You’re moving to Colorado, huh? Or maybe you’re still just thinking about it. Either way, you’re in for a real treat. This little guide of ours is full of state stats, facts, trivia and weird little tidbits. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Colorado but didn’t know who to ask, designed to help you finalize your decision and hit the ground running when you land.
Go ahead and make sure your seatbelts are properly fastened, your tray tables are in the upright (and locked) position, and your kids are quiet. It’s time to put the ‘rad’ in Colorado.
The Territory of Colorado officially became a state in 1876, 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The state’s birth at this memorable time in America’s life earned it the nickname The Centennial State.
Colorado’s had a fairly long-standing rep for being one of the “cool states.” Everyone’s just chill here—they ski, snowboard, hike and probably play a pretty fair amount of hackey-sack, even. It's so cool, in fact, that 5,684,203 people live here (ranking 21st in population and 37th in population density in the nation, according to worldpopulationreview.com), just to be a part of all that coolness. It’s actually the second-fastest-growing state in the country. How about that?
But what makes Colorado so great? Why did 77,049 people move here in 2017 alone? Let’s dig in and find out.
Unless you won the McDonald’s Monopoly game or you’re the heir to some candy bar empire’s fortune, you’ll need a job once you’re in Colorado. So you’re probably wondering what the job market here is looking like? Us too.
To start with, Colorado’s unemployment rate is only 3.0%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is impressively low compared to the national average of 4.1%. The minimum wage in the state is also pretty nice. At $10.20/hour, it’s well above the federal minimum of $7.25/hour, according to minimum-wage.org. Things already seem pretty optimistic.
But let’s talk specifics. What are all the cool jobs in this cool state? Well, the fastest-growing gigs at the moment, as listed by zippia.com, include: interpreter/translator, miner, home health aid, diagnostic medical sonographer, esthetician, information security analyst, cement mason and insulation installer. But if you wanna know where the real money is, the highest-paying opportunities right now include: OB/GYN, anesthesiologist, surgeon, psychiatrist, airline pilot, CEO and pediatrician.
Obviously that isn’t everything. You can find hot jobs all over the place, and if you’re really good at something, you can usually make a lot of money in it. So stick to what you love, the opportunities are definitely out there for you.
At some point, you'll probably need to stop staying in Airbnbs and actually find a place of your own. But with people moving to Colorado in droves, is there even any room left? Well, let’s dive into the housing market here.
For starters, zillow.com says that the median home value is around $367,000, increasing 7.6% over the past year. Homes are currently listed on the market for $419,000 on average, and are selling for a median of $353,100. But if you’re just looking to rent a house here, you can expect to pay about $1,900/month.
Don’t you worry though, we wouldn't dare skip over apartments. If you move to Boulder, prepare to shell out quite a bit for a one-bed—around $1,852/month, according to rentcafe.com. In Denver, Castle Rock and Fort Collins you’ll be paying between $1,462/month and $1,535/month. But if you’re looking for something even lower, or you’re heading off to the U.S. Air Force Academy, you’ll pay around $1,075/month in Colorado Springs.
A lot of the higher rent costs come in areas where they’re seeing quite an up-tick in new construction. It pretty much runs right through the centerline of the state, all around Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins. There’s even a nice increase going on even further west in Glenwood Springs and around Grand Junction. So odds are pretty stacked in your favor if you're looking to get your hands on a shiny brand-new home when you get here.
When thinking of Coloradans, you probably picture some super-fit, twice-a-day yogi who drinks kale smoothies like they’re going out of style. Ha, as if kale smoothies would ever go out of style. Well, kinda. But Colorado is full of all kinds of different cool people, as we found on quora.com and movoto.com.
There are plenty of outdoorsy types who take advantage of the state’s hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, off-roading and camping. There are also plenty of health nuts who love the easy access to organic, locally grown, vegan foods. There are hipsters who love outdoor concerts and beards just as much as they love irony. Colorado is also full of gym rats, beer snobs, ranchers, ski fanatics (who joke that winter is just "ski season") and die-hard Denver Broncos fans. So a pretty eclectic bunch, that’s for sure.
Overall, because of the diversity here, the state leans quite liberal. And as far as attitudes go, most are pretty laid back, unpretentious, and—of course—cool. The average age of Coloradoans is 36.4, so you tend to get a good mix of people still trying to have their fun before the mid-life crisis hits.
In the past few years, a large number of Californians (East Coasters and Texans, too) have moved to Colorado without a clue about how to drive in the snow, all while raising rent costs. That healthy, great-outdoorsy vibe seems to appeal to many people from all over the place.
Natives often brag about the authentic Mexican food in their home state. Coloradoans definitely like things spicy, and some say they put green chilies on top of pretty much anything and everything. They also love their game meats, including bison and elk. Order a nice bison burger smothered with green chilies, and you're sure to impress the locals and make some fast friends.
Next up is our rapid-fire trivia round, Centennial State-style. The entire state of Colorado is at least 1,000 meters above sea level, and it's the only state like this. So moving here definitely takes some adjusting to the literally breath-taking, mind-boggling altitude. The town of Leadville is the highest unincorporated town in the country, at over 10,000 feet above sea level.
But once you get accustomed, there’s a 100-mile ultramarathon called the Leadville Trail 100 you can try your lungs at. It climbs and descends 15,600 feet and is definitely a wild run.
More than one-third of Colorado's land is owned by the federal government. The largest park system in the nation is located here, made up of 205 different city parks and 20,000 acres of mountain land.
The first-ever license plate was issued in Denver, in 1908, though we’re not sure if it just had the number ‘1’ on it or what. The nation's highest suspension bridge was built over the Royal Gorge, near Canon City. The nation's famous ballad "America the Beautiful" was the result of inspiration from the view atop Pikes Peak, the highest summit in the Rocky Mountains (at about 14,115 feet), near Colorado Springs.
Colorado is the only place in the country where four different states meet in a quadripoint—Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona all touch at one single point. You could have one hand in Utah, one in Colorado and split your legs between New Mexico and Arizona to be in four states, all at the same time.
The state is also home to the NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock, in Boulder. It has the responsibility of keeping accurate time for the entire country. It's said that for the next 80 million years, the clock will never gain, or lose, a single second. A lot more reliable than that bedside alarm clock of yours, that’s for sure.
The biggest surprise we came across is that "South Park," the Colorado home town of the show of the same name, is not a real town. South Park's creator, Trey Parker, was born in Conifer, Colorado, and both he and the show's co-creator, Matt Stone, attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, where they met.
Whether you're a hipster beer snob or just looking to hit the hiking trails with your dog, you'll find plenty of cool stuff to do here.
Here are just a few of the state's main attractions:
We could talk about how cool Colorado is all day, but wouldn’t you rather hear straight from Coloradoans themselves? Here are a few pros and cons mentioned by real-life Colorado folk that’ll help you get a clear picture of life here.
Pros (as voted on by real Coloradoans):
Cons (also as voted on by real Coloradoans):
So we’ve gone through the job market, the housing, the old, the new, the good and the bad. Now it’s time for the weird. Here are a few odd laws we found that somehow are still in existence here in Colorado.
Here are a just few from onlyinyourstate.com:
There it is, our guide to all things Colorado, from the history to the culture and beyond. While sadly we can't address every single one of your concerns, we hope that we gave you a good idea of how to fit in and if this is the right move for you.
But how could soaking up breathtaking natural scenic views, hanging out with a few beer snobs, and chasing specters at Stephen King’s favorite hotel not be absolutely amazing?
Good luck with the altitude, it can be a real doozy.
NOTE: if you decide Colorado isn't right for you, we've covered the other states, too, to help you find YOUR paradise. If the Southwest isn’t quite your jam, have you thought about Massachusetts?