The last time we talked about Colorado, we ruffled some feathers with our worst places in Colorado story. Many people pointed out that small towns in the middle of nowhere are charming, and there’s more to do in Colorado than going to restaurants and bars. Click here to read our story on the 10 worst places to live in Colorado.
That’s fair. But this time, we’re going to look at the good side of the Centennial State. Using data, we’ve figured out which cities in Colorado are the best places to live. The areas where crime is low, the schools are great, and, frankly, the economies are booming.
The kind of places most people would want to live in.
After analyzing all 103 cities with a population over 5,000, we came up with this list as the 10 best places in Colorado:
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. Additionally, there’s an abridged chart at the bottom with all of the rankings. While Stonegate came in as the best city, you might not be surprised to hear that Pueblo is the worst city in Colorado, according science. More on that later.
How do you decide if a place is awesome or not?
In order to rank the best places to live in Colorado, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, great weather, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The higher the better)
- Lowest Unemployment Rates
- Highest Home Values
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (High expenditures per student and low Student Teacher Ratio)
- Low Crime
If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, from worst to best, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the abridged chart. If you’re wondering where Denver ranked, it’s just about smack dab in the middle of the pack. But its suburbs are the cream of the crop.
Hey, the data never lies, does it?
Crime: 8th lowest in Colorado
Unemployment rate: 4.4%
Household income: $115,766
Average home value: $320,100
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Stonegate is the best place in Colorado. It’s not actually a city, it’s what the census calls a designated place, meaning it doesn’t have its own government.
You could make an argument that Columbine, should top this list. It’s a strong argument that we’ll let you guys debate about in the comments below, but keep in mind Columbine isn’t an actual city, either.
The residents of Stonegate earn more per household than any other family in the state. Home prices are really high, which means people want to live there very badly. And the crime is very low as well.
Stonegate is located just outside of Centennial.
Crime: 7th lowest in Colorado
Household income: $81,184
Average home value: $284,430
School ranking: 32nd best in the state
Columbine is just about as close to a perfect area as you can get. Residents here are gainfully employed, and the schools are some of the best in the state. It’s safe, and residents get to enjoy the benefits of Denver without having to live downtown.
Downtown Columbine on its own is quite a gem, too.
3. Highlands Ranch
Crime: 22nd lowest in Colorado
Household income: $106,723
Population density: 10th highest in the state
Highlands Ranch is by far the largest area to top this list. And, the population density is really high, meaning there’s a ton of things to do to keep you occupied. LIke the two places above, it’s also a census designated place, not an actual city.
Residents in this Denver suburb are very wealthy. No wonder the population has exploded nearly 40% in the last 15 years. Seems everyone wants a piece of Highlands Ranch.
4. Castle Pines
Household income: $135,145
Average home value: $448,100
Crime: 16th safest in Colorado
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place where there’s low crime and everyone is rich? That’s the case with Castle Pines, a small community a short drive south of Highlands Ranch.
Castle Pines was only incorporated eight years ago, in 2007, and things are already looking peachy keen here.
Crime: 16th lowest in the state
Average home value: $396,000
Unemployment rate: 4.2%
Little Louisville, a city just outside of Boulder, has it made. It has the second-lowest unemployment rate, and crime is far below average for Colorado. Residents here have great jobs, and the home price proves it’s a highly desirable location in the state, for those who can afford the high cost of living.
More good news: Louisville’s population has actually ticked down over the years. Maybe the secret is out now?
Average home value: $424,100
Unemployment rate: 4.2%
Median house income: $107,921
Superior is right next door to Louisville. The only real glaring differences between the two: Superior residents are far wealthier, but the crime is much higher. And unlike Louisville, people are flocking to Superior in droves, as the population has increased almost 40% since 2000.
7. Ken Caryl
Education spending: Above average for Colorado
Median income: $87,677
Crime: 24th lowest in the state
Right outside of Littleton is Ken Caryl, a census designated place of about 30,000 people. A 10% population growth is just about perfect for an area of this size. Crime is low, and the people who live in Ken Caryl are in the top ten in the state when it comes to personal income.
Additionally, the schools are in the top 10% when it comes to financial support.
Crime: The safest place in Colorado
Unemployment rank: 4.2%
Household income: $107,246
Things can’t get much better than in the town of Erie. The crime is the lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Erie make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.
While all of the other Denver suburbs to make the top of this list are on its south side, Erie is the only one that’s considered a northern suburb of Denver.
Erie also benefits from an active arts community.
Crime: 19th lowest in Colorado
Median income: $95,618
Unemployment rate: 4.4%
If you want to love the Denver area, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Town of Parker your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here. The population has doubled in the last 15 years, and is showing no signs up letting up.
Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy. Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Parker as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Parker.
Education: Top 10 in Colorado for student support
Median income: $76,457
Average home price: $354,200
The tiny town of Eagle may not remain tiny forever. The word has been out for a long, long time about how special this place is. In fact, the population of 6,000 is double from what it was just 15 years ago.
The residents are heavily involved in making their community even more awesome, and as many Coloradoans know, Eagle is a great central spot for excursions that make Colorado one of the best states in the nation for outdoor sports.
There You Have It
On paper, it seems as if living outside of Denver is the best choice you can make, as long as you can afford it. And, if you’re analyzing places in Colorado with the best economic situations, where there’s low crime and there’s a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
We also crunched the numbers on the worst places to live in Colorado. Click here to read that story. If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Colorado, according to science.
- Pueblo (Pop. 106,944)
- Delta (Pop. 8,845)
- Montrose (Pop. 18,940)
- Trinidad (Pop. 9,032)
- Grand Junction (Pop. 58,867)