A new census report shows that while the population growth rate is slowing, more and more residents are leaving Colorado due to rising housing prices, jobs that don’t pay enough, and traffic.
The report shows that in 2011, the state lost 24,703 people to other states. That’s the largest outflow since 2006.
According to the Census, more than 1 million residents moved within Colorado from one county to another between 2009 and 2010 — but overall growth was only 8 percent. The internal migration is part of a long-term trend of more people moving out of Colorado than into it. In 2007, there were 96,000 such moves; now they top 110,000 per year.
Nicole Parkin left New Jersey for Colorado, drawn by both “beauty and affordability.” Now she’s leaving Colorado five years later. The traffic has changed quite a lot in that time.
“The traffic is so congested, and the driving is so aggressive here now that I was starting to feel like my day-to-day life (was) consumed by just getting everywhere,” said Parkin, 38. “I’m not willing to put up with that big a change in my lifestyle when it wasn’t really improving anything for me except my stress level.” Parkin moved to Austin, Texas, last month with her husband and two children, ages 2 and 5. The move was made possible by lucrative job offers her husband landed at Dell Technologies Inc., which brought them back near their college alma maters. He went to Texas Tech University. She went to the University of Texas and has a median home price that’s about $250,000 less than in Colorado.
Parkin is one of the thousands who leave The Centennial State each year for other states. A total of 193,317 Coloradans moved away between July 2015 and July 2016, according to the American Community Survey estimates released this month by the Census Bureau. That was an increase from 2014-15 when 167,871 left (and up from the previous decade’s average annual outflows of 24,850). At the same time, 223,901 moved here from elsewhere in 2015-16 (down slightly from 2014-15’s 230,167 arrivals).
I want to be where snow is a real possibility. I’d love for the mountains to come into view as we drive into town, instead of the opposite being true-Kristina Pierce, a Denver resident moving to New Mexico this summer. More than half of those moving out of state (103,861 people) went to Texas — up 11 percent from 2014-15 and nearly double the number who left for California (53,466). Colorado saw its biggest influxes from nearby states last year: Arizona added 14,078 residents while Utah gained 6,525. Florida sent 6,208 more residents here than Colorado took with it. For all that movement in and out of Colorado — whether headed for Texas or Tennessee or Washington — Colorado’s population grew last year by 5.6 percent, as births outnumbered deaths and foreign immigration rates exceeded emigration levels.
Home pricing increase in Colorado
Home prices in Colorado have risen steadily over the last few years. The median sales price of a home in Colorado was $405,000 in December 2016, up from $341,000 in December 2015 and $281,500 from a decade ago. This increase is likely due to limited inventory and low-interest rates, which are driving demand higher. Due to cannabis legalization, the population of Colorado is increasing, which continues to drive demand higher.
One should also note that the migration patterns in and out of each state may be uneven. For instance, although more people moved away from Colorado than relocated here (193,317 to 223,901), one should not mistake this as long-time residents are abandoning homes. The same survey shows 482,091 people coming into Colorado — meaning many residents are moving within the state or migrating from other states at a similar ratio to those leaving.
Some Coloradans feel trapped amid runaway home prices and infuriating gridlock on our highways and roads. “I want to be where snow is a real possibility,” said Kristina Pierce, 40, a graphic designer who’s moving to Santa Fe, N.M., this summer. Her job is relocating there from Lakewood, and her husband grew up in the area. “I’d love for the mountains to come into view as we drive into town, instead of the opposite being true.”
- Home prices in metro Denver have gone up 57 percent since 2009 through October, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price indices.
- As wage rates haven’t changed much over that period, people are finding it difficult because they can only afford so many things with their income. This is affecting young adults most and native Coloradans who complain about how everything has become pricier – from food costs and gas charges all the way down to rent for apartments.
- The population’s growth was 11% between 2009 & 2016 which also contributes heavily towards why more people want an escape route away from this already crowded state.
- Living costs in neighboring states are cheaper than in Colorado, so more people decide to move out of the state instead of moving up or down just a few miles away (depending on the location)
Why More Coloradans Are Moving Away?
The other element contributing to why more locals are moving out is because everything has gotten pricier. Some locals complain they can’t afford anything compared to years ago when they moved here – from rent charges all the way down to food prices, clothing expenses, etc. This makes it harder for young adults trying to find jobs since companies won’t hire them unless they have experience in that field since this generation wants instant gratification and good pay with benefits right off the bat. In contrast, older generations used to work their way up from minimum wage jobs.
The housing crisis is also attributed to more locals moving out of state, especially for older adults and young families who can’t afford a house because they have to work two jobs. The stress levels are very high due to traffic as well as it takes much longer than before just travel from one place to another without getting caught up in accidents or bad weather, which further adds to their frustrations. All of these factors combined have led people to look towards neighboring states like Arizona & Nevada, where living costs aren’t nearly as high. There’s less congestion compare to years ago when most Americans had lived through an ‘inflationary economy.
The local moving company, JDM Van Lines, said its Colorado business doubled from 2014 to 2015, then doubled again in 2016.
Moving companies in Denver have noted a twofold increase in business over the past three years and realized that roughly half its business now comes from people moving out of state. More, on average, are moving to other surrounding states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
You can’t expect businesses to hire locals if they offer competitive wages unless they’re dependable and show up for their work because this generation wants instant gratification as well as having good pay with benefits right off the bat. In contrast, older generations used to work their way up from minimum wage jobs.
The Fort Worth, Texas area is experiencing record population growth thanks, in part, to Colorado’s ongoing migration north.
Here’s why Colorado is bleeding people who are moving out based on survey results.
Survey results of locals leaving the state – around 80% cite housing costs, job search difficulties, and traffic congestion as their reason for leaving among those moving away from the state to more robust economies in neighboring states will be key magnets for new jobs America’s growing exodus from expensive coastal states like California to lower-cost inland economies like Austin or Salt Lake City.
According to survey results, the state of Colorado has seen a bad exodus of residents moving away from the state. This is mainly due to housing costs and traffic congestion, which will continue during rush hour times. They’ve even had a record increase in bankruptcies there vs. other states as well due to high living costs.
In 2018 alone, it has seen its worst migratory losses since the 1990s. It’s more than 72,000 people outbound from other U.S. states. The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates that today’s population and economic growth level won’t be enough to sustain current road use patterns unless something changes dramatically-and soon in how we think about our transportation system.
In 2021, the state will have 500,000 more people than projected in 2016. Most of that increase will be from migration.
As these destinations prosper, better roads might help them keep up with some of those moving out of Colorado who might continue commuting back to work where they previously worked.
‘Outbound connectivity’ or ‘reverse commutes’ are factors that are important for moving companies to consider when moving long distances.
Home prices in metro Denver have increased 57% over eight years, while apartment rent is up 63%. Meanwhile, CO’s population has grown by 11% from 2009-2016, with 5.55 million residents present today – an increase of 33%. Among these newcomers were more than 1/5 Americans who moved this year, citing a loss in income as their primary reason for leaving (48%) or work-related reasons such as COVID-19 (36%). As people continue living elsewhere outside Denver during pandemic times, its vacancy rates rise while rental costs drop locally. And 40% say they’re still looking for homes now that Pandemics subsided.
– Many residents who worked in the city are moving to less expensive locations while working from home during the pandemic and moving back now that it’s over.
– Many newcomers are coming to Denver for its employment opportunities and Colorado’s natural beauty but finding it more difficult than expected.
– Cities such as Aurora and Colorado Springs are on the up, with vacancies rising while rental costs are dropping locally.