PUBLISHED August 10, 2022
By Rachel Pruette
Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the country, and its breathtaking mountain vistas and sprawling plains make it easy to see why it’s also one of the fastest-growing states over the last few decades. It’s also easy to get starry-eyed thinking about the world-class skiing and thriving craft beer market, but there are a lot of things about Colorado that people aren’t ready for when they arrive. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to list the ten most important factors — good ones and not-so-good ones — that you need to know about before you move to Colorado.
1. The Cost of Living is Quite High
For starters, the cost of living is significantly higher than most people realize. In the past, people moved to cities like Denver to escape the high cost of living in more established cities like New York or San Francisco, but the gap between those cities and Denver is much narrower these days. Home prices are especially high throughout Colorado, with the median home price in the state reaching almost double the median home price in the United States.
2. The Altitude Takes Some Time to Get Used To
Colorado has the highest elevation of any state in the country, something that surprises visitors and new homeowners. Denver’s elevation is almost exactly one mile above sea level, high enough to cause people unaccustomed to the altitude to feel out of breath and develop headaches. Thankfully, your body will quickly adjust, so the altitude is not a long-term concern for healthy people. However, it does mean that your initial move might be more difficult than you think, so you should research moving companies in Colorado before you pull the trigger.
3. It’s a Politically Neutral State
The current political climate in the United States is tense, to put it mildly. Colorado offers a refreshingly calm political environment if you’ve had enough of the combative politics or one-sided policies in your current state. It’s a mostly neutral state, so most people you run into will be moderate and local elections are usually decided based on merit and ideas rather than pre-drawn tribal lines.
4. The Climate Is Exceptionally Dry
Colorado is one of the driest states in the country, with humidity regularly below 50%. This can pose problems for people with dry skin and be bothersome. It’s also a serious challenge for people with wooden instruments like guitars or violins since the low humidity can cause cracks and separations in the instrument’s bodies.
5. Marijuana Is Legal and Prevalent
Colorado is famously the first state in the US to legalize marijuana, and the industry has been booming ever since. It remains one of the best states for people who enjoy marijuana, with a network of high-quality retailers and a helpful, supportive community.
6. It’s One of the Greenest States in the Country
Colorado is the place to be if you want to live a more environmentally-friendly life. Colorado is near the top of the list of eco-friendly states, ranking in the top 15 in air quality, soil quality, energy consumption per capita, and prevalence of green buildings and businesses.
7. There’s a Great Job Market
Finding a job in Colorado is easier than in most places, especially if you work in IT or healthcare. Denver’s median salary is above the national average, and the unemployment rate is lower than average. However, jobs get more difficult to find outside of Denver and its suburbs, so make sure to investigate the market near where you’re planning on living.
8. The Weather Changes Rapidly
The weather in Colorado moves quickly, thanks to the destabilizing presence of the Rocky Mountains. Coloradans are fond of saying, “if you don’t like the weather in the mountains, wait five minutes.” This can be jarring if you’re used to stable, slow-moving weather patterns, but it isn’t too hard to get used to.
9. Traffic Can Be Pretty Bad At Times
Denver-area traffic can be just as bad as the worst New York or LA traffic during rush hour, so don’t expect to escape the rat race if you want to live near the city. Weekend traffic on I-70 heading towards Vail can also get bad during ski season, so be prepared if you plan on taking weekend trips into the mountains.
10. An Outdoor, Active Lifestyle Is the Norm
One of the best parts of living in Colorado is the pervasive active lifestyle. Everyone in Colorado seems to be an avid cyclist, skier, and climber, which is great if you have an active lifestyle. But if you’re not very outdoorsy, it can be hard to meet new people since most groups are focused on outdoor athletic endeavors.
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