Study Shows Surprising Results About Larimer County

A new study about the cost of living in Colorado’s 63 counties shows that Larimer is the only county with lower costs of living and higher average incomes.

The study was done by two economists from the Center for Research of Colorado Economy: Elizabeth Garner, coordinator of Colorado State University Cooperative Extension’s County Information Service, and Jerry Eckert, professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State.

Larimer was classified with the group of "average" counties based on the cost of living, but Larimer’s median household income of $48,655 is higher than the Colorado average of $47,203.

The study indicates that Larimer County could attract potential homebuyers and families because of its cheaper housing. "The housing in Larimer County is high, but not as high as it is in Denver," Garner said. "Larimer County is projected to grow in this next decade. It will be a county to watch in the future, to see if its lower costs and higher incomes create higher population growth rates or stronger economic dynamism."

Larimer County was ranked the 14th most affluent county in terms of median household income. However, Larimer County’s cost of living is about 2 percent lower than the state average cost of living. After adjusting median household income by that difference, Larimer residents effectively gained $1,000 in purchasing power each year. With that adjustment, Larimer County moved up in the rankings to the ninth most-affluent county in Colorado.

To see individual county rankings and the results of the Colorado cost of living study, visit the Web at