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7 Reasons Why People Regret Moving To Colorado

When it comes to “living the dream,” Colorado checks all the boxes for many people. In fact, it’s a perennial pick on roundups of the best places to live in the country, thanks to its high quality of life comprising everything from glorious scenery and excellent outdoor recreation to a booming economy and low tax rates.  

Despite all the upsides of living in towns like Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Telluride, Colorado is on the list of states people are leaving in droves

This may leave you to wonder: Why do so many people regret moving to Colorado despite its reputation for being such a great place? 

Colorado’s mass exodus can be attributed to a variety of factors. Here, we’ll do a deep dive into what factors to consider when deciding where to live. Then, we’ll share seven specific reasons why people are so eager to leave this idyllic destination.  

Key Considerations When Deciding Where to Live

Choosing where to live is one of life’s most impactful decisions. Thinking about it can almost be immobilizing. After all, there are near-endless possibilities, each with its own distinct selling points. Not to mention that if you choose wrong, you could regret your decision—and have to start your search all over again. 

A recent U.S. News & World Report article took a closer look at the question of how to decide where to live. It identified the following factors as pivotal to guiding this monumental life choice, including the following: 

Cost of living

Will you be able to earn enough pay to afford to live well in your desired destination? Are you willing to move to a nearby area with a lower cost of living or to settle for less space and/or renting an apartment instead of owning your own house? Are you looking to save money for the future or willing to splurge on the life you want now?

While you may be drawn to a particular city or region, the thought of living there may become less appealing if you end up being priced out of the benefits and amenities associated with living there. 

Job availability and/or flexibility

Prior to COVID-19, it was common for people to relocate to be closer to their jobs. When the pandemic mandated the shift to remote work, this changed. Today, many people are choosing where to live because they now have the option to work remotely. 

The takeaway? If you work in an industry where in-person work is necessary or simply prefer to work in an office, you’ll need to look for a location where jobs are available in your chosen field. 

On the other hand, if you have a remote job, this won’t matter as much. 

As hybrid work continues to evolve, you may also have more flexibility in terms of location. For example, a long commute from a desirable location to the office may be more manageable if you only have to do it once or twice a week. 

Desirability

The environment has a huge impact on quality of life. Living in a more intimate community may translate to greater happiness and well-being if you feel most at home in a small town. If you love the energy of cities, you’re likely to be invigorated by settling in a metro area.  

Once you’ve decided on the general area, additional questions must be addressed. For example, if you’re drawn to city life, would you prefer to live in a bustling and walkable downtown setting, or would an established community with more of a neighborhood feel like a better fit? 

Factors like activities and amenities, weather, and even the political climate can all add to (or detract from) a location’s desirability. 

Crime

Crime is often one of the first things people think about when they consider relocating to a new town. Not only are people afraid of themselves, their family members, or their friends being victimized, but living in a high-crime area can also take a toll in different ways, such as with higher car insurance premiums. 

However, remember that crime statistics can be misleading…and biased. Real estate experts recommend visiting prospective neighborhoods for yourself to get a feel for different areas. To form the most accurate impression, be sure to visit at different times of day and night.

Education quality and options

If you have kids or are planning to start a family, the importance of good schooling options cannot be overlooked. 

College readiness is often a determining factor in high school rankings, but other factors—such as graduation rates and student diversity—can offer a more well-rounded view. 

Commute

Even if you don’t commute to work, areas with significant commuting populations often have more traffic on the roads than others. If sitting in traffic is one of your pet peeves, then it may make sense to cross commuting towns off your list. 

It’s also worth thinking about the distance (and commuting time) to your everyday destinations like the grocery store, gym, shopping, and restaurants. 

Healthcare availability and quality

If you’re young and/or in excellent health, distance to trustworthy and reputable providers and hospitals may not be one of your top priorities. However, if you plan to stay in the area, access to high-quality healthcare may become more important to you. 

7 Reasons Why People Regret Moving to Colorado

When it comes to why some people regret moving to Colorado, many of the aspects above do come into play. However, other aspects of living in Colorado also emerge as contributing factors. 

Here, we’ll count down seven specific reasons prompting people to second-guess the decision to put down roots in Colorado instead of another popular state like Texas or California or desirable areas like the East Coast or Mid-Atlantic. 

7. High Cost of Living

Over the past decade, Colorado has historically been one of the top states in terms of economic growth. However, 2023 saw a slowdown that’s expected to continue in 2024.  

At the same time, Colorado has an extremely high cost of living, a staggering 12 percent higher than the national average. This makes it a very expensive place to live compared to other locations—especially considering the impact of inflation on everyday and monthly expenses across everything from groceries to healthcare. 

One of the most significant factors influencing Colorado’s high cost of living is increased housing, transportation, and services demand. Its competitive housing/rental market is especially challenging. Not only are housing costs the biggest monthly expense for many people, but rental prices, real estate prices, and home values continue to increase every year, driving out renters and would-be homebuyers alike.   

In response to the financial challenges associated with living in Colorado, many residents have gotten tired of Colorado because they can’t afford a decent quality of life there. This leads them to seek more affordable living situations in other states. 

6.  Overcrowding

Just because many Colorado residents are leaving the state doesn’t mean other new ones aren’t arriving. In fact, the population has doubled since the 1980s, with many newcomers moving to Colorado. While the influx of people may speak to the state’s desirability, it’s not without its share of downsides. This is no better evidenced than by a survey of Colorado voters indicating that 75 percent of residents felt that rapid growth worsens the state.  

In addition to depleting and detracting from the state’s once-pristine landscapes, Colorado’s growing population has also resulted in alarming overcrowding, with everything from trails to campgrounds overrun with people. 

Traffic congestion is yet another issue stemming from overcrowding. In addition to standstills during daily rush hour, getting to and from the mountains and other attractions can take hours in a single day—especially when you factor in bad drivers on winter roads. For these and other reasons, Colorado has also earned the distinction of being one of the ten worst states to drive in

The takeaway? While people have long been drawn to CO for its serene natural spaces, increasing congestion detracts from its drawing power. As a result, many people are relocating to other states with lower population densities and the benefits that go along with them. 

5. A Tight Job Market

While business is booming in Colorado, a growing population of highly educated residents with high levels of education adds up to an unexpectedly tight job market—especially for people without advanced degrees. As new jobs are added, there’s also steep competition from new people moving to the state.  

The result? Even in a state known for having plentiful job openings, getting a job proves unexpectedly difficult for many people. 

Given these challenges, it’s unsurprising that many residents are forced to look elsewhere. Furthermore, many people who move to the state due to the perception of abundant job opportunities often regret moving to Colorado. 

4. Harsh Weather and Dry Climate 

With a top 10 spot among the country’s sunniest states, Colorado is often celebrated for its mild and pleasant weather. However, this doesn’t mean it’s immune to bad weather. 

In fact, Colorado lays claim to multiple climates and a dramatic range of weather phenomena. While summer, spring, and fall bring glorious weather, winter's intensely cold weather and heavy snow can be brutal—especially as you go further into the mountains at higher elevations.

Winter in Colorado may appeal to you if you enjoy cold weather and outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and snowboarding. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. After enduring the cold weather, some people start to regret moving to Colorado and head for warmer destinations. 

Another issue with Colorado’s weather is its arid climate. Regardless of the time of year, low humidity will take a toll on your skin—and lotion, Chapstick, and dogged hydration efforts can only go so far.  

Speaking of the dry weather, it doesn’t just cause dry skin. It also makes Colorado vulnerable to heavy droughts and wildfires, the threat of which can be distressing to homeowners. Additionally, living with water restrictions can be challenging. 

As such, while overcast days in Colorado may be few and far between, some residents may realize they’d prefer living in a more predictable climate than inconsistent Colorado. 

3. Pollution and Air Quality

Colorado has long been a haven for lovers of nature and the great outdoors. However, the picturesque scenery that initially attracted people to Colorado is now obscured by worry about the environment.

As Colorado's population has grown, so have concerns over pollution due to several issues, including ozone pollution from emissions, climate change, toxic pollutants from industrial facilities, the inescapability of air pollution (both indoors and outdoors); and its unique air pollution-trapping topology. 

While urban areas, in particular, are grappling with air quality issues, the whole state is impacted. In fact, Colorado was recently ranked 46th out of 50 states for urban air quality by U.S. News & World Report. 

Individuals who value cleaner and healthier environments are leaving Colorado and seeking refuge in states with more stringent environmental regulations.

2. Politics

When determining where to live, “fit” matters across many characteristics, including politics. For example, living in a “blue” state can be challenging if you are conservative. On the other hand, if your politics are more liberal, you may struggle to talk to your neighbors and connect with your community in a “red” state.  

Political dynamics matter wherever you live, but they’re especially relevant in Colorado, where a shift in reigning political ideologies is underway. Once a Republican stronghold, the ranks of Republicans have dwindled in recent years. Today, they account for just a quarter of the state’s registered voters. 

In addition to dividing the population, this change has led to disenchantment with the local political climate among some people, prompting them to seek out states that align more closely with their beliefs. 

1. Skyrocketing crime rates

Even though many areas of Colorado are safe for the most part, increasing crime rates are also contributing to the exodus from Colorado. Home to one of the country’s highest crime rates, Colorado is fourth in the nation for combined property and violent crime rates—up from 31st in 2012, according to FBI data.  

Furthermore, the state of homelessness in Colorado is also a concern as the number of homeless people continues to rise. 

As people decide where they want to live and raise their families, Colorado is becoming increasingly undesirable because it's perceived as more dangerous. Many of those prioritizing safety and security choose to relocate to areas with lower crime rates. 

As many satisfied Coloradans will attest to, the Centennial State has a multitude of unique allures. However, just because it's one of the most popular areas in the country doesn’t mean it’s an excellent fit for everyone. If you’re contemplating relocating to a new location and Colorado is on your shortlist, this guide can help you gain clarity about whether it’s right for you. 

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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