Press Contacts:
For interview opportunities with members of The Colorado Health Foundation, the research team and/or representatives from partner organizations and Colorado residents directly impacted by the topics covered in the 2022 Pulse Poll, please contact:
Marty Schechter (ENGLISH),, 303-882-4585
Virginia Ovejero (SPANISH),, 303-324-5075
Austin Montoya (For CHF Inquiries),, 303-953-3686
July 17, 2023

DENVER, COLORADO – The cost of living and worries about housing affordability dominate the list of concerns for most Coloradans in 2023, according to findings from the 4th Annual Pulse Poll commissioned by The Colorado Health Foundation (CHF). A bipartisan team of researchers collected responses from 2,639 Coloradans between April 8 - May 3, 2023 showed persistently high living costs and housing affordability are presenting a ripple effect across multiple aspects of daily life and fueling worries for the state’s future generations. CHF is releasing an analysis of Coloradans’ top concerns (housing affordability and cost of living) this month. This focused release will be followed in August with a deep-dive analysis of other key findings and in September with a deep-dive on the perspectives of Hispanic and Latino respondents. 


COVID-19 concerns nearly erased.

Coloradans’ concerns over Coronavirus/COVID-19 and the health pandemic, which took center stage in the early years of the Pulse Poll (2020 and 2021), have been erased. In 2023, less than one percent of respondents cited the pandemic as a concern), and instead Coloradans’ top concerns are now laser-focused on two key factors that dominate the worries and daily choices of the state’s residents.

Increasing costs of living and housing are impacting every demographic in every corner of the state.

“COVID-19 was not the only contagion that swept through Colorado in the last several years,” said Lori Weigel, Republican pollster for Pulse and principal of New Bridge Strategy. “In a three-year span, housing costs have spread from the concern of local workers in mountain resort communities to a top-tier statewide issue. In every region of the state – from the Eastern Plains to the Front Range to the Western Slope – and with virtually every single demographic group, the cost of living and cost of housing are the great uniters as the top-of-mind concerns.”

Asked to describe in an open-ended question and in their own words, the most important issue facing Colorado right now, respondents provided a Top 5 list that all reached double-digit response levels:


Cost of Living/Inflation



Housing Affordability









Public Safety/Crime


Rounding out the Top 10:








Climate Change






Guns/gun violence/gun control


Reinforcing these concerns, when asked to rank a series of specific problems facing Colorado, all four of the top issues relate to increasing costs and housing. Respondents put “the rising cost of living” and “the cost of housing” top of the list with 85% and 82%, respectively, saying the problems are extremely serious or very serious. 

  • Concerns about the cost of living are 8% higher for renters, 6% higher for Latinos, and 4% higher for people living on low incomes. 
  • Concerns about the cost of housing are 16% higher for Native Americans (98% total) and 11% higher for people living on low incomes and renters.

Since 2020, the cost of housing as an extreme or very serious problem has risen from 67% to 82%, with 51% of respondents citing it as an extremely serious problem in 2023 compared to just 37% in 2020. Related, the rising cost of living was rated an extremely serious or very serious problem by 85% of those surveyed.

Many are doubting their ability to own a home and whether their children will be able to afford living here.

Despite the waning pandemic, concerns about the ability to afford living in Colorado have persisted and now, many Coloradans are doubting not only their ability to own homes, but their children’s ability to afford living in Colorado as well.

Results fall in line with recent polls and analyses, including the annual U.S. News & World Report released in May, that revealed Denver and select cities across Colorado – recently ranked among the Top 10 most desirable and livable cities in the country – are falling further down the rankings. In the end, the concerns and changes detailed in the 2023 Pulse Poll may provide some insight to the changing face of Colorado in the years ahead.

“Concerns about the cost of living are not only a source of anxiety for Coloradans today – they are also dimming their hopes for the future,” said Dave Metz, Democratic pollster for Pulse and president of FM3 Research. “Today, many Coloradans face real challenges – nearly two in five are ‘just getting by financially,’ and more than one-quarter are worried about losing their home because they can’t afford it. But looking toward the future, the view is even darker. Most renters who want to own a home doubt they will ever be able to purchase one in Colorado, and more than four in five parents are worried about whether their children will be able to afford to stay here at all. Coloradans not only have low expectations for a rapid turnaround on the cost of living – they worry that the state’s housing challenges could become generational.”

During the pandemic, concerns dramatically increased and remain incredibly high.

Related concerns about homelessness and cost of health care remain high.

Closely following the cost of living and housing are concerns related to “homelessness” and “the cost of health care” with 79% and 69%, respectively, saying the problems are extremely serious or very serious. These related cost concerns have continued to increase incrementally in recent years and are even more common within specific demographics. For instance, concerns about homelessness are 13% higher for Native Americans and 7% higher for Latinos, while concerns about the cost of health care is 16% higher for people who are struggling to get by and 10% higher for AAPI respondents. Additionally, concerns about homelessness as an extreme or very serious problem have risen from 67% in 2020 to 79% in 2023.

As people increasingly worry about their ability to afford the cost of living, they are less concerned about the broader economic picture. Concerns about jobs and the economy – considered an extremely serious or very serious problem by 63% in 2020, have fallen to 48% in 2023.


Housing concerns are impacting day-to-day decisions with negative impacts, particularly for those living on low incomes.

Significant portions of the population fear they could lose their home or are making tough decisions to be able to afford their housing.

  • Nearly 3 in 10 respondents (28%) said they are worried they could lose their home in the coming year because they can’t afford rent or mortgage. That number is up 6% from 2020. This worry jumps to 49% of Native Americans and renters, 47% of African American and Black respondents, and 36% of people living on low incomes.
  • About 15% of respondents have either moved because they couldn’t afford their housing or lived with a roommate, friends, or family when they’d rather not. These tough decisions more than double for people living on low incomes. 
  • For those in Generation Z (the oldest of which are pushing 26 years of age), almost one-third said they have to live with a roommate or a friend to afford rent or a mortgage.

Renters appear to be bearing the brunt of this cost crisis.

  • 85% of renters aspire to own a home, but most of those people do not think it’s likely they will ever be able to purchase a home in Colorado.
  • Nearly half say they are working multiple jobs or more hours than they'd like in order to be able to pay their rent.

“Looking into the future, 83% of respondents who are parents said they’re worried that their children won’t be able to afford to live in Colorado in the future,” added Weigel. “That's something we used to see in terms of economic opportunity in small rural communities, but to see parents in every region of the state and at every income level concerned their kids may not have a future here is really stark.”

Far too many experiencing unfair treatment based on race or ethnicity.

While concerns about housing are widespread, Coloradans’ actual experiences with our state’s housing market suggest that some groups are navigating other challenges in addition to soaring costs when trying to find a place to live. About one in four Coloradans trying to rent or purchase a place to live have experienced unfair treatment, either personally or with someone they know, as a result of their race or ethnicity. This is true for six in 10 Native Americans, nearly half of African Americans, and nearly four in 10 Latinos.


The high cost of living is touching all aspects of Coloradans’ lives.

  • About 40% of Coloradans say they are “just getting by financially,” including more than one in 10 describing themselves as “really struggling.” Those really struggling financially include 27% of Native Americans, 20% of renters, 19% of African Americans, as well as 18% of Latino respondents.
  • 40% of respondents say they are “worse off financially” than a year ago. This number is much higher, six out of 10 for multi-racial respondents. (18% jump 2021-2022 that’s staying high).
  • Of the 72% of respondents who said they planned to be employed over the next year, 21% were worried that they might not be employed over the next year. Overall, one out of five respondents were concerned they would not be employed within the next year, and one out of three Latinos reported the same concern (a 9% jump from 2021-2022 that remains high, though it dropped 4% from 2022-2023).

About one in three respondents say they are worried they might not be able to afford enough food to feed themselves or their families. This worry is much higher for people living on low incomes (60%), Native Americans (55%), renters (51%), and Latinos (47%). (14% jump 2021-2022 that remains high).

Coloradans are making hard choices between making ends meet and their health and well-being.

  • 14% said they have skipped meals because they couldn’t afford food vs. just 9% in 2021. This increases significantly for people living on low incomes (34% have skipped meals) and those under 39 (19-23%).
  • 35% are worried they may not always be able to afford food for themselves and/or their family in the coming year. 60% of people living on low incomes share this worry.
  • 37% of respondents are worried they or someone in their household will be without health insurance in the coming year.
  • Nearly 4 out of 10 respondents say they’ve postponed medical, dental or mental health care in the past year – primarily due to cost and/or ability to pay for the services – cited by 75% of respondents.
“Taking the annual pulse of what Coloradans are thinking, feeling and experiencing when it comes to health and well-being is imperative to being community-informed,” said Karen McNeill-Miller, president and CEO of The Colorado Health Foundation. “This year’s data paints a worrying picture with far too many Coloradans trying to meet the rising costs of living by making daily sacrifices that compromise opportunities to be healthy and economically stable. These tradeoffs are even more common among people of color and those living on low income. We want local and state officials to understand the stories behind these data, as they highlight policy opportunities that are essential for improving opportunities for everyone in our state.”


Addressing the cost of housing.

To address the rising cost of housing, respondents shared confidence in policy solutions that help people stay in their homes by:

  • Reducing property taxes for people on low or fixed incomes (80% view this as effective, consistent across party identification).
  • Ensuring landlords can’t raise rents too quickly on current tenants (75% view this as effective).
  • Increasing investment in programs that prevent people from becoming homeless (68% view this as effective).
  • Making it more difficult to evict tenants who have not violated their lease (67% view this as effective). 

Respondents also believe in policies that could increase the availability of affordable housing by:

  • Changing zoning laws to make it easier to build more housing close to job and transportation hubs (70% view this as effective).
  • Requiring developers to build housing for people with lower income levels (68% view this as effective).
  • Speeding up permitting and inspection processes for developers building housing for low-income people (68% view this as effective). 

Addressing the cost of living.

Asked to weigh in on the most effective policies that could address the rising cost of living, respondents demonstrated confidence in making it easier for people living on low incomes to enroll in programs that can help them afford necessities like food and health care. Seventy-four percent of respondents believe this would be effective, with 44% saying it would be very effective.

  • Increasing tax credits to people living on low incomes follows quickly after with 70% saying it would be effective in addressing the rising cost of living. 
  • Another 68% say government investments could effectively stimulate the economy and create better-paying jobs.
  • And 63% say that raising taxes on people making over $500,000 to cover services like housing, health care and education would be effective.

These solutions enjoy majority confidence across demographics, geographies and party affiliations. The only exception relates to raising taxes on folks making over $500,000, which only 34% of Republicans believe to be effective. However, a majority (58%) of people making over $150,000 annually think it would be effective.


The Colorado Health Foundation will host three public briefings to provide additional insight and perspectives on this year’s Pulse Poll findings. Members of the public are invited to join one, two or all three briefings.

Click here to REGISTER NOW!

  • Housing and the Cost of Living Crisis: A Troubling View of Colorado’s Horizon
    (presented in English only)
    Data available online at 8:00 am on Monday, July 17
    Briefing at 10:00 am on Tuesday, July 18
  • Beyond the Numbers: Understanding Coloradans’ Priorities From The 2023 Pulse Poll
    (presented in English with live interpretation in Spanish)
    Regionally-specific data will also be available and provided upon request
    Data available online at 8:00 am on Monday, August 21
    Briefing at 10:00 am on Tuesday, August 22
  • Deep Dive with an Emphasis on Responses from Hispanic and Latino People in Colorado
    (presented in Spanish with live interpretation in English)
    Data available online at 8:00 am on Monday, September 18
    Briefing at 10:00 am on Tuesday, September 19

Each briefing will share detailed data about the challenges that Coloradans are facing, the impact of those challenges, and the types of solutions that people want to see prioritized by policymakers.

The following resources are available for download.

The Colorado Health Foundation is committed to transparency, including access to the full results of Pulse. These resources are available in both English and Spanish and include:

  • Questionnaire with topline results (English | Spanish)
  • Cross-tabs with data on how different sub-groups answered each question (English | Spanish coming soon)
  • Presentation deck with easy-to-read charts and graphs (English | Spanish coming soon)

About Pulse
At The Colorado Health Foundation, we believe in the importance of listening, and that’s why each year we listen to Coloradans from across the state through our annual poll. From the increasing cost of living and lack of affordable housing, to health care and mental well-being, our poll takes the pulse of Coloradans on a range of important issues this year and every year – to inform policy that advances health equity. For more information, visit

The 2023 Pulse Poll was conducted by telephone and online from April 8-May 3, 2023 among a random representative sample of 2,639 adults age 18 and older living in Colorado. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/-2.2% at the 95% confidence interval. For results based on subgroups, the margin of sampling error is higher.

About The Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy advocacy and research. For more information, visit

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