Boulder cost of living index

In the event that the cost of living data was unavailable for this city, estimates based upon nearby cities were used. Each cost of living index is based on a national average of 100. If the amount is below 100, it is lower than the national average. If the amount is above 100, it is higher than the national average.
IndexBoulderColoradoNational
Cost of living index138106100
IndexBoulderColoradoNational
Goods & Services index103101100
Groceries index10098100
Health care index106104100
Housing index227122100
Transportation index9899100
Utilities index9388100
Here we can see a simple outline of the cost of living in Boulder, CO. As you can see, with the average cost of living in Boulder, CO being 138, that puts it 31% higher than the average of Colorado and 38% higher than our nation's average. This simple outline of the cost of living index was formulated using prices of: goods and services (weighted 33%), housing prices (weighted 30%), groceries (weighted 13%), utilities (weighted 10%), transportation (weighted 9%), and health care (weighted 5%). Thus, goods/services, along with housing influences the majority of the cost of living index. The price of daily goods and services is a valuable and reliable number to be aware of when considering the general price of the city's goods. In the case of Boulder, CO, the price of goods and services are 2% higher than the average of Colorado as well as 3% higher than the nation's average.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Boulder is 31% higher than the Colorado average.
  • The cost of living in Boulder is 38% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Boulder is 127% higher than the national average.
  • Colorado general sales tax is 43% lower than the national average.
  • Colorado state income tax is 108% higher than the national average.

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Salary Calculator

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Groceries index
Health care index
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Transportation index
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Use the salary calculator to compare your current income in Boulder, CO to any other city in the country. The calculator will tell you how much income you would need to make in a particular city to live at the same level based on the cost of living in each city. For example, if the cost of living in the city you are looking to move to is higher than that of Boulder, CO, then you would need to earn a higher salary in order to enjoy the same standard of living. To use the Boulder, CO salary calculator, enter the name of the new city, then move the slider to your current salary level. The salary calculator will do the rest and let you know if your salary would need to increase or decrease for the new city. You will also see a complete overview of the cost of living.

Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
Owners$99,280$8,273$2,316$2,979
Renters$31,725$2,644$740$952
A good way to judge both the affordability of the housing and the cost of living is by simply calculating the maximum that a person should spend on housing in Boulder, CO, otherwise known as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). The safest way to live in the city is to avoid spending more than 28 percent of the gross income that one earns on costs that pertain to housing and no more than 36 percent on all expenses and debts. Boulder, CO has a median income of about $99,280 for people who own homes. Based on that number, a person should spend a maximum of $2,316 on expenses related to housing. Renters have a slightly different median income, which is $31,725. Based on this average, renters should spend no more than $740 on all of their rental costs if they want to maintain a non-impoverished standard of living.

Colorado Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax
Colorado2.9%10%

Colorado Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
Colorado4.63%4.63%
For those who live in Boulder, CO and want to know what the true cost of living is, they ought to look at both the Colorado income tax rate and the Colorado sales tax rate. By sales tax, we mean the taxes that are included whenever a person is purchasing any goods or services. The amount that is taxed depends upon the particular state, where some states have a sales tax of zero percent while others can have a tax higher than seven percent. In Colorado, the sales tax is 2.9%, while the most you'll pay in surtax is 10%. There is also income tax to consider, which is based upon the amount of money made in a year. Just like sales tax, income tax depends upon the particular state but also depends upon what tax bracket the person is in. Income tax for the state can be higher than nine percent in some states to zero percent in others. For those that live in Colorado, the income tax rate ranges between 4.63% to 4.63%.

Goods & Services

ItemBoulderNational avg.Difference
Haircut $17.25$14.5918.2%
Beauty Salon $35.00$34.680.9%
Toothpaste $3.00$2.4721.3%
Shampoo $1.10$1.027.6%
Movie $11.22$9.8713.7%
Bowling $6.75$4.3953.7%

Groceries

ItemBoulderNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $5.01$4.4811.9%
Fried Chicken $1.71$1.4616.8%
Milk $2.43$2.363.1%
Potatoes $2.55$3.0616.7%
Pizza $7.99$9.2413.6%
Beer $8.55$8.631.0%

Health Care

ItemBoulderNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $101.85$99.782.1%
Doctor $124.80$105.0318.8%
Dentist $95.00$88.707.1%
Ibuprofen $9.24$9.411.8%
Lipitor $278.85$298.506.6%

Housing

ItemBoulderNational avg.Difference
Home Price $489,500.00$181,400.00169.8%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,348.76$1,081.0324.8%
Apartment Rent $1,132.00$889.0027.3%

Transportation

ItemBoulderNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.00$2.094.6%
Tire Balancing $47.12$45.294.1%

Utilities

ItemBoulderNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$153.48$170.8010.1%
Phone $27.57$28.262.4%
Although the cost of living data is updated regularly, this cost of living information is to be used as estimates only as prices can change on an ongoing basis.

Nearby cities with low cost of living

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Hidden Lake, CO01000%
Crisman, CO621000%
Leyner, CO01000%
Federal Heights, CO11,59883-17%
Jackson Lake, CO11990-10%
Boulder, CO99,17713838%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Kenosha, WI99,29796-4%
Highlands Ranch, CO98,97712323%
Spring Hill, FL99,51393-7%
Santa Maria, CA98,71511616%
El Cajon, CA99,68012828%
Boulder, CO99,17713838%
Source: The Boulder, CO cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2015.