Jock Gilchrist, Research Fellow
This is the 4th blog in a 5-part series about regenerative economics in Colorado.
The transition to a regenerative economy is about more than ecological health and economic prosperity. It is also about facilitating wellbeing. Focusing on policies, business models, and programs that help people thrive is essential to achieving the full vision of a regenerative economy.
In this respect, Colorado is already outperforming most other US states. Gallup started measuring wellbeing by state in 2008. Since then, Colorado and Hawaii are the only two states to have ranked in the top 10 for wellbeing every year.
The rankings break wellbeing into five dimensions – purpose, social, financial, community, and physical. In the most recent rankings, Colorado placed 2nd in physical wellbeing, likely due to Colorado’s abundant public land, parks, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Additionally, two of Colorado’s Front Range communities rank in the top 25 for city well-being ranking: Boulder (3rd) and Fort Collins (14th). Colorado is one of only five states to have two or more cities in the top 25.
In city rankings, Boulder took the number 1 position in physical wellbeing nationwide. In 2011, Boulder and Fort Collins ranked 1st and 3rd in the nation in overall wellbeing.
Boulder, Denver, Longmont and other nearby communities have excelled in a number of other national surveys that measure quality of life and livability. As Colin Woodard wrote in 2016, “Denver has been storming national rankings lists: Brookings Institution demographer William Frey’s best (2011) and second best (2013) city for attracting millennials; the best city for college graduates (2014, Apartments.com); the largest increase in residents with college degrees (U.S. Census, 2014); the best commercial real estate market (Coldwell Banker, 2015); the second best for launching a startup (2014, Forbes); and, this year, U.S. News and World Report’s best place to live.”
Similarly, in 2017, NerdWallet said Denver is the 2nd best city for job seekers and U.S. News and World Report said it’s the 2nd best city in which to live.
Boulder was recently named Happiest City in the US and one of America’s Top Adventure Towns. Longmont was recognized as the 23rd best community in which to live in the nation.
We share these impressive rankings not to brag but to point out that one of Colorado’s unique qualities is its ability to offer a healthy and happy life for its residents. As one of our strength’s we should make sure we continue to invest wellbeing and the industries that support it. The transition to a regenerative economy makes wellbeing a priority, and by that measure, Colorado has a head start.