Are you tired of New York City’s high density, highly competitive job market, and high rent? Maybe you’re ready for a different kind of high. In the Mile High City, you’ll enjoy long vistas toward snow-capped peaks, some seriously sunnier days, a welcoming job market – and if it’s your thing, legal, social cannabis – all at a lower cost of living than in NYC.
Living in ‘green’ Denver gives you access to the most extensive city park system in the country and remarkable Rocky Mountain highs in some of the nation’s most beautiful countryside for hiking, skiing, camping, and so much more. But don’t say adios to NYC just yet – learn more about each city’s lifestyle highs and lows.
What to Know About Moving from NYC to Denver
Here are a few things to consider before making the cross-country trek from New York City to Denver.
Housing and Cost of Living
If you purchase a home in Denver, plan on a lower median home value of $426,200 compared to NYC’s median home price of $680,500. Prefer to rent? A two-bedroom apartment or house in Denver runs an average $1,585 monthly compared to a two-bedroom in NYC, which averages $2,049.
In general, it costs 46% more to live in NYC than in Denver. In Colorado, you’ll save about 60% in housing costs, 14% on food, 56% on utilities, 56% on transportation, and 22% on health costs.
If you’re planning on moving to Denver from NYC, also plan on saving some money on taxes, especially if you become a homeowner – Denver property tax is much lower than in New York City. If you own a home in Denver, your property tax rate will be 0.53% compared to NYC’s average effective rate of .90% (actual property tax rates vary by borough).
Denver sales tax is 8.31%, just slightly less than New York City’s 8.875%. In New York, you pay a progressive state income tax between 4 and 8.82%, but Colorado state income tax is a flat rate of 4.63%.
Transportation and Traffic
Like NYC, Denver’s public transportation is convenient and inexpensive, and the ‘green’ city encourages residents to use public transit for environmental reasons. The light rail runs across 100 surrounding miles, and hundreds of miles of bike paths weave through Denver. You can even access the surrounding mountains for camping and weekend escapades by bus, shuttle, and other means besides a car.
But still, most Denverites rely on their cars as a way of life. While 57% of New Yorkers use public transit, only 7% of Mile Highers use public transportation, and as a consequence, Denver has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. But at 25 minutes one-way, Denverites still spend less time on their commute than New Yorkers’ 41 minutes one-way.
Also, like NYC, many areas of Denver are walkable – especially Downtown with a 91 walk score, 89 transit score, and 95 bike score. Of course, walk scores vary from NYC borough to borough, but for comparison, the walk score in Queens is 95, transit is 97, and bike score is 74.
Economy and Job Growth
Denver’s unemployment rate is lower than the US average, and in 2019, the job market grew by 2.8% compared to NYC’s sluggish job growth of 0.5% for the same period. Denver’s job growth in the upcoming ten years is forecast to be 45% compared to NYC’s job growth forecast of 30.7%.
You’ll have a good chance of finding a job in aerospace, tech, education, the cannabis industry, or health as these sectors are the main drivers of Denver’s economy. And you may bring home a healthier paycheck in Denver. The median family income in Denver is $77,365 compared to NYC’s $64,565.
Weather and Climate
Denver gets little rain, lots of snow, and plenty of sunshine – 300 days of it! The Mile High City exposes you to some intense rays, so keep a hat and sunscreen on hand if you move.
With warm summers and snowy winters, it may seem that NYC and Denver have similar climates. Not so. Denver’s temperatures are more extreme, and because the air is so dry, summers don’t seem quite as hot, and winters don’t seem as cold.
The weather formula adds up to beautiful sunny winter days between storms. In NYC, the average January low runs 26° F, and daytimes will warm to about 39. Although the average January low in Denver, at 18° F, is well below freezing, daytimes are much warmer and sunnier than in NYC. Denver sees average January highs of 47° F.
NYC summers are not only hot but humid. The average July high in NYC is a muggy 84° F. Denver summers are dry, so the average July high of 88 will probably feel colder than NYC’s humid 84.
With only 17 inches of annual rainfall in Denver and a full 47 inches in NYC, it’s no wonder that NYC has 47% more rainy days than Denver. And although amounts can vary from year to year, the average snowfall in Denver reaches 60 inches compared to NYC’s 25. But, with plenty of ski areas just outside the Denver city limits, you’ll probably be glad for the plentiful snowfall.
From NYC’s elevation nearly at sea level to Denver’s mile-high altitude, the geographical differences between the two cities are striking. The One World Trade Center, at an impressive 1,776’, is about as high as it gets in NYC, whereas you’ll stand at 5,280’ in Denver. Located on high elevation rolling prairie and plains, Denver is surrounded by Rocky Mountain foothills that climb to around 11,000 feet, and the rugged front range of the Rockies that rise up to 14,000 feet.
Adventure seekers can hike the 500-mile Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango, crossing five river systems, eight mountain ranges, six wilderness areas, and seven national forests. Even if you don’t hike the Rockies, you’ll want to know how to adjust to high altitude living if you move to Denver.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
Over the past 20 years, NYC’s population grew 7%, while Denver’s increased by 22%. Today, 716,500 people live in Denver compared to 8,560,000 in New York City. Here, you won’t see the diversity in Denver that you’re used to in NYC – with its 54% White, 31% Hispanic, 9% African American, 4% Asian, and 2% other races. However, Denver is proud to celebrate its cultures and colors with Native American, Hispanic, African American, Asian, and European festivals and events throughout the year. To honor inclusiveness, the city celebrates Denver Pride Fest and the Colorado Gay Rodeo annually. Some say that Denver is the most welcoming LGBTQ city in the Rockies.
With the plentiful sunshine and wide-open spaces, you’ll sense more breathing room in ‘green’ Denver, where only 4,426 people live per square mile compared to NYC’s 27,000. From hybrid taxis to the goal of planting a million trees by 2025, Denver is serious about environmental concerns and being a ‘green’ city.
Violent crime in Denver is 31 out of 100, very close to New York City’s rating of 28. But Denver property crime doesn’t paint such a sunny story. At 51, it’s twice that of New York City’s 25. As with any city Denver’s size, crime is an issue, but usually, there are only a few pockets of high crime and many areas that are safe and secure. Spotcrime.com is just one of the many online crime maps you can check to learn more about the types of crime and rates in the Denver neighborhoods you’re considering.
Best Neighborhoods in Denver
Finding a great neighborhood in Denver can be challenging because just about every one of them is special. From historic enclaves to high-end luxury developments, there’s a neighborhood for every lifestyle.
Country Club provides luxury living for just over 3,000 residents. The quiet neighborhood offers large, expensive homes with a median value of over $900,000. You’ll need a car if you choose to live in Country Club because there are few amenities. However, just about anything you could want is a short drive away. Would you like to know more about Country Club? Click here.
One of the best neighborhoods to live in if you don’t want to own a car, Capitol Hill is artsy and happening. LGBTQ-friendly Capitol Hill is diverse and dense – the most densely populated neighborhood in Denver. The central location, walkability, plus a vast range of amenities make Capitol Hill a perfect transition from New York City. Ready to learn more?
Cherry Creek residents have much to love, from the 42 miles of paved running, walking, and cycling trails to high-end shopping and dining. With just about an equal number of homeowners and renters, Cherry Creek appeals to families, retirees, young professionals, and empty-nesters. Here’s where you can find out more.
One of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, today Lower Downtown is not only cherished for its history but also for its fantastic nightlife and innovative food scene. About 8,500 residents, 60% of whom rent, enjoy excellent public transportation and easy access to amenities. And if you’re a sports fan, you’ll want to know that LoDo is home to Coors Field. Learn more here.
Uptown (North Capitol Hill)
Another historic neighborhood, Uptown, has beautiful tree-lined streets and lovely old Victorian homes. About 84% of the 6,000 residents rent, and many are young professionals. Within walking distance, you can enjoy the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Zoo, and City Park. Boutiques, cafes, and coffee shops line 17th Street. Here’s more information about Uptown.
The Denver Botanic Gardens is adjacent to the 80-acre park at the center of this neighborhood. The park is a green oasis where residents congregate on weekends to jog along shady trails and play on the expansive lawns. Cheesman Park is a family-friendly, safe neighborhood that’s affordable and convenient. Almost 9,000 people enjoy Cheesman Park’s casual cafes, coffee houses, and happening cocktail bars. Click here to find out more.
Cost of Moving from New York City to Denver
On average, it costs about $3000-$6000 to move from New York City to Denver. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 1777 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best NYC to Denver movers now!