Pros of Living in Colorado
- Outdoor Recreation
- Beautiful Scenery
- Booming Economy
- Reasonable Taxes
- Major Sports Teams
- Great Weather
1. Outdoor Recreation
One of the major advantages of living in Colorado is the fantastic outdoor recreation. You can head down to Breckenridge, Vail, or Aspen for some of the best skiing in the country or go for a hike in the summer or spring and enjoy all the gorgeous flower blossoms.
You can also explore the many national parks and nature preserves, from Rocky Mountain State Park to Great San Dunes National Park. You’ll find ample opportunity for everything from fishing and kayaking to rock climbing and horseback riding. So, no matter how you like to spend your weekend, you’ll find something interesting to do in Colorado.
2. Beautiful Scenery
Colorado is also well known for its breathtaking scenery and incredible views. From world-class ski resorts to gorgeous national parks, you can’t go anywhere in the state of Colorado without feeling like you’re looking at photos from National Geographic. If you really want to get the full panorama, you should visit the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, which offers crystal-clear skies and views of the entire state.
Colorado National Monument is another local favorite that is basically a smaller version of the Grand Canyon with granite and sandstone rock formations and all kinds of interesting flora and fauna. So, nature lovers will absolutely love living in Colorado.
3. Booming Economy
Colorado also offers residents a booming economy with a stable job market supported by industries ranging from agriculture to aerospace. With a GDP of over $371 billion, Colorado is one of the country’s most prosperous states and offers a high quality of life for its 5.8 million residents.
There is plenty of work in innovative industries like biochemistry, clean energy, advanced technology manufacturing, and software development. Plus, the state is rich in natural resources offering plenty of work in mining, farming, and ranching as well. Colorado’s booming economy is also expected to grow significantly over the next decade, with new jobs being created every year.
4. Reasonable Taxes
Another good reason to move to Colorado is the affordable taxes. While not the cheapest in the country, the taxes in Colorado are pretty reasonable for all the fantastic benefits residents enjoy. State income taxes are assessed at a flat rate of 4.4%, meaning everyone pays the same rate regardless of income.
It also has one of the country’s lowest median property tax rates, and gas taxes are fairly cheap. The sales tax can be quite high in some places as the state levies a 2.9% tax, and local rates can get as high as 8.3% or 11.2% combined. But if you keep your shopping manageable, affordable income and property taxes will compensate for it.
5. Major Sports Teams
When you’re not busy on your own adventure, you can also check out all the great sporting events happening all year. Colorado is the home to five major sports teams, the Denver Broncos NFL team, the Denver Nuggets NBA team, the Colorado Rockies MLB team, the Colorado Avalanche NHL, and the Colorado Rapids MLS team. So basically, every major sport is covered, and there are also countless minor league and amateur teams if you don’t live close enough to a major stadium. But if you can make the drive, Empower Field and Coors Field are great venues to watch a game.
6. Great Weather
Another major benefit of living in Colorado is the mild weather. The altitude and proximity to the mountains keep the climate pretty constant year-round. It rarely gets too hot or too cold, and the alpine desert climate offers low humidity, consistent sunshine, sunny skies, and cool, temperate evenings.
Even though the temperature remains pleasant throughout the year, the state still experiences a full range of seasons, which is excellent for those who moved to Colorado for skiing. While you will still have to brave the winters, they’re typically not as cold and bitter as the northeast, providing a pleasant atmosphere for everything from snowshoeing to snowmobiling.
Cons of Living in Colorado
- Expensive Housing Prices
- High Altitude
- Lack of Diversity
- Attitude to Newcomers
1. Expensive Housing Prices
One of the major drawbacks of living in Colorado is the rising cost of housing. The median list price of a home in Colorado is $614,500, which is significantly higher than the US average of $428,700. The rise in home prices and overall cost of living is mainly due to the rapid population growth the state has experienced over the past 10 years. From 2010 to 2020, the Rocky Mountain States gained an average of 70,000 new residents per year, all drawn by the exciting lifestyle and natural splendor. However, that explosion in population has also led to a higher cost of living as residents compete over the available housing stock. Luckily, there are plenty of smaller cities and rural areas in Colorado with affordable housing, but if you’re planning on moving to major urban centers like Denver or Boulder, expect a higher price tag.
2. High Altitude
The high altitude is one of the biggest adjustments you’ll have to make when moving to Colorado from a different state. Colorado has an average altitude of 6800 feet above sea level, making it the highest state in the US. High-altitude areas feature lower oxygen levels in the air, which can lead to altitude sickness, especially at 8,000 feet above sea level and beyond. Symptoms of altitude sickness include nosebleeds, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and other unpleasant feelings.
Although most of the state is not high enough that you’ll have to deal with persistent altitude sickness, you may experience dizziness or headaches if you aren’t accustomed to the elevation.
While Colorado’s low humidity can be a blessing in the summertime, the dry environment is more prone to wildfires. Wildfires can be a significant problem in many western states, including Colorado, and they’ve only increased in the past few decades. In 2020, 6,761 reported wildfires burned over 700,000 acres of land. While that number has diminished more recently, wildfires remain a significant concern for Colorado residents. Plus, the fires aren’t isolated to rural areas, and about 17% of housing in the state is in areas of extreme fire risk. So, if you plan on moving to Colorado, ensure you have a safety plan for dealing with a potential fire.
4. Lack of Diversity
Although the demographic makeup is beginning to change, Colorado isn’t known for its diversity. According to the 2020 census, Colorado is 67% white, 22.3% Hispanic, 4.7% black, 3.6% Asian, and 1.7% Native American. It is one of the fastest growing states in the US, and residents from all over come to experience the natural splendor. However, it still has a fairly homogenous culture. You won’t find many ethnic enclaves and unique neighborhoods, even in major urban areas.
While you will find plenty of diversity between the different regions, you may be disappointed if you’re looking for different local food and art scenes. The local culture of Colorado is based more on outdoor activities and craft breweries and remains fairly uniform no matter where you travel in the state.
5. Attitude to Newcomers
Like many places that experience rapid population growth, native residents often have a slight attitude toward newcomers. Colorado residents tend to be generally mild-mannered and welcoming to new neighbors. However, the development and urbanization of the state have left some natives with a bit of a bias against newcomers.
This attitude mainly comes from the higher cost of living accompanying sudden population growth. So, locals may be arrogant toward recent transplants who are not yet acclimated to the culture of Colorado. But if you can get passed that prejudice and adjust to the local attitudes and customs, Coloradans are generally very warm, helpful people.
Living in Colorado Bottom Line
Colorado is a great place to live because it offers great weather, outdoor recreation, and plenty of sporting events and national parks to keep residents entertained. It also has a booming economy and reasonable taxes, which helps to offset the rising home prices.
You should consider moving to Colorado if you love the great outdoors and want to live in a state with great scenery and a high quality of life. Just watch out for wildfires and altitude sickness, and you should have a great experience living in the Rocky Mountain State.