Map Of Colorado Photo Credit: 200mm (iStock).

Photo Credit: 200mm (iStock).

The Ascent, a Motley Fool service, recently released a list of the 'most affordable' spots in the American West based on income-to-expense ratio and two Colorado cities were among the top ten 'most affordable' spots. In order to include the income-to-expense ratio in their analysis, The Ascent compared the cost of living estimate to median household income.

Ranking fourth on the top 10 list and earning the highest placement in Colorado was Denver. With cost of living estimated at $72,176 and a median household income of $85,641, the Mile High City has a 1.187 income-to-expense ratio.

Found in the eighth place spot was Colorado Springs, with a lower cost of living than Denver, but also lower median household income. The cost of living in Colorado Springs was calculated at nearly $7,000 less than that of Denver – $65,557 – however, people in Colorado Springs make quite a bit less. The median household income in the Springs is $72,633 – more than $13,000 less than that of the Mile High City.

In comparison, Denver residents have an average of $13,465 left over after cost of living is taken out of the median household income. Colorado Springs residents have $7,076.

It's also worth noting that median property value is quite a bit different when comparing these two Colorado cities. In Denver, the median property value is reportedly $435,100. In Colorado Springs, that number is just $288,400.

Topping out the list of most affordable spots in the West based on income and cost of living were three Utah spots – Ogden (1st), Provo (2nd), and Salt Lake City (3rd).

Read more about this analysis and the methodology here.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike. Follow along with his adventures on Instagram at @spence.outside


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(5) comments


I almost choked on my coffee reading this. Denver has become so unaffordable and the median property value is NOT in the $400k range. It's nearing $700k. It's nearly impossible to find a single family home in city limits for less than $450k, and those that are available are in poor shape, located in undesirable neighborhoods, and/or are in bidding wars that drive up the price and end up going to the developer who pays cash and closes in two weeks. They then go on to scrape the house that was "affordable" and rapidly erect a hideous duplex that towers above the other homes and list each side at $675k, so the only folks who can afford them are the recent transplants from CA and NY who have loads of cash and higher incomes because they work remote. Those of us natives are losing our ability to live in this incredible city that we built with love, being forced to look elsewhere to afford a place to live. My family has been in Denver for generations, now we are all dispersing because it has become so unaffordable. As a single person earning six figures, I still find myself unable to "win" a contract on the very few homes I can afford in the city. It's heartbreaking.

Mountain Man

Haha, are you kidding me? Those are two of the most expensive places to live in the state. If you're young it's pretty much unfeasible to live in the front range. The western slope is the last refuge for young coloradans.


I'm curious what constitutes as a city in this article. Perhaps you mean Metro areas. I lived in Denver for decades. In the last 10 years property values along the front range have skyrocketed. Affordable housing is non existent. If you make less than the "median" you cannot afford to buy a home or rent an apartment. If you make more than the "median" the front range is great, but overall this article is misleading. Median income isn't the actual income of the majority and too many people are struggling to make ends meet. There are way more "affordable" cities in Colorado and across the Western United States but most of them aren't home to corporate executives that boost the median income. This article also doesn't take into account the vast numbers of homeless that reside on the front range and the greater Salt Lake area. By all means keep moving to these cities and please don't do any further research. We're totally fine with transplants moving to the front range.


Ahhh, no we aren't totally fine with transplants. Why do you think we're in this situation with housing costs so friggin high? Have you not driven here? There is far too much traffic. Plus, when Boulder decided to legalize marijuana, the state started to go downhill. Not everyone wanted it. The people moving here are turning it into where they left. Colorado used to be a nice place to live. Not anymore.


Nope. Transplants should go back to California, which they already ruined. Last thing we need is more people, especially liberal city-slickers.

We had a senator who gave a about something other than the front range - you know, rural Colorado which is much larger in area but sparsely populated.

Now we we have that self-serving crook and nincompoop Hickenlooper.

Affordable?? Don't make me laugh. Some of us know the difference between median income and *average* income. People making average income could never hope to afford a house in the metro area.

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