big metropolis of Denver is only 40 minutes away if you want to attend concerts and sporting events or fly from a major international airport.
Boulder is a delightful city for working professionals seeking an impressive quality of life, but it’s also one of the most expensive places in Colorado.
Greeley is one of the best places to live in Colorado for families as it’s one of the most affordable communities on the Front Range. You can also be in downtown Denver in just over an hour or reach Fort Collins in 45 minutes.
Northern Colorado University and a revitalized downtown district are two highlights of living in Greeley. Agribusiness, food manufacturing and education are pushing economic growth for the city as well.
There are also many opportunities to be outdoors—whether it’s hiking or biking the 21-mile Poudre River Trail or exploring nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. And during the winter months, you can relax at an indoor water park to escape the cold.
4. Grand Junction
Residing in Grand Junction allows you to enjoy Colorado wine country and the hub of the Western Slope. This is one of the more affordable cities to buy a home as you’re further away from the state’s biggest cities. Grand Junction also offers its own outdoor destinations.
Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa are in the town’s backyard. You can also reach popular ski resorts like Aspen, Telluride or Vail in approximately two hours.
Healthcare and education are the two largest employment sectors, but private sector employment is also available with plenty of remote work opportunities.
3. Colorado Springs
Many people choose to move to Colorado Springs for its breathtaking scenery while avoiding the big-city hustle of Denver, which is only an hour away. “The Springs,” as many locals call it, is also more affordable and has a lower crime rate than Denver, which makes it a more family-friendly town.
World-class athletes training at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center give Colorado Springs its nickname: “Olympic City USA.” The town sits a mile above sea level, and the thin air is an excellent training environment.
Additionally, relatively few types of businesses need a business license compared to other Coloradoan cities, which is helpful if you’re an entrepreneur. Other large employers operate in the defense, tech and tourism industries.
Related: How To Start A Business In Colorado
As an economic hub of the Mountain West, Denver offers many high-paying employment opportunities and plenty of big-city amenities like public transit, bustling nightlife and professional sports venues.
You can also easily access many of Colorado’s best natural landmarks and ski resorts from the Mile High City within four hours or less.
Living in Denver can be relatively expensive, but the Aurora suburban area is notably cheaper and less than 30 minutes from the city center.
1. Fort Collins
The honor of the most underrated city in Colorado may belong to Fort Collins, which offers a promising economy and favorable quality of life for families and young professionals alike.
While the city population has been growing rapidly recently, the town is able to offer impressive services while doing its best to maintain a small-town vibe.
For example, there are over 30 miles of well-manicured bike trails to navigate the city at any time of the year. Additionally, Colorado State University provides plenty of cultural and sports activities for locals.
Another standout trait is that many consider Fort Collins to be the “craft beer capital of Colorado.” The city is in contention for the most breweries per capita in the U.S.
We compared the various Colorado metropolitan areas using data from several platforms to measure variable criteria for home affordability, healthy employment and population growth.
The metro areas we chose are spread across the Centennial State and can be excellent places to call home for couples or families. To avoid redundancy, we didn’t list multiple suburbs within the same metro area to provide more options if you decide to move to Colorado.
Our ratings take into consideration the city’s size, crime rate, unemployment rate and cost of living. Community amenities such as outdoor activities, public transit and healthcare access also play a factor.
The comparison criteria and corresponding sources include:
- Population: U.S. Census Bureau, 2021
- Median home price: Realtor.com, August 2022
- Cost of living for family of four: Economic Policy Institute
- Personal income per capita: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2020
- Unemployment statistics: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 2022
- Community well-being: ShareCare Community Well-Being Index
- Crime rate: FBI Crime Data Explorer, 2020
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