Colorado Living (was: [thelist] Freelance Question)

Christopher Orth corth at
Fri Feb 15 14:05:01 CST 2002

>> Speaking of Colorado....Anyone know how the price of living there is
> compared with the rest of the country?

I grew up in Colorado and lived there until I was 28, then I ran screaming
to Seattle where I should have been living all along.   ; )

> Solely based on my experience, the Denver, CO, area is on a par with

In the early 90's Denver kept up with the inflation of real estate and rent,
but the salary never really went up.  A huge majority of the available jobs
in the Denver metro area are retail based and there is just a big cap on
that kind of pay.  In 1995-1997 I would see adds in the local newspaper that
read like this "We need someone who knows Photoshop, html, JavaScript,
illustrator, copyrighting and editing, C++ and VB, and phone skills.
$12/hr".  No thanks.  I ran a multimedia company there and I was starving to
death.  Rent was about $750 for our two bedroom apartment, which only 4
years earlier I had been paying $425 for.  No kidding.  But I was earning
the same income.  My "spousal equivalent" was earning about $38k a year as
the manager of one of the busiest branches of the Denver Public Library, and
when she moved to Seattle she was working as an entry level librarian
position for 5 hours less a week and earning $10k a year more.  BIG
difference in pay, yet the cost of living was very similar.

When I moved to Seattle I got jobs doing the same work I did in Denver, was
able to live in a $1000 a month apartment and had 4 times the disposable
income left over.

> As far as being a freelancer in the Denver area, I think it's mixed.  I know

Denver has always been a boom/bust town, since the gold and cattle days.
There will be a period of growth and then nothing for a while.  Denver is
doing better now for tech stuff than it was when I lived there, but it still
doesn¹t hold a candle to other cities with a real tech community.  And there
really isn't much to do there unless you like to ski, but that is of course
only my opinion.  I still have many friends who live in Denver and love it.
I comes down to availability.  Some people are going to do great earning
money in a market like Denver, but not nearly as many as will do well in
many other cities.  And Denver doesn¹t have much of any base of tech
companies.  In Seattle I cant tell you how many people I have met and
opportunities I have gained by meeting someone in a bookstore or at a
sandwich counter that worked for Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Real, and on and
on.  That sort of community just doesn¹t exist in Denver.  Maybe a little
bit in Boulder, but Boulder is very small, and the rest of Colorado is
nothing like Boulder.

Anyhow, I'll stop dogging on Denver now.  My personal opinion is that I
would never move back there again, due to the bad weather and the lack of
job opportunities.  But there are still at least 2 million people living in
that area who would say I was wrong.  ; )   Just look into moving there
realistically and don¹t believe the hype.  Make sure you move there for a
real reason that pleases you, not a promise of something.

Ok.. I was just trying to share some up close views... Please don¹t flame me
if you disagree.  ; )


Christopher Orth
corth at
Poser Arcana -

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