Millennials are moving to Colorado Springs at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country, reports Out There Colorado.
Though many believe Colorado Springs can’t attract or keep, millennials, that hasn’t been true for years, said Dirk Draper, president of the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corporation:
“I think we’ve kind of hit a sweet spot for folks in that age group,” Draper said. The city boasts job opportunities in growing industries — including technology and cybersecurity — as well as relatively affordable living and “a good quality of life,” he said.
The city’s millennial population increased by 14.7 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to the study from Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. The millennial generation in the United States is made up of more than 75 million people born from 1981 through 1997, the study says.
The growth in millennials could be due in part to Colorado Springs being a military town, that’s the prime age for joining the service, said Tom Binnings, a senior partner at Summit Economics, a local applied economics consulting firm. But Colorado Springs’ population is growing across the board, he pointed out, so it’s not just millennials moving to the Pikes Peak region.
Last year Colorado was the 8th fastest growing state in the country, adding 77,000 residents to its overall population, according to the 2017 census. Colorado now has 5.6-million residents, putting it 21st by population (by comparison, California has the largest population, almost 40-million, or 12.13% of the US). And Denver, the capital of Colorado, is one of only 28 cities in the US that saw population growth above 1% last year, and currently has a population just over 700,000.
The fact that Colorado regularly features at the top of ‘healthiest states’, ‘best places to live‘, and ‘happiest states‘ lists must also have something to do with it. The Rocky Mountains are right there, just a short drive away, with plenty of world-class ski resorts on the doorstep, and some of the best summer activities in the country. And let’s not forget the draw of legal marijuana…
Colorado Springs is gaining a reputation for having the quality of life that many millennials are seeking, Binnings added:
“I think Colorado Springs has done a better job — and when I say the Springs, I’m going to give credit to the Chamber and EDC — of promoting the key strength of the Pikes Peak region, which is the great outdoors,” Binnings said. “To the degree we’re attracting younger people who are not military and told to come here, we’re getting younger people who are coming here because of the outdoor quality of life.”
The Brookings study analyzes racial and ethnic diversity, education, poverty, marital status and education level among millennials across the country.
San Antonio trailed Colorado Springs with a 14.4 percent increase, and Denver placed third with a 12.8 percent increase. The 10 fastest-growing areas all were located in the South or West, the study says.
For more information, visit brookings.edu/research/millennials.