May 16, 2018


Home to a world-class research university, a wide range of major industries, leading government research facilities, visionary entrepreneurs, and one of the nation’s most highly educated populations, Boulder is widely recognized as a center of innovation. Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, the city is surrounded by the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities afforded by over 45,000 acres of open space and 151 miles of biking and hiking trails. Boulder offers an impressive choice of art, cultural, dining, entertainment and shopping options, as well as excellent schools, high-quality health care, and sustainable environmental policies.

The City of Boulder is the largest municipality in Boulder County, part of the seven-county Denver metro area, and the only county in the Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area MSA (MSA). Only 30 minutes from downtown Denver and 45 minutes from one of the nation’s largest international airports, Boulder offers the advantages of a small city with big-city convenience and amenities. Its location in the Mountain Time Zone provides same-day telephone access to major markets throughout the world.

Boulder has a vibrant economy representing a diverse array of industries. Those that impart a particularly broad footprint on the city’s economy include aerospace, bioscience, data storage, natural and organic products, outdoor recreation, renewable energy, software, and tourism.

While small businesses continue to represent the majority of employers in Boulder, several major corporations diversify employment opportunities and fuel economic growth, including AstraZeneca; Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.; CordenPharma; Qualcomm; Medtronic; Google; IBM; Lockheed Martin; Micro Motion, Inc.; IHS Markit; Celestial Seasonings; Northrop Grumman; and Zayo Group.

The city’s world-class research institutions are another key economic driver, including the University of Colorado Boulder and more than a dozen federal research laboratories. The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are among the federal research laboratories in the city.


Boulder’s vibrant economy is supported by the presence of the university, major federally funded research facilities, and a large number of businesses in growing industries.


• Professional, scientific, and technical services
• Manufacturing
• Information
• Management of companies and enterprises
• Arts, entertainment, and recreation
• Accommodation and food services


The City of Boulder has approximately 7,000 employers with five or more employees. The city’s 10 largest employers (listed in alphabetical order) are:

• Ball Aerospace & Technologies
• Boulder Community Health
• Boulder County
• Boulder Valley School District
• City of Boulder

• Medtronic
• University of Colorado Boulder

Other major employers include:

• Array BioPharma
• Boulder Brands
• Battelle Ecology
• CA Technologies
• CordenPharma
• Crispin Porter + Bogusky
• Elevations Credit Union
• Emerson
• Google
• Hain Celestial Group
• Lockheed Martin
• LogRhythm
• IHS Markit
• Micro Motion
• Naropa University
• NetApp/SolidFire
• Northrop Grumman
• Qualcomm
• Research Electro-Optics
• Ricoh Production Print Solutions
• Spectra Logic
• Twitter
• Whole Foods
• Zayo Group LLC


The 2016 American Community Survey shows that 91.9% of the city’s housing units are occupied compared to 90.2% of the state’s housing units. Owner-occupied housing makes up 52.2% of occupied housing in the city while renter-occupied housing represents 47.8% of occupied housing units. The city’s median gross rent was reported at $1,592 per month.

More than half of the city’s residents moved into their current residence in 2010 or later (62.8%), a figure that remains significantly higher than the national average. The City of Boulder has a lower percentage of owner-occupied units than average compared to the rest of the state, reflecting the demand for rental housing among university students. About 53.2% of the housing units in the city are owner-occupied compared to 66% of housing units in Boulder County, 66.4% of housing units in Colorado and the national rate of 64.7%.

The Boulder Realtors Association continues to report higher than average home values for the City of Boulder, with the median single family home price at $890,000 in Q3 of 2017. This compares to $450,000 for the Denver- Metro region.

While the estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for all occupied housing suggest a median value of $686,500 in the City of Boulder, sales data from the Boulder Area Realtor Association point to much higher transaction values. The median sales prices for single-family homes sold in the Boulder area year-to-date through November 2017 ranged from $399,000 in Longmont to $890,000 in Boulder. Median prices for multifamily units sold ranged from $340,000 in Niwot to $634,950 in Louisville.


Overall prices in the Denver-Boulder-Greeley metropolitan area surpassed those in the nation in 2017. Prices have outpaced the nation in 9 of the past 10 years. In 2016, housing costs in the Denver MSA was a large component of the price differential.



Within the City of Boulder, the median household income is significantly higher in comparison to the state and nation. This large differential is mostly attributed to the high percentage of city residents who possess a bachelor’s or advanced degree increases resident incomes.

More than one-third (35.9%) of city residents have an income above $100,000 compared to 38.1% for the county, 30.1% for the state, and 26.2% for the nation. However, it is important to note that the student population in the City of Boulder increases the percentage of households with incomes near the poverty line.


Boulder residents on average spend less time traveling to work in comparison other workers across both the state and nation. According to Census data, 87.7% of employed City of Boulder residents work within Boulder County. This compares to 66.9% of Coloradans who work and live in the same county and 72.4% of U.S. residents. The number of city residents who typically drive alone to work has remained around 50% compared to the national average of 76.3%.


A high concentration of advanced technology industries has helped fuel venture capital investment in Boulder firms. Colorado is home to 125 venture capital firms, with 29 of the firms residing in the City of Boulder.

According to data from MassInvestor, from 2012–2017 (year-to-date through Q4 2017), over $4 billion has been invested in the state of Colorado. In 2017, Boulder recorded over $400 million in VC funding, or 36% of the total in Colorado.