A healthy community has a diverse and sustainable economy that pays livable wages and offers meaningful work. But what level of income is necessary to support a given size and type of household? A livable wage addresses the essential financial needs for basic living tools such as shelter, healthcare, childcare, and nutrition. When one earns less than a livable wage, he or she is forced to make undesirable choices such as working two or more jobs, working longer hours, making longer commutes, sharing a residence, or giving up basic items such as a vehicle or insurance.
In Region 9, the amount needed to be economically self-sufficient varies by geographic location. The 2022 Colorado minimum wage is $12.56 per hour, which amounts to $26,527 per year working full time. We found that in Region 9, Montezuma County is the least expensive ($71,292 annually), and Archuleta County is the most expensive place to live ($92,796 annually) for a family of four. Using housing and childcare costs specific to each community we found that the Town of Pagosa Springs is also the most expensive community in the region for a family of four ($21.97 per hour for each working adult) due to the high cost of housing. Cortez and Mancos are the least expensive communities for a family ($17.07 per hour for each working adult). This report presents livable wage estimates for each county/community in the region.