Why I Regret Moving To Colorado

With its rugged natural beauty and reputation as an outdoor lover’s paradise, Colorado attracts thousands of new residents every year. But beneath the picture-perfect scenes on Instagram lies some harsh realities about living in the Centennial State.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: I regret moving to Colorado because the steep cost of living outpaces wages, the isolation and lack of diversity is jarring, the wildfires and droughts are increasing, and the crowded tourism scene ruins the nature experience.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore 5 key downsides of living in Colorado that lead to regrets for some transplants. From housing costs to natural disasters to the social scene, we’ll look at factors that can tarnish the Colorado dream. Whether you’re considering a move to Colorado or wondering if the grass really is greener, read on to learn why it’s not the right fit for everyone.

The Sky-High Cost of Housing in Colorado

One of the main reasons why many people are starting to regret moving to Colorado is the sky-high cost of housing. Over the past few years, housing prices in Colorado have risen sharply, making it increasingly difficult for individuals and families to find affordable housing options.

Housing Prices Have Risen Sharply

The real estate market in Colorado has experienced a significant boom, driving up housing prices across the state. According to a recent report by the Colorado Association of Realtors, the median home price in Colorado has increased by 10% in the past year alone.

This rapid increase in housing prices has made it challenging for many people to purchase a home or upgrade to a larger space.

Additionally, popular cities like Denver and Boulder have seen even greater spikes in housing prices, with median home prices well above the state average. The demand for housing in these areas, coupled with limited supply, has created a highly competitive market that favors sellers and drives up prices.

Rents Are Also Increasing Rapidly

Not only are housing prices skyrocketing, but rents in Colorado are also increasing at an alarming rate. According to a study by Apartment List, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Colorado has increased by 5% in the past year.

This steep rise in rental costs is putting a strain on individuals and families, making it difficult to save money or invest in other areas of their lives.

Furthermore, the high demand for rental properties in popular cities like Denver and Colorado Springs has led to a competitive rental market. This has resulted in bidding wars and landlords being able to charge higher rents, leaving many renters feeling trapped and unable to find affordable housing options.

Hard to Build Wealth or Buy a Home

The exorbitant cost of housing in Colorado is making it increasingly difficult for residents to build wealth or achieve the American dream of homeownership. With such high housing prices and rental costs, individuals and families are finding it challenging to save for a down payment on a home or invest in other assets.

This situation is especially challenging for first-time homebuyers or those with lower incomes who may not have access to significant financial resources. As a result, many people are being forced to rent for longer periods, delaying their ability to build equity and establish stability in their housing situation.

Feeling Isolated from Lack of Diversity

One of the major reasons why some individuals regret moving to Colorado is the feeling of isolation caused by the lack of diversity in the state. Colorado is known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, but when it comes to racial and ethnic diversity, it falls behind many other states.

Colorado Lacks Racial/Ethnic Diversity

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado has a relatively low percentage of racial and ethnic minorities compared to the national average. As of the 2020 census, the state’s population is predominantly White, with approximately 84% identifying as such.

This lack of diversity can make it challenging for individuals from diverse backgrounds to find a sense of belonging and connection within the community.

While some cities in Colorado, such as Denver and Aurora, have more diverse populations, the overall state demographics still lean heavily towards homogeneity. This lack of representation can lead to feelings of isolation and a sense of being an outsider for individuals who are used to living in more diverse areas.

Can Feel Homogenous Socially

In addition to the lack of racial and ethnic diversity, Colorado can also feel socially homogenous. The state’s population tends to have similar interests and lifestyles, which can make it difficult for newcomers to find like-minded individuals or communities that align with their values and interests.

Furthermore, Colorado has a reputation for attracting outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. While this can be exciting for some, it may not appeal to everyone. Individuals who prefer a more urban or culturally diverse environment may find it challenging to connect with others who share their interests and passions.

Culture Shocks for Transplants

For individuals who move to Colorado from more culturally diverse areas, the lack of diversity can be a culture shock. They may find themselves missing the vibrant mix of cultures, languages, and traditions they were accustomed to.

This can lead to a sense of longing for the familiar and a feeling of disconnection from the local community.

It is important to note that these experiences may vary depending on individual preferences and backgrounds. While some people may thrive in Colorado’s homogenous social and cultural environment, others may struggle to find a sense of belonging.

It’s essential for anyone considering a move to Colorado to carefully evaluate their own needs and priorities to ensure a smooth transition.

Natural Disasters – Wildfires, Droughts, etc.

One of the major reasons why some people regret moving to Colorado is the increasing frequency of natural disasters, particularly wildfires. Colorado has seen a significant rise in the number of wildfires in recent years.

According to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, the state experienced over 2,000 wildfires in 2020 alone. These wildfires not only pose a threat to human lives but also cause extensive damage to the natural environment and property.

Increasing Frequency of Wildfires

The frequency and intensity of wildfires in Colorado have been on the rise due to a combination of factors including climate change, drought conditions, and human activities. The state’s dry climate and vast areas of forest make it prone to wildfires.

Climate change has contributed to longer and hotter summers, creating ideal conditions for wildfires to spread rapidly. Additionally, factors like the accumulation of dead vegetation and the increased presence of invasive species further exacerbate the risk of wildfires.

Multi-Year Drought Conditions

Colorado has also been grappling with prolonged periods of drought, which further increase the vulnerability to wildfires. The state has experienced several multi-year droughts in the past decade, leading to a scarcity of water resources and an increased risk of wildfires.

These drought conditions not only impact the natural ecosystem but also put a strain on agriculture and other industries that rely on water.

Destruction of Nature and Property

The destructive nature of wildfires in Colorado cannot be overstated. These fires not only destroy vast stretches of natural habitat, but they also pose a significant threat to residential and commercial properties.

In recent years, numerous homes and structures have been lost to wildfires, leaving families and communities devastated. The economic impact of these disasters is also substantial, as the cost of firefighting efforts, property damage, and lost revenue from tourism and outdoor activities can be staggering.

It is important to note that Colorado is not the only state facing these challenges. Many regions across the United States are grappling with the increasing threat of wildfires and the impact of climate change.

However, for individuals who have moved to Colorado expecting a peaceful and idyllic environment, the reality of these natural disasters can be a harsh wake-up call. It is crucial for anyone considering a move to Colorado to thoroughly research and understand the risks associated with living in a high-risk wildfire zone.

Over-Crowding from Tourism Ruins Nature Experience

Colorado’s natural beauty has long been a draw for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. However, the increasing popularity of the state as a tourist destination has led to over-crowding, greatly impacting the once serene and untouched wilderness.

Congested Hiking Trails and Campsites

One of the unfortunate consequences of the booming tourism industry in Colorado is the congestion on hiking trails and campsites. What used to be peaceful and secluded spots for hikers and campers to enjoy are now often filled to capacity, with long lines and crowded conditions becoming the norm.

This not only detracts from the overall experience but also poses potential safety hazards. Trails that were once quiet and serene are now filled with hikers jostling for space, making it difficult to fully immerse oneself in the natural surroundings.

According to a report by the Colorado Tourism Office, the number of visitors to the state’s national parks has increased by 30% in the past decade. This surge in tourism has put a strain on the infrastructure and resources available to accommodate the influx of visitors, leading to overcrowded trails and campsites.

Long Lines and Traffic Jams

Another issue caused by the over-crowding from tourism is the long lines and traffic jams that visitors often encounter. Popular attractions such as Rocky Mountain National Park and Garden of the Gods can become incredibly congested, especially during peak tourist seasons.

This can lead to frustration and a diminished experience for those hoping to explore and appreciate the natural wonders of Colorado.

In a study conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation, it was found that traffic congestion on major highways leading to popular tourist destinations has increased by 15% in the past five years. This not only impacts the quality of life for residents but also hampers the overall enjoyment for visitors.

Commercialization and Loss of Authenticity

The commercialization of once untouched areas in Colorado has also contributed to the loss of authenticity and natural beauty. As tourism has boomed, businesses have sprung up to cater to the growing number of visitors.

While this may bring economic benefits to the state, it often comes at the expense of the natural environment. The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office reported that the number of outdoor recreation businesses in the state has increased by 20% in the past decade. This rapid commercialization can lead to the destruction of delicate ecosystems, the degradation of natural resources, and a loss of the unique charm that drew people to Colorado in the first place.

The Job Market Doesn’t Match the Hype

When considering a move to a new state, one of the most important factors to consider is the job market. Unfortunately, for those who have moved to Colorado with high hopes, the reality of the job market often falls short of the hype.

Here are a few reasons why many individuals regret their decision to relocate to Colorado.

Low Wages Relative to Cost of Living

One of the main reasons why individuals regret moving to Colorado is the low wages relative to the high cost of living. While Colorado may offer breathtaking landscapes and a high quality of life, it also comes with a hefty price tag.

Housing prices, in particular, have skyrocketed in recent years, making it difficult for individuals to afford decent accommodations on their salaries.

According to a study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, the cost of living in Colorado is 20% higher than the national average. Yet, the average wage is only 5% higher than the national average.

This disparity leaves many residents struggling to make ends meet and feeling financially burdened.

Furthermore, the low wages relative to the cost of living make it challenging for individuals to save for the future or invest in their personal and professional growth. This can be particularly frustrating for those who relocated to Colorado expecting better career opportunities and financial stability.

Limited Options Beyond Service Jobs

Another reason why individuals regret moving to Colorado is the limited job options beyond service industry jobs. While the state may have a thriving tourism and hospitality sector, it can be difficult for individuals in other industries to find suitable employment.

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the majority of job growth in the state is concentrated in low-paying service jobs such as retail, food service, and hospitality. This leaves individuals with specialized skills or experience in fields such as technology, finance, or healthcare struggling to find meaningful employment.

This limitation in job options can be particularly frustrating for individuals who relocated to Colorado with the expectation of finding career advancement and opportunities for professional growth.

Highly Competitive Job Market

Lastly, the highly competitive job market in Colorado can also contribute to individuals regretting their move. With its desirable location and reputation for its outdoor recreational activities, Colorado attracts a large number of individuals seeking new opportunities.

As a result, the job market in the state can be extremely competitive, with numerous qualified candidates vying for the same positions. This can make it challenging for newcomers to secure employment, especially if they lack local connections or a strong professional network.

In fact, a study conducted by the University of Colorado found that for every available job opening, there are approximately three unemployed individuals actively seeking employment. This level of competition can be disheartening for those who moved to Colorado hoping for a seamless transition into the workforce.


While Colorado seems like an outdoorsy paradise, the day-to-day realities of living there cause regret for some transplants. From rising unaffordability to lack of diversity to over-tourism, Colorado isn’t always the nature-filled utopia of imagination. Looking past the hype at the complete picture of benefits and drawbacks prevents disappointment. Weighing your priorities and lifestyle needs when considering a move to Colorado sets realistic expectations.

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