These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Colorado

We used science and data to determine which places in the Centennial State are the cream of the crop.

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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:

  1. Stonegate
  2. Columbine
  3. Highlands Ranch
  4. Castle Pines
  5. Louisville
  6. Superior
  7. Ken Caryl
  8. Erie
  9. Parker
  10. Eagle

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.

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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?

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1. Stonegate

Source: Google Maps

Population: 9,332
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.

2. Columbine

Source: Google Maps

Population: 24,178
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

Source: Google Maps

Population: 98,977
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

Source: Castle Pines Connection on Facebook

Population: 10,210
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.

5. Louisville

Source: City of Louisville on Facebook

Population: 18,616
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?

6. Superior

Source: Superior Colorado on Facebook

Population: 12,407
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

Source: Google Maps

Population: 33,987
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.

8. Erie

Source: Town of Erie on Facebook

Population: 17,946
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.

9. Parker

Samford University. Source: Town of Parker on Facebook

Population: 45,195
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.

10. Eagle

Source: Uncover Colorado

Population: 6,364
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.

  1. Pueblo (Pop. 106,944)
  2. Delta (Pop. 8,845)
  3. Montrose (Pop. 18,940)
  4. Trinidad (Pop. 9,032)
  5. Grand Junction (Pop. 58,867)

Mobile users: Click here to access the complete data on all Colorado cities.

Desktop users: Here’s the Complete Chart on Best Places to Live in Colorado

City Population Worst Score Rank
stonegate 9,332 20.67 1
columbine 24,178 23.83 2
highlands_ranch 98,977 24.33 3
castle_pines 10,210 25 4
louisville 18,616 25.08 5
superior 12,407 26.08 6
ken_caryl 33,987 26.5 7
erie 17,946 27.58 8
parker 45,195 29.83 9
eagle 6,364 30.42 10
dakota_ridge 32,395 30.58 11
the_pinery 11,099 31.17 12
fairmount 7,805 32.25 13
boulder 99,177 33.17 14
cherry_hills_village 6,043 34 16
roxborough_park 9,034 34 16
lafayette 24,753 33.75 15
centennial 101,339 34.17 18
gunbarrel 9,303 35.42 19
gypsum 6,396 36.25 21
applewood 7,130 36.17 20
castle_rock 48,321 37.67 22
evergreen 8,942 38.17 23
gleneagle 6,881 38.25 25
arvada 106,965 38.17 23
wellington 6,186 39.08 26
woodmoor 8,641 39.42 27
steamboat_springs 12,036 40.75 28
littleton 42,414 41.58 29
estes_park 5,901 42.75 30
greenwood_village 13,932 43.17 31
frederick 8,626 43.42 32
avon 6,383 43.58 33
black_forest 13,607 43.92 34
golden 18,775 44.17 35
westminster 106,750 44.17 35
aspen 6,607 45 37
lone_tree 10,941 45.33 39
longmont 86,355 45.25 38
firestone 10,067 45.75 41
monument 5,403 45.58 40
edwards 9,570 45.92 43
thornton 118,747 45.83 42
fruitvale 8,173 46.33 44
berthoud 5,261 46.75 45
windsor 18,640 49 46
salida 5,284 49.42 49
lakewood 143,496 49.33 48
carbondale 6,428 49.25 47
fort_collins 144,329 49.58 50
vail 5,287 50.25 52
woodland_park 7,147 50.17 51
johnstown 9,748 50.25 52
durango 16,936 50.58 54
loveland 67,316 51.08 55
edgewater 5,183 52.33 56
redlands 7,811 52.5 57
security-widefield 32,124 52.75 58
denver 604,356 52.75 58
milliken 5,553 53.25 61
fruita 12,444 53.17 60
northglenn 35,958 54.08 62
orchard_mesa 6,901 54.67 63
twin_lakes_(adams_county) 6,354 55.08 64
welby 15,389 55.25 65
evans 18,513 55.58 66
glenwood_springs 9,620 55.92 67
sherrelwood 18,775 56.25 68
brush 5,478 56.83 70
derby 7,481 56.75 69
clifton 21,270 57.83 71
gunnison 5,892 58.25 73
wheat_ridge 30,366 58.17 72
brighton 33,219 59 74
englewood 30,565 60.67 75
cimarron_hills 15,771 60.92 76
rifle 9,163 61.75 77
berkley 12,021 61.75 77
craig 9,301 61.83 79
fort_lupton 7,478 62.42 80
aurora 326,249 62.42 80
colorado_springs 417,534 62.92 82
lamar 7,867 63.67 83
federal_heights 11,598 63.92 84
dove_valley 5,325 64.5 85
manitou_springs 5,051 64.5 85
fountain 25,602 65.5 87
sterling 14,642 65.67 88
commerce_city 45,537 66.5 89
pueblo_west 29,500 68 90
greeley 93,082 69.42 91
la_junta 7,060 71.17 92
cortez 8,453 71.67 93
stratmoor 7,525 71.92 94
alamosa 9,097 75.33 95
grand_junction 58,867 75.92 96
trinidad 9,032 80.5 97
montrose 18,940 80.83 98
delta 8,845 82.33 99
pueblo 106,944 83.5 100

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9 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Colorado

  1. Maybe you should add one more metric to your criteria … Ask people in Stonegate (or Columbine, or Highlands Ranch, or …) would they rather live in Vail (or one of OUR awesome suburbs), or where they currently live.

    I’ll betcha …

  2. This isn’t science. This is data mining and running an algorithm. And congrats, your top 10, it is basically a list of places native Coloradans hate. You found the highest concentration of Chili’s and malls. Maybe out east that’s your idea of a good time, but not here. As a Denver native, there is nothing I love more than open space, not the horrid burbs of Highlands Ranch.

    1. I’m not from Colorado, but we’re thinking of moving. This list and the one of the worst 10 places in Colorado is of no help at all. Darren, I agree completely with your opening statement – this is NOT science. This is using a personal opinion to analyze data. It’s biased, and it’s absolutely not science. The data itself is scientific, but the analysis is pure opinion, there is no objectivity at all.

      Almost no one likes a high crime rate and almost everyone wants good schools, sure, but high housing prices and high population density? Who actually likes that? I want to move to Colorado for it’s landscape, not to cram myself into another city. I can do that here in Atlanta.

    1. I agree. And how do consensus areas even count? Plus you must be wealthy to live in any of them. I grew up in Boulder and all the people who have moved in over the last decade or two have ruined it and the Front Range.

  3. Seriously? Your #1 (Stonegate) is a subdivision in your #9 (Parker). That’s how well thought out this piece is.

  4. Also … there is no “downtown” Columbine. Columbine is a sub-division in western Littleton. The “downtown” is a busy intersection of stores and restaurants.

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