DENVER (KDVR) — Coloradans are worried about the state’s inflated cost of living more than anything else, and they want something to change it.
The nonprofit Colorado Health Foundation has been conducting an annual poll of Colorado’s top concerns for the past three years to help inform policymakers about what is top of mind for likely voters in the state. This year, Coloradans are more concerned about household finances than anything else.
Eighty-six percent of Coloradans say the state’s cost of housing is an extremely serious or very serious problem, including 61% who say it’s an extremely serious problem. Another 84% say the general cost of living is an extremely or very serious problem, including 61% who say it’s extremely serious.
No other concern comes close.
Coloradans fear for their financial security and even about being able to keep a roof over their heads. About one-third of Coloradans (29%) say they’re worried they might not make next month’s rent or mortgage payment – 11% very worried and 19% somewhat worried. Almost half of Coloradans (42%) say they’re financially worse off now than they were a year ago.
People report having to do a range of things they don’t want to in order to pay for their housing.
One in three (32%) say they avoid asking landlords to fix problems. One in three (32%) say they’re either working multiple jobs or working more than they want to make ends meet. One in three (31%) say they’re cutting back on food or health care. One in four (26%) say they’re staying in unsuitable housing because they can’t find anything else, and one in five (22%) say they’re living with roommates, family or friends.
Coloradans say they think a range of solutions would be effective, but their responses are not consistent. A majority think more regulations and government involvement will help, but a majority also believe less government involvement will help.
Three in four Coloradans (74%) say a law forbidding sudden and steep rent hikes would be effective. Another 72% say changing regulations for food, health care and utilities would help. Seventy-one percent said they think it would be effective to force home and apartment builders to build low-income housing.
Fifty-nine percent said they think it would help to require employers to give raises. The same amount believes it would help to hike taxes on anyone making more than $500,000.
Fifty-eight percent think a new swath of government-created work projects and jobs would help. The same amount believes it would help to deregulate the homebuilding industry so apartments and houses can come onto the market cheaper and more quickly.