DENVER (KDVR) — Coloradans have had enough of newcomers. And, according to a recent poll, even those newcomers are sick of newcomers.
Colorado added nearly 745,000 new residents between 2010 and 2020, one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations with a 14.8% increase. By this point, more of Colorado’s residents were born outside the state than in it – a large slice of them wealthy Californians or East Coasters with enough money to substantially outbid locals for housing. In the process, it has inherited many of the issues with crime, expense and crowding associated with large metros.
Along with the booming economy, the state’s housing has bloomed to some of the nation’s most unaffordable, its unhoused homeless population tripled, trails and parks have become more crowded than ever before, traffic has become the nation’s 15th most congested, and metro violent crime rates have risen. Colorado has become the nation’s car theft capital, the nation’s cocaine use capital, and one of the states with the highest rise in overdose deaths.
A joint Rasmussen Reports/NumbersUSA Education and Research Foundation survey says Colorado residents believe the state grew too much too fast, and that leaders should discourage more.
Pollsters asked 1,024 likely Colorado voters a series of questions about Colorado’s open space development, population growth and future by telephone and internet. Only 43% of them say they were born in Colorado.
Only a slim minority said they didn’t feel at least a little more crowded in streets, schools, cities and parks. Most feel much more crowded. Sixty-one percent said the state developed too much, and 59% said they either want the population to stay the way it is or to shrink.
Demographers, however, project that Colorado will add another 1.8 million people by 2050. Three-fourths of respondents said they think this would be a negative development – including 81% who think it would make traffic more congested.
Coloradans have several ideas on what they’d like leaders to do to curb more growth, but most support some means of stopping more people from moving in.
Sixty-three percent say they would like state and local leaders to somehow restrict development to make it harder for people to move to Colorado. Considering one-fourth of Colorado newcomers are immigrants, another 53% say they would like federal leaders to reduce annual immigration.
Most Coloradans, though, want to keep their own areas free of the kind of crowding that would lower housing prices. Only 48% want to change zoning laws to allow more multi-family housing such as apartments and condominiums.
Whether any of these proposals would fix the problem or cause new, unanticipated ones, the gist is clear: Coloradans want leaders to do whatever they can to keep the past decade from repeating itself.