Apr 29, 2024 - News

Grand Junction may be Colorado's "best-kept secret"

The view from the Grand Mesa outside Grand Junction. Photo: Christian Murdock/The Gazette via Getty Images

Grand Junction was named the best place to relocate to out of 22 Colorado cities, according to a new analysis from USA Today Homefront.

Why it matters: Denver, which ranked at No. 19, is once again being shown up by other cities in the Centennial State due to safety issues and high cost of living.

Flashback: Earlier this year, Grand Junction was listed among the nation's best-performing small cities by the Milken Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit, which assessed 403 U.S. metropolitan areas using 13 economic metrics.

What they're saying: The Western Slope city, about 250 miles west of Denver, may be Colorado's "best-kept secret," offering a diverse landscape — complete with mountains, rivers, canyons, deserts and forests — plus affordable housing and low climate risks, USA Today's report says.

  • The city is "on the verge of significant growth," and its location midway between Denver and Salt Lake City makes it "an ideal place to live, work and play," Christi Reece, a Grand Junction real estate agent with HomeLight, told USA Today Homefront.
Data: USA Today Homefront; Table: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

Zoom in: Grand Junction Mayor Anna Stout tells us this recognition is a "testament to the hard work and dedication" of local businesses and city staff.

  • The Visit Grand Junction Department has also been "instrumental in attracting tourism" by working with local economic partners to "recognize opportunities for growth and development," she says.

The big picture: Littleton and Loveland rounded out the top three spots when analyzed across more than a dozen quality-of-life factors, including low crime rates, good schools and access to medical care.

  • Holding Littleton back from leading the list was its affordability, the report notes, with 55% of its population rent-burdened.

The other side: Pueblo, Denver, Thornton, Brighton and Commerce City ranked in the bottom five.

  • Aurora also had a low standing at No. 17 for being home to one of the state's most rent-burdened communities; 60% of its residents spend more than 30% of their income on rent.

What they did: To determine the best cities to live in, researchers pulled data from the last five years from the U.S. Census Bureau and several other sources to analyze 16 livability metrics, including walkability, life expectancy, education and number of restaurants.

  • The population threshold for the cities studied was 40,000.
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