The conversation about the most expensive parts of the US to live generally revolves around California and the state of New York. San Francisco and NYC are two of the most expensive cities in the world, after all. However, one city in Colorado has made it into the top 5 most unaffordable metro areas of the US: Boulder.
Boulder, Colorado has some of the most expensive housing in the entire country, but is it worth it? U.S. News ranked Boulder as the best place to live in the U.S. for 2021-22. This is the second year in a row it has achieved top spot.
For many people, the idea of moving to Boulder is a pipe-dream. The high cost of housing means related expenses are high. The most affordable homeowners insurance in Boulder needs to take into account just how much a home is currently worth. Renting is also expensive, and moving there might not be an option.
But for those willing to hustle to make some extra cash, living in Boulder, Colorado may be worth the expense. Here’s why.
The cost of living in Boulder, Colorado is skewed by the price of housing. Homes in Boulder are far more expensive than in the rest of Colorado and in most parts of the country. But outside of housing, the cost of living in Boulder is not that expensive.
This is not to say it is particularly cheap, but the price of groceries is only slightly above the U.S. average, and health care, utilities, and transport are all cheaper than average. If you can manage high mortgage payments or high rent, the rest of your expenses are not going to overwhelm you.
High housing prices do not always correlate with great job opportunities. There are cities which are populated by people with generational wealth who can afford mansions even after retiring. However, Boulder is not one of those cities.
In Boulder, homes are expensive in part because of the wealth of opportunities for high-paying jobs. In fact, the median household income in Boulder is $74,650, meaning that the cost of housing makes up just 33.9% of monthly income. For comparison, the median household income in San Jose is $110,000, and the cost of housing makes up 53.4% of monthly earnings!
So, while income is not quite as high as in the most expensive cities, it is significantly higher than elsewhere in the U.S. and makes up for the monthly cost of housing. If you manage to find a great job in Boulder, it is well worth paying up. Start sending your CV out to companies in Boulder if you are looking for your next best move.
In terms of metro areas, Boulder ranks second for highest quality of life in the U.S., beaten only by Ann Arbor, Michigan. This index includes overall wellbeing, crime rates, average morning commute time, college readiness of high school students, proximity to health care, and more.
It is an excellent place for families to get set up, and being in a vibrant metro area prepares youths for the necessities of high-powered jobs and businesses. It increases their likelihood of success, based on what they see around them and the networks they form.
If you are able to hustle to make the money to live in Boulder, Colorado, it may be the best thing you could do for your family.
The one thing lacking in Boulder is diversity, and this should be important even to those who are able to ‘fit in.’ Diversity of people breeds diversity of thought, and this is becoming more important as the world changes. Kids who live in a community where people have different cultures, languages, and worldviews are better for it.
Diversity in Boulder is lacking, and that is unlikely to change in the near future. It is something that, if you do want to live in Boulder, you may have to sacrifice.
Housing in Boulder, Colorado is very expensive, but if you are willing to hustle, it is not an unaffordable place to live. Seeing as it is considered the best metro area to live in the U.S., it just may be worth it.