growth

The challenges of living in fast-growing Colorado (and how to solve them)

It’s no secret that we’re currently experiencing one of the greatest economic expansions in U.S. history.

Ever since the 2008-09 financial crisis dragged the country into the depths of recession, the recovery has unfolded in stairstep fashion, pulling up the stock market, housing market, job market and the fortunes of everyday Americans in cities all over the country.

According to the Commerce Department, the U.S. economy expanded at more than 4 percent, its fastest rate in four years in the second quarter of 2018, and the nationwide unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September, a nearly 50-year low.

All of this has been good news, and it all applies equally to Colorado as well.

In fact, our state ranks as one of the top in the country in terms of economic growth and unemployment. When considering metrics like poverty rate, home ownership, job growth and education, we come out in the top five as well.

Oh, and Inc. magazine recently named Denver the #8 city in the country for aspiring entrepreneurs, pointing to the city’s growing tech investment community, an 8.7 percent rate of entrepreneurship, and wage growth north of 3 percent.

Colorado was the seventh fastest-growing state in the country in 2018, adding some 80,000 people over the course of the year. In fact, Colorado’s population grew by 1.4 percent overall from July 2017 to the same month this year, and that was on an already healthy population of 5.5 million as of 2016.

Of course, with all this growth come downsides. Our area is becoming more crowded, everything is becoming more expensive, and our infrastructure is being tested as never before.

Such are the costs of growth and living in such a desirable area.

But life in fast-growing Colorado doesn’t have to be a headache. Here are a few of our suggestions.

Traffic: Ah yes, the traffic. Particularly here in the Denver south region, where traffic along the I-25 corridor has been office cooler and dinner table conversation for years, the problem does seem to be getting worse every year. There are some 374,000 workers in the metro area, and about 70 percent of them still drive alone in their car to work every day, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.

  • Solution: Alternative Transportation: The Denver South region is blessed with a growing list of alternative transportation options, from the light rail stations along I-25 South, to the Bustang system, Meridian International Business Center’s M-Bikes, Lone Tree Link and more. And that’s not to mention carpooling, vanpooling, cycling, and other options to driving alone. Get out of the bumper to bumper and take advantage.

Cost of Living: It seems almost quaint to think back on the times, not that long ago, when life on Colorado’s Front Range was a nice, low cost alternative to cities such as New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. While we still enjoy a lower cost of living than those hubs, the Denver metro area in particular has been discovered, and the recent wave of transplants have driven up housing prices almost across the board. For example, Forbes named Colorado Springs as the city with the steepest change in cost of living in the country for 2018. “In 2017, the income you needed to cover all key necessities plus luxuries and savings was only $49,415. Now in 2018, that threshold income is $67,011, nearly a 36% increase in very little time.

  • Solution: Get Creative: One of the great things about the Denver metro area is that there is still a little something for everyone, at nearly every price point. Particularly in Denver south, buyers can have it all, plus easy access to family entertainment (like local hiking), museums, outdoor recreation, shopping, and public transport.

Career Growth: This is an easy one. With one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 2.7 percent, Colorado’s job market is one of the reasons everyone keeps moving here. But, with all this opportunity comes challenges for employers. Sometimes it can be difficult for small and growing business to find workers in such a tight labor market, and demand is driving wages up faster than some businesses can afford.

  • Solution: Get Local: Organizations such as the Denver South Economic Development Partnership exist to help businesses thrive in their communities, with a range of resources to help you source talent and grow your business. Contact us for more information. 

The Denver metro area is growing, there’s no doubt about it. But so are many areas around the country

That’s just what happens when you live in a desirable, thriving community.

But, with a little adaptation and adjustment, life in the busy Denver south region can work for everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.