The cost of living in Colorado Springs last year rose above the national average for the first time in the 13 years since the annual city figure has been calculated.
The city’s cost of living was 100.8% of the national average in 2019, up from 98.8% in 2018, according to a survey by the Council for Community and Economic Research. The Arlington, Va.-based group has calculated an annual average since 2007.
Indexes for the second and third quarters of last year were above the national average, so it’s no surprise that the annual number also exceeded the national average.
Tatiana Bailey, director of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Economic Forum, said a rising cost of living is the “downside of robust economic growth. We are seeing growth in high-paying jobs, so demand for higher-priced items has gone up and pushed prices upward. Health care costs are the largest expense for most businesses and continue to increase.”
While the cost of housing rose only slightly compared with the national average, components measuring utilities, health care and miscellaneous goods and services all moved sharply higher and played a larger role in pushing the overall index above the national average. Components measuring groceries and transportation declined when compared with the national average.
Costs in Denver remained above the national average and higher than Colorado Springs, but declined to 110.8% of the average last year from 113.2% in 2018. Grand Junction and Pueblo rose compared with the national average to 99.3% and 94.5%, respectively. Boulder, Fort Collins and Greeley are not included in the survey.
The council’s index doesn’t measure inflation. Instead, it compares prices for 60 goods and services used or purchased by households where managers and professionals live in 266 metro areas. It’s designed to help managers compare living costs when moving to another city.
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