Article Overview: Living in Colorado, Moving to Colorado
Thinking about moving to Colorado? As a long time resident of the Centennial State I can say there’s a lot to love about living in Colorado.
Who hasn’t dreamed of living in the land of mile high dreams?
Now I must say it’s not all sunshine and fresh powder living in Colorado. There’s also some major downsides worth considering before moving to Colorado.
While I’d say most people can find a city or town here that’s just about perfect for them, living in Colorado isn’t for everyone.
And that’s where I come in! Read on for the pros and cons of living in Colorado. Please keep in mind that this is my personal list based on first hand experience and not everyone feels the same way.
We’re all about connection at The Honest Local. Remember, the fun lives in the comments. Connect with locals (and share your two cents) below.
Pros & Cons of Living in Colorado
Table of Contents: Living in Colorado
Living in Colorado
- Pros & Cons of Living in Colorado
- Interesting Facts About Colorado
- Top 5 Most Populated Cities in Colorado
- Pros of Moving to Colorado
- 1. The economy is booming
- 2. Colorado Has the Best Job Market in the US
- 3. Living in Colorado the natural beauty is amazing
- 4. Outdoor recreation
- 5. Colorado is a highly educated state
- 6. Coloradans are friendly folks
- 7. Living in Colorado is a healthy choice
- 8. Colorado is a sunny place
- 9. Less expensive than other “desirable” west coast states
- Cons of Living in Colorado
- Retiring in Colorado FAQ
- Pros & Cons of Living in Colorado (Post Overview)
Interesting Facts About Colorado
Highest State: Colorado is the highest state in the United States, with an average elevation of 6,800 feet above sea level.
Mountain Peaks: The state is home to more than 50 peaks that are over 14,000 feet tall, including Mount Elbert, the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains.
State Symbol: Colorado is the only state in the United States to have a purple mountain as its state symbol. The purple mountain, known as Pikes Peak, is a famous landmark in the state and is located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
Craft Beer: Colorado is known for its craft beer industry, with more than 400 breweries in the state. Colorado is home to the Great American Beer Festival, the largest beer festival in the United States.
Mining History: Colorado has a rich mining history, with gold, silver, and other minerals being extracted from the state’s mountains and valleys. The state’s official mineral is the rhodochrosite, a pink mineral that is found in the Rocky Mountains.
Coins: Colorado is home to the Denver Mint, the largest producer of coins in the world. The Denver Mint produces more than 50 million coins per day, or about 20% of all the coins produced in the United States.
Oldest Hotel: Colorado is home to the oldest continually operating hotel in the United States, the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. The hotel was built in 1893 and has hosted a number of famous guests, including Theodore Roosevelt and John D. Rockefeller.
Hot Springs: Colorado is known for its hot springs, with over 20 hot springs resorts located in the state. The hot springs are a popular tourist attraction and are believed to have therapeutic properties.
Marijuana: Colorado was the first state in the United States to legalize recreational marijuana, which it did in 2012. The state’s marijuana industry has since grown significantly and has contributed to the state’s economy.
Top 5 Most Populated Cities in Colorado
|City||Population||Median Home Price||Average Salary|
Pros of Moving to Colorado
1. The economy is booming
Let’s start of our list of the pros of moving to Colorado with one everyone will love. Colorado currently has the 2nd strongest economy in the US meaning prospects here are great.
One of the best parts of the economy here in Colorado is that it’s not just based on any single industry but rather a range of growing ones. Tourism is a huge driver of economic opportunity in Colorado thanks to the stunning natural scenery and plethora of recreational opportunities.
Another important aspect of Colorado’s economy is its growing technology industry with some of the top areas being cybersecurity, aerospace, and biotechnology.
The state is known for producing a variety of crops, including wheat, corn, and hay, as well as raising cattle and sheep. Other major industries in Colorado include agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare.
2. Colorado Has the Best Job Market in the US
Great economies go hand in hand with great job markets which means if you’re moving to Colorado for the job opportunities you’re in luck. According to US News, Colorado has the best job market in the US.
Tourism jobs are among the most popular with nearly 8% (165,000) of all US tourism jobs being based in Colorado. Technology is another booming sector here with over 130,000 tech jobs, and an average salary of $104K+.
Colorado is also a great state for folks seeking remote work, ranked #2 in the nation by Career Cloud for remote job seekers.
3. Living in Colorado the natural beauty is amazing
Nature nuts (like me) rejoice, Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in America chocked full of truly breathtaking natural wonders.
Almost everywhere you turn you’ll find incredible and diverse natural splendor. From some of the highest peaks in America to some of its deepest canyons, wild and scenic rivers, rugged wilderness, high desert, and so much more.
Colorado is home to four amazing national parks including Rocky Mountain National Park (the 5th most popular national park in America), Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Beyond the parks you’ll find 11 national forests, 2 national grasslands, and 8 million acres of BLM land.
4. Outdoor recreation
Colorado is ranked as the 9th most outdoorsy state in America and if you’ve ever been it’s no wonder why. It seems that just about every sport known to man is accessible here with winter recreation being a big highlight.
Powder junkies will find heaven in the Rocky Mountains, especially in the Cottonwood Canyons, the best ski town in America – Park City, and other winter resort meccas like Vale & Aspen.
Summer adventures are expansive as well with Telluride being one of the best mountain biking towns in the country and all the public lands serving as the most epic playgrounds imaginable.
Needless to say, if outdoor recreation is your thing then living in Colorado is worth serious consideration.
5. Colorado is a highly educated state
Thinking about moving to Colorado to surround yourself with intellectuals? Smart idea.
Colorado is the 2nd most educated state in America with nearly 52% of the population having an associate degree or higher.
For one reason or another Colorado seems to attract smarty pants from all over the world. Perhaps is the emerging tech sector or maybe the more educated folks want to feel above everyone else literally (Colorado is the highest state in the US in more ways than one).
6. Coloradans are friendly folks
If friendliness of the citizenry is an important factor for you then living in Colorado is looking better and better. Colorado is ranked the 7th friendliest state in the US (they’ve got rankings for everything these days).
Maybe it’s all that jazz cabbage folks are passing around or all that fresh alpine air. Personally I think the outdoors and naturally beauty has a lot to do with it – it’s tough to be in a bad mood in such a beautiful place.
In any event, friendly folks, moving to Colorado is for you.
7. Living in Colorado is a healthy choice
Healthy living is somewhat of a mantra here in Colorado with abundant access to organic foods, healthy foods, and lots of outdoor recreation.
According to the United Health Foundation’s Health Rankings, Colorado ranks as the 4th healthiest state in the US.
There are several factors that contribute to Colorado’s ranking as a healthy state. For example, the state has a high rate of physical activity, with nearly 70% of adults reporting that they engage in regular physical activity.
Colorado also has a high rate of immunization, with nearly 90% of adolescents receiving the recommended vaccines. In addition, the state has a low rate of uninsured residents, with just under 9% of the population lacking health insurance coverage.
Colorado is also the 3rd least obese state in America. Nature plays a major role here with the beautiful scenery welcoming an active population. It’s downright difficult not to get some form of exercise in during the day.
8. Colorado is a sunny place
For me, how much sunshine a location receives is critically important as I tend to thrive in sunny places. Because of this, moving to Colorado was a natural choice.
The state is known for its sunny and dry climate, particularly in the eastern and southern parts. Colorado receives an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, making it one of the sunniest states in the United States.
The amount of sunshine that Colorado receives can vary depending on the region.
For example, the eastern and southern parts of the state, including Denver and Colorado Springs, tend to receive more sunshine and have a more arid climate, while the western and northern parts of the state, including the mountains, tend to be cooler and receive more precipitation.
9. Less expensive than other “desirable” west coast states
While the cost of living in Colorado is high compared to most states, it’s actually much lower than most of the traditionally “desirable” states on the west coast.
Colorado has a cost of living index of 105.2 meaning it is 5.2% more expensive to live in Colorado than the national average.
Living in Colorado is less expensive than seven other western/west coast states including Hawaii, California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Montana.
Western States with Highest Cost of Living
|State||Cost of Living Index|
Cons of Living in Colorado
1. High Cost of Living
While Colorado may be relatively cheaper than many of it’s west coast neighbors, that doesn’t make it cheap. The cost of living in Colorado can come with some serious sticker stock for folks moving other parts of the US.
Colorado is the 19th most expensive state to live in the US with a cost of living that is 5% higher than the national average.
Housing and transportation are some of the top the factors that making living in Colorado pricier than most of the United States.
2. Expensive Housing Prices
If you’re looking at moving to Colorado to save a buck on home prices, you might want to think again. Median home prices in Colorado are currently about $550K.
That means that a house in Colorado is about 120K (or over 20%) more expensive than the national average of $428K. In recent years, housing prices have skyrocketed in Colorado (along with the rest of the country) giving headaches to folks looking to buy in the Centennial state.
While this problem is not unique to this state it’s certainly a factor when deciding when deciding whether or not living Colorado is right for you.
Wildfires have plagued the state over the past decade with an increasing rate of destruction. The year 2020 was the worst on record for wildfires in Colorado with a staggering 665,454 acres burning.
Most of the fires are concentrated on the western half of the state where most of the population lives.
4. Harsh winters
Colorado is the 14th coldest state in the US meaning if you don’t love cold weather then living in Colorado may not be for you.
During the winter, temperatures in Colorado can vary widely, with average highs ranging from the low 40s to the low 50s Fahrenheit and average lows ranging from the low 20s to the low 30s Fahrenheit.
However, temperatures can drop well below freezing, particularly at higher elevations and in the mountains.
Snow is a common occurrence during the winter in Colorado, with many parts of the state receiving several feet of snowfall each year.
The icy conditions caused by snow can make travel and outdoor activities challenging, and it is important to be prepared and to take precautions when driving or participating in winter sports.
The silver lining here is that despite the cold, sun is still abundant in the winter so we can all still soak in our fills of vitamin D.
5. Drug abuse
Colorado ranks 1st in the nation for teen and adult drug use and 3rd in the nation for drug abuse. Not surprisingly, marijuana is the most used drug in Colorado but the others among the top two are cocaine and opioids.
Opioids are the number one contributor to deaths by drug overdose with two thirds of those being caused by prescription medicines.
Legalized recreational marijuana is a top reason for the high usage but other top factors are the weather and boredom.
6. High altitude
If you’re an professional athlete training for a competition then the high altitude makes living in Colorado a dream. For the rest of us it can be quite the adjustment.
With an average elevation of 6,800 feet (2,074 meters) above sea level, Colorado is the highest state in the US.
Many of my friends not originally from here had a tough time adjusting to the altitude, some even complaining of persistent nosebleeds.
See in the table below, of the 15 most populated cities in Colorado, only five are less than a mile high and all are within 600ft of the 5,280 ft mark (1 mile).
Elevation of Cities in Colorado
Retiring in Colorado FAQ
Is Colorado a good place to live?
Colorado is generally considered to be a good place to live, with a high quality of life and a wide range of options for residents. The state has a thriving economy, with a diverse mix of industries and a strong job market.
It’s also home to a number of top-rated schools and universities, as well as plenty of recreational opportunities, including hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities.
Additionally, Colorado has a rich cultural heritage and a strong sense of community, which can make it a great place to call home.
Is Colorado a good place to retire?
Yes, Colorado can be a great place to retire for many people. The state has a lot to offer, including beautiful natural scenery, a diverse range of outdoor activities, and a thriving cultural and arts scene.
Additionally, Colorado has a relatively low crime rate and a high quality of life. The state’s mild climate, with four distinct seasons, can also be appealing to retirees.
Is marijuana legal in Colorado?
Yes, marijuana is legal in Colorado for both medical and recreational use. In 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 to the state constitution, which legalized the possession, use, and sale of marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Since then, the state has established a regulated market for marijuana, which has allowed businesses to legally sell marijuana to adults for recreational use.
What are the best cities in Colorado?
Colorado is home to many great cities, each with its own unique charm and features. Some of the best cities in Colorado include Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Pueblo.
Denver is the state’s capital and largest city, and is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, as well as its outdoor recreation opportunities.
Boulder is a college town that is known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and climbing.
Colorado Springs is home to several military bases and is known for its beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains.
Fort Collins is a popular city for young professionals and is known for its excellent schools and high-tech industry.
Pueblo is a smaller city with a rich history and cultural heritage, and is known for its affordable cost of living.
What are people that live in Colorado called?
People who live in Colorado are commonly referred to as Coloradans. This term can apply to anyone who lives in the state, regardless of their background or heritage.
It’s important to note that this term is not exclusive to any particular group of people and can be used to refer to anyone who calls Colorado their home.
Colorado is the what state? (nickname)
Colorado is known as the “Centennial State” because it became a state in the United States 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
The state was admitted to the Union on August 1, 1876, which was the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration. The nickname was officially adopted by the state legislature in 1952.
What’s the population of Colorado?
The population of Colorado is 5.8 million people as of 2022.
How is the weather in Colorado?
The weather in Colorado is generally dry and sunny with low humidity. The summer months are typically warm and sunny, with high temperatures in the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit.
The winter months are typically cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. The state’s high altitude can make the weather feel colder than it actually is.
Overall, Colorado has a diverse range of weather conditions, so it’s important to be prepared for a variety of conditions when visiting the state.
What’s the cost of living in Colorado?
The cost of living in Colorado can vary depending on where you live and what your individual needs and lifestyle are.
In general, the cost of living in Colorado is higher than the national average, but this is largely due to the state’s higher-than-average housing costs.
Housing costs in Colorado can be quite high, especially in major cities like Denver and Boulder. However, the state’s overall cost of living is lower than that of many other states on the west coast, such as California and Washington.
What’s the median home price in Colorado?
The median home price in Colorado is currently $550,000.
What are the top industries in Colorado?
Some of the top industries in Colorado include tourism, agriculture, mining, and manufacturing.
The state is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities, so the tourism industry is a major contributor to the economy.
The state is also home to many farms and ranches, and is a leading producer of cattle, corn, and wheat. Mining, particularly for coal and molybdenum, is another important industry in the state. Colorado is also home to many manufacturing companies, including those in the aerospace, technology, and biotechnology industries.
As for the largest employers in Colorado, they include companies such as the University of Colorado, the state government, and various healthcare organizations.
The University of Colorado is one of the largest employers in the state, with campuses in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and several other cities.
The state government is also a major employer, with many employees working in various agencies and departments. In addition, Colorado is home to several major healthcare organizations, such as the Centura Health system, which employs many people in the state.
Median salary in Colorado
The median salary in Colorado is $56,700.
Is Colorado a tax-friendly state?
Yes, Colorado is generally considered to be a tax-friendly state. The state has relatively low property taxes and a low state income tax, which can make it a good place for individuals and businesses looking to save on their tax bill.
List of Pros & Cons of Living in Colorado (Summary)
- Economy is booming
- Best job market in the US
- Stunning natural beauty
- Plentiful outdoor recreation
- Highly educated
- Friendly people
- Healthy population
- Lots of sunshine
- Less expensive than most west coast states
- High cost of living
- Expensive housing
- High altitude
- Harsh winters
- Drug abuse
Pros & Cons of Living in Colorado (Post Overview)
|Pros of Living in Colorado||Cons of Living in Colorado|
|Economy is booming||High Cost of Living|
|Best job market in the US||Wildfires|
|Stunning natural beauty||Expensive Housing|
|Plentiful outdoor recreation||High Altitude|
|Highly educated||Harsh winters|
|Friendly people||Drug abuse|
|Lots of sunshine|
|Less expensive than most west coast states|