Located just 60 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs is Colorado's largest city by area, covering 194.9 square miles. In 2018, U.S. News named the city the most desirable place to live in the U.S.
Colorado Springs's economy is driven primarily by the defense industry, followed by high-tech and tourism. The city was settled at the base of Pike's Peak and the Rocky Mountains, a location that has made it a popular tourist destination since the arrival of railroads in the 1870s.
There's a full slate of things to do in Colorado Springs, from cultural events to breweries. But the area is best known for its parks, trails, and other outdoor recreational activities.
The current cost of living index for Colorado Springs is 104.5, which is close to the U.S. average. As with many cities, housing is the primary factor, although groceries and transportation costs contribute nearly as much. In recent years, higher cost of utilities has also had a significant impact. Overall, Colorado Springs's cost of living is lower than the Colorado average index of 121. If you're interested in learning more about what goes into Colorado Springs' cost of living, read on.
The housing market continues to break records, reaching historically high prices as inventories remain tight. Currently, there are 50% fewer homes for sale than just a year ago.
The current median sale price is approximately 15% higher than the previous year, while available properties for sale have dwindled by 53.5%. The market appears to be able to sustain its upward movement, with no sign of slowing in the near future.
Median Home Price
The median home price in Colorado Springs is about $320,000. Home prices in Colorado Springs have reached a new peak of $380,000, which is a 15.2% climb over last year.
On the north side of the city, the median sale price for the Briargate neighborhood is $414,000, while just to the east, the median price for the Powers neighborhood is $345,000. In the eastern suburbs, the Falcon neighborhood is seeing median home prices around $310,000. Just west of downtown Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City neighborhood's median home price is $299,471.
The average apartment rent across the city is $1,292 per month, a 10.84% upturn from a year prior when the average rent was $1,152. Still, it's considerably less expensive than nearby Denver, which averages $1,674 a month.
One-bedroom apartments typically rent for about $1,189 a month on average, which is a 13.54% climb from the previous year. Two-bedroom apartment rents now average $1,332.
Single-family homes for rent have a median rent of $1,550. Current prices range from $800 for a 1-bedroom, 1-bath home of 576 square feet to $5,550 for a 4-bedroom, 3-bath newly constructed home of 3,074 square feet.
The cost of utilities in Colorado Springs is above the U.S. average. Cost of utilities—including gas, electric, water, and garbage—averages about $176 per month for a 900-square-foot apartment.
Internet service averages about $66 a month, while mobile phone service for unlimited talk, text, and data runs about $40 a month.
On average, Colorado Springs residents spend about 30% of their monthly income on utilities. The city's Energy Resource Center offers several energy assistance programs to help residents pay their bills, particularly during the cold winter months.
Groceries continue to be a large factor in the increased cost of living in Colorado Springs. The cost of groceries index is just under the national average, at 98.4. Colorado as a whole has a grocery index of slightly over the national average of 100.7.
The average Colorado Springs resident can expect to spend about $348 a month on food. This is slightly higher than the national average of $323. A single resident can expect to spend about 13% of their monthly income on food.
Groceries in Colorado Springs are about 3% lower than the national average. Whereas the average monthly grocery bill in the United States would typically come out to $400 in a month (with some variance based on individual preferences), that same bill would instead tally out to $388.
Colorado Springs Average Food Costs
Among the most affordable grocery stores in or near Colorado Springs are Cheapies Grocery Outlet, Save-a-Lot, and My BargainMart.
The cost of dining out in Colorado Springs varies with the restaurant selected. A meal at an inexpensive sit-down restaurant in Colorado Springs will cost about $12, while a fast food combo meal will cost about $8.
Stepping up the dining experience, a mid-range restaurant with a three-course meal for two will cost about $50 on average, ranging from $40 to $70.
A pint of domestic beer will cost about $5, while a smaller 12 oz. bottle of imported beer is likely to cost around $6.
Colorado Springs residents who love their coffee can expect to pay $4.62 for a regular cappuccino. Colas cost about $1.94 for a 12 oz. bottle, while water is about $1.70 for the same size.
Colorado Springs Transportation Costs
Those using their personal vehicle to get around Colorado Springs can expect to pay about $400 a month on gas and tolls. The average cost for auto insurance in Colorado Springs is $1,903 per year, which is higher than the statewide average of $1,757 as well as the U.S. average of $1,548.
The average cost of a taxi in Colorado Springs is $3.35 for the base price plus $3 per mile. The wait time for a taxi is $22.50 an hour.
Colorado Springs Transit Costs Comparison
Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) is the primary public transportation provider for the region, with over 11,000 one-way trips per day. In addition to bus service within Colorado Springs, Mountain Metro Transit offers bus service to Manitou Springs, north to the Chapel Hills Mall, and south into the Widefield area.
Uber and Lyft provide rideshare services for the region. Uber fares in Colorado Springs start at $8.15, while Lyft fares start at $5.00.
Colorado Springs Health Care Costs
The average monthly cost of medical insurance without a subsidy in Colorado is about $488. Health care costs in Colorado Springs are 2% higher than the national average. Many residents of Colorado Springs tend to be more health-conscious than average, putting a great deal of emphasis on being outside and staying active.
The average cost of a doctor's visit in Colorado Springs is about $145. A trip to the dentist costs about $99 on average, while a visit to the optometrist costs an average of $109. This compares to the national average of $115 for a doctor's visit, $98 for a visit to the dentist, and $106 for a visit to the optometrist.
Among the hospitals providing service to Colorado Springs residents are St. Francis Medical Center, UCHealth Memorial Hospital, Children's Hospital Colorado at Colorado Springs, Penrose Hospital, and UCHealth Grandview Hospital.
The average vet visit costs about $65 in Colorado Springs. Wellness visits, including vaccines, average about $85.
Colorado Springs Child Care Costs
There are about 101 daycares operating in the Colorado Springs area, including 85 centers and 16 home-based programs. Fifty-six of these daycares accept infants, including 42 centers and 14 home-based daycares. About a dozen daycares offer part-time and drop-in care. The remainder require children to be enrolled in their programs.
Colorado Springs Average Monthly Childcare Costs
Child care in Colorado is some of the most expensive care in the nation, costing as much as $15,325 a year for infant care or approximately $1,277 a month. Child care costs for a four-year-old average $12,390 or approximately $1,032 a month.
Colorado Springs Entertainment Costs
Colorado Springs offers more than 60 sites and attractions, including mountain train rides, a zoo, museums, local breweries, and a long list of options for enjoying the outdoors. Additionally, people will find a thriving art scene, vibrant nightlife, and plenty of popular restaurants in Colorado Springs, many with an emphasis on vegetarian and vegan offerings. People looking to take advantage of these amenities may be interested in a Colorado Springs condo within walking distance of downtown.
Colorado Springs's Urban Trail system is made of more than 110 miles of multi-use trail for biking, running, rollerblading, and walking. A three-trail system, consisting of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail, Pikes Peak Greenway, and Fountain Creek Regional Trail, forms a continuous path extending from Palmer Lake through Colorado Springs and on to Fountain.
The country's highest zip line offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the Arkansas River 1,000 feet below. Tickets start at $45.
Offering memorable views of the Colorado Rockies, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad serves up plenty of awe-inspiring scenery, along with locally sourced food. Cost of a ticket, which includes breakfast, lunch, or dinner, starts at $49 for adults and $44 for children.
Colorado Springs is also home to a thriving arts community. For over 100 years, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has offered world-class art, professional theater performances, and arts education. Museum admission is $10. Cost of events vary by performance.
The average salary in Colorado Springs is currently $63,000. The median household income is about $61,324, which is higher than the U.S. average of $53,482.
The job market in Colorado Springs has increased by 4.1% in the past year. Forecasters predict future job growth over the next decade will be 48.4%. This compares favorably with the national forecast of 33.5%.
Monthly Expense Percentages Based on Average Colorado Springs Salary
Leading industries for employment in Colorado include health care and social assistance, retail and trade, educational services, and accommodations and food services. The most popular occupations in Colorado Springs are retail salespersons, customer service representatives, cashiers, registered nurses, software developers, waiters and waitresses, all other project managers, and secretaries and administrative assistants.
Final Considerations for Colorado Springs Cost of Living
Colorado Springs has enjoyed a burst of popularity in recent years. This has led to an influx of new residents, which has contributed to increases in certain categories of the city's cost of living.
One of the biggest drivers of the cost of living in the area is housing. A tight housing inventory is continuing to support higher home prices for at least the near term and possibly longer.
Colorado Springs offers residents and visitors alike a broad array of attractions, activities, and sites. With the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop, the city has a long history as a tourist destination.
A large percentage of Colorado Springs's economy is based on the manufacturing of high-tech and complex electronic equipment, although this has been slowly changing.
The defense industry also forms a significant part of the local economy and includes some of Colorado Springs's largest employers. Much of the industry is focused on the development and operation of space and missile defense programs. The aerospace industry also plays an influential role in the local economy.