Article by Melissa Villalobos
Located along the scenic Rocky Mountain Front Range, many consider Denver the ideal mix of urban bustle and outdoor adventure. Known for its thriving craft beer scene and easy access to world-class ski slopes, the city is consistently rated as one of the best places in the country to live.
If you’re considering Denver as your new home base, you’re not alone. The city’s growing economy, booming tech industry, vibrant nightlife and active community culture have attracted a population growth of 17.4% in the last decade. But is Denver right for you?
We’ve nailed down all the most essential statistics on the city and how it measures up. Outside of figuring out the logistics, like which Denver long distance moving company to hire, here’s what you’ll want to know before relocating to the Mile High City.
Climate & Weather in Denver, CO
Despite its reputation as a ski and snowboarding destination, Denver’s climate is surprisingly mild. Area temperatures remain reasonably comfortable through all four seasons. In the winter, highs can reach close to 50°, with lows that rarely fall below 20°. Summer months are hot, (sometimes with highs of 90° or more) but are comfortable due to the region’s low humidity.
Residents can expect around 50 inches of snow to land per year, but it rarely sticks around long enough to shut down roads or disrupt traffic. Although snow is common in the winter, Denver’s year-round weather is predominantly sunny. On average the city receives around 300 days of sunshine per year – statistically more than both San Diego and Miami!
Although mild and often sunny, Denver’s weather is known for its unpredictable nature. Because of the city’s high altitude and proximity to the mountains, conditions are famous for changing on a dime; cold, snowy days are not unusually followed by sunshine and warmth. In drastic cases, Denver’s temperature has been known to fluctuate as much as in a 4-hour period
Cost of living in Denver, CO
As far as major cities are concerned, Denver’s cost of living is relatively affordable. It’s not as expensive as urban giants like LA, Boston, San Francisco or New York, but it isn’t necessarily the cheapest place to live, either.
One factor driving up the state’s cost of living is its sky-high healthcare costs, which are reportedly 17% more than the national average. Those living in the Denver area (or anywhere in Colorado) should expect to pay significantly more for healthcare services like hospital stays and outpatient procedures – an interesting fact, given that the state’s residents consistently rank as some of the healthiest in the county.
When it comes to livelihood staples like grocery bills and basics, Denver residents can expect to pay around 4% less than the national average. According to Numbeo, those living within the city will shell out approximately:
- $.84 for a liter of milk
- $39.59 monthly for a gym membership
- $12.00 for a movie ticket
- $1.94 for a domestic bottle of beer
In relation to the national average, Denver’s overall cost of living is rated 128.4 – 14% higher than the national average, with Colorado’s pricey housing costs proving the most impacting factor.
Renting a Home in Denver, CO
Although the Denver’s other living expenses are on par with national averages, the city’s recent population boom has created a considerable increase in housing costs. While it is still possible to find rentals in select neighborhoods for under $1,000, average monthly prices for a one-bedroom apartment will cost around $1,266 per month according to Rentdata.
Comparatively, studio apartments average $1,114 monthly, two-bedroom rentals average $1,566, and rentals with between three and four bedrooms will cost renters $2,163 – $2,488. These figures might sound pricey to some, but are on par with rent prices in other major US cities. They’re also considerably more affordable than hot spots like LA and New York City, where comparable one-bedroom rentals can fetch upwards of $2,500.
Buying a Home in Denver, CO
Denver’s constant growth has also led to inflated home prices. Today’s median home price in the Mile High City is $426,200 – a number which nearly doubles the US national average of $216,000. But even despite heftier price tags, choosing to purchase a home om the city rather than renting long term still offers the benefit of lower overall housing costs.
To offset costly purchase prices, Denver offers home buyers highly affordable property tax rates. These rates vary from county to county, but are consistently well below the national average.
Purchasing a home in Denver also offers a promising investment opportunity; because the city’s growth shows no signs of slowing down or stopping, its home values are also projected to continue rising quickly in the coming years.
Schooling & Education in Denver, CO
Denver schools, which are known for their diversity, serve 171,601 students. With 9,730 teachers currently employed, that creates a student-teacher ration of 17:1. This ration is slightly more than the national average of 16:1, according to Public School Review.
Denver is served by 175 public elementary, middle and high schools as well as 220 private schools, leaving parents plenty of options to choose from. Public institutions are tuition-free, while the average private shcool charges $10,600 annually for elementary school and $10,317 for high school. According to the Private School Review, their average acceptance rate is 86%.
Recently, the Colorado Department of Education announced that Denver Public School’s four-year on-time graduation rates have increased to 70.2%, which is slightly less than the national average of 84.6%.
Denver’s central city region is also home to 20 higher education institutions including:
- University of Colorado Denver
- Metropolitan State University of Denver
- Community College of Denver
Job & Employment Outlook in Denver, CO
The job and employment outlook in Denver are excellent. The city’s employment growth shows overwhelmingly positive trends, with jobs increasing by 2.8% in just the last year. In the next 10 years, Denver predicts a job growth of 45%.
Denver’s most in-demand sectors are health care and IT, meaning those with either a medical or tech background will find their skills especially marketable in the area. According to Zippia, nearly all the city’s 100 highest paying jobs (ranging from $81,000-$252,730 annually) exist in either the health care or tech industries.
Even outside the IT and medical sectors, job outlooks are promising. At 2.3%, metro Denver’s unemployment rate is considerably lower than the national average. Moreover, the city’s median household income is $60,098, which is $2,446 more than the annual American average according to Best Places.
In the coming year, the CU forecast predicts that upwards of 40,100 new jobs will be created, which will keep the city in the top 10 nationally. These new jobs can be attributed in part to industry giants like Lockheed Martin Space and Amazon who are expanding in the city, creating many new employment opportunities.
How to Get Around Denver, CO
Public transportation in Denver is currently limited but slowly expanding. The city’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) offers residents a system of buses, trains, and light rails that connect the Mile High City, even offering an A Line train which travels directly to the Denver International Airport.
While Denver’s MallRide buses offer free rides for inner-city travel, the city’s RTD system otherwise rates as one of the most expensive public transit systems in the nation. Single ride fares are $5.00 for Local trips, $9.00 for Regional trips, and $20.00 for trips to the Denver International Airport, though other packages and ride passes are available.
Although Denver is rated as moderately walkable and incredibly bike-friendly, those wishing to move to the city will definitely need a car to get around. Unfortunately, the city’s recent population boom has created considerable traffic problems in the Denver metro area. Fortunately, 2019 studies report that commutes are getting shorter.
According to Business Insider in 2019, Denver’s average commute time is 28.1 minutes each way – a number that goverment officials are actively aiming to reduce in the coming years.
Community and Culture in Denver, CO
Denver residents are known for being friendly and active. With eight state parks located 30 minutes or less from the city, Denver has attracted outdoor enthusiasts like a magnet. On weekends, residents flock to ski slopes, bike paths, lakes, hiking trails, and campgrounds to wind down and relax.
With 7 professional teams represented in the Denver area, the city is also an epicenter for sports culture. If you love sports, Denver is the place to be. It boasts professional teams in almost every sport imaginable: football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, basketball and lacrosse.
The city’s median age is 34, which is slightly younger than the national average. Residents describe Denver’s dating scene as casual and laid-back, with considerably more single men than single women – a ration likely determined by the city’s tech workforce, which caters particularly to make professionals.
Denver also features an active, vibrant nightlife and a clear appreciation for anything craft. Artisan shops, craft coffee cafes, family-owned eateries, and craft beer breweries are just a few highlights of the city’s many local offerings. With more than 148+ breweries, Denver also brews more beer daily than any other city in the US, making it a dream spot for beer enthusiasts.
Is Denver, CO Right for You?
Like everywhere, Denver has its pros and cons. Whether it’s a match for you will come down largely to personal taste. At the end of the day, your decision should be made based on your priorities, future plans, and preferred lifestyle.
While Denver is a paradise for sports enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, creatives, and anyone wishing to pursue a career in the IT industry, it may not be right for you. Still feeling torn? Consider the facts, weigh your options, and decide whether or not Denver’s many perks make it the perfect place for you to call home.