From an outdoorsy lifestyle to beautiful landscapes and a booming job market, there are so many reasons to move in Denver. The economy is stable and diversified with scientific research, high-technology, and finance as the main industries. Other booming sectors include machinery, food processing, mineral goods, chemical products, and tourism. Many international and multilateral corporations in the city provide vast job opportunities. Due to this diversification, the economy keeps growing steadily. With so many people moving into the area, it has become the most populous municipality in Colorado and the 9th most populous city in the US. In 2016, it was named the best place to stay in the US.
What is the average salary in Denver? How much do employees in Denver earn? They typically earn an average salary of $102,000 per annum. This is about $8,530 per month without any deductions like tax, insurance, or pension. This applies to salaried employees. For hourly employees, the average wage in Denver is about $49 for every worked hour.
Are you planning to move and relocate to this Colorado’s capital? Then this article is meant for you. You should begin envisioning hot springs and fun hikes since they are waiting for you to explore. However, in as much as you will be thrilled by the thought of new beginnings, there is so much you need to know. Before ordering a skiing gear and getting hyped up, get to know the cost of living here. In this article, I will give you an insight into your future expenses. I will also describe the labour market to help you gauge whether your career can fund your lifestyle while there. Let’s get right into it:
Average Salary in Denver
As an expat planning to work in Denver, you want to ensure that the salary you will be earning can cater to a decent standard lifestyle. Living wages should increase as financial responsibilities increase, so you have to plan ahead too. The average salary in Denver is quite high compared to most of the other cities in the state. This means that most of the jobs in this state pay quite well. However, your take-home salary can change according to your job title, taxes, level of experience, location, level of education, and employer. Here are some of the factors explained in-depth:
Level of experience
Payment in Denver is greatly determined by your level of experience. Most entry-level employees with little to no experience are mostly paid up to $60,000 per annum. However, this is a great place to begin your career. Your salary will keep increasing every couple of years until you hit 10 years. You will also get the best employee benefits and the highest bonuses. This is a method practised by employers to retain their most-experienced employees through incentives.
Level of education
There is always a salary difference between two people with the same level of experience but different levels of education. To break it down in simple terms, employees with a diploma or certificate earn 17% more than high-school leavers. Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree earn 24% more than those with a diploma or a certificate. Same way, those with a Master’s Degree earn 29% more while PhD holders are paid 23% more. You can decide to pursue higher education to earn a promotion at your workplace. This is a trick most employees do to keep growing in their careers.
A mere job title can be worth thousands of dollars when it comes to your wage. It describes what your responsibility in the organization is and those with prefixes describe your level of seniority. You can already guess someone’s salary just by their title. A surgeon will definitely earn so much more compared to a receptionist. I have listed some of the popular jobs in Denver and their average annual gross salaries below:
- Translator $92,400
- Pilot $176,000
- Photographer $58,300
- Pharmacist $122,000
- Office Manager $90,500
- Mechanical Engineer $93,500
- Legal Assistant $55,500
- Graphic Designer $65,300
- Financial Analyst $127,000
- Electrical Engineer $99,600
- Dietician $192,000
- Dentist $244,000
- Customer Service Representative $38,000
- Construction Project Manager $170,000
- Computer Technician $80,200
- Chief Financial Officer $217,000
- Chief Executive Officer $218,000
- Call Centre Representative $39,100
- Biomedical Engineer $87,700
- Attorney $195,000
- Architect $115,000
- Air Traffic Controller $115,000
Your performance and contribution in achieving the organization’s success also pay off. If your employer pays attention to individual performance, you might earn yourself some amazing incentives. This is also how you will end up getting promoted to executive positions. Even after securing the job, competition continues amongst you and your colleagues. You have to keep learning and achieving every day.
Cost of Living Denver
The cost of living in Denver is higher than that of the US by 12%. It is actually the most expensive region to stay in Colorado. When measuring the cost of living in any area, factors such as real estate, transport, utilities, taxes, and working salary play an important role.
Housing occupies the largest fraction of expenses, especially in a capital city like Denver. The housing cost here is 34% higher than that of the national average. Currently, the average cost of renting a 2-bedroom apartment is about $1,451 per month. The average price for purchasing a home is about $463,240. While high costs of housing in most cities are due to the high prices of plots and land tax, the high cost in Denver is due to an influx of highly-paid people. These are engineers who are attracted by the city growing into a tech hub.
Fortunately for everyone’s income, the price for utilities is relatively cheap in Denver at about 6% lower than the US average. With that being said, expect a combined energy bill of about $156.76 per month for electricity, garbage collection, cooling, heating, and water. Something to note on water, the prices usually fluctuate depending on the amount of rain or snow in the area. The bill for a mobile phone will be around $167.10 per month.
Transport expenses are quite high in Denver. The same thing applies to gas which is sold at a rate of $2.75 per gallon. Although public transport services are available, there is also a lot of traffic on the road due to congestion.
Average Hourly Wage in Colorado
Jobs are categorized into two; hourly jobs and salaried jobs. Salaried workers are paid per month regardless of the worked hours while hourly workers are paid per hour. The average hourly wage in Colorado is 49 USD. According to labour laws, the employers must choose the higher minimum hourly rate between that set by the federal government and that set by the state. Since the minimum hourly wage in the US is 7.25 USD while that of Colorado is 12 USD, the latter is what employers in this state use.
Most of the time, hourly employees are directed by their employers to work for 40 hours/week. Those who work for less than 40 hours a week are categorized as part-time workers. One of the major advantages of working hourly is that you have to be paid overtime for every extra hour you work. On the other hand, if you are working hourly jobs in Colorado you will rarely get most of the employee benefits, bonuses, and retirement plans.
In some organizations, hourly workers have to use a time card system or complete a sheet to verify how many hours they have worked. Most of them are organized into shifts with different employees at different times. Hourly jobs are available in so many fields of Colorado but mostly in the manufacturing and service sectors. Some of the job titles include administrative assistant, tutor, financial clerk, customer care representative, medical assistant, retail person, host/hostess, assembler, driver, advocate, security officer, construction worker, and many others.
Colorado Median Household Income
Median household income is the amount dividing the total income generated by individuals living together into two: the lower-income side and the higher income side. It indicates how wealthy an area is and is more accurate compared to average figures which are distorted by a few super-wealthy households. Colorado median household income was lastly recorded in 2018 as 71,953 USD. When compared to the median household income in the US which was 61,937 USD, Colorado was 10,016 USD higher.
Median household income is a measure of a household’s ability to access quality food, curative care, preventive medicine, housing, and education. The above rate shows that the people of Colorado have low chances of lacking basic needs. People with a low household income tend to suffer from stress and end up with higher smoking rates, higher alcohol consumption, higher body mass indexes, and lower physical activity.
Considering $71,953 is the centre value for household income in Colorado, there is a group that earns less than this. Among the group are women with a household income that is 20% less than that of men. Black households registered the lowest income in 2018 at $41,361. Following close are Hispanic households with $51,450. Another group with a household income lower than the state’s median are those people living in rural areas. Their median household income is about a quarter less than that of an urban household.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.