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Demographer: Change will challenge Colorado, Boulder County economies by 2030


No one doubts the economy of Boulder County is booming, as is most of Colorado's. But experts hint that these halcyon days face challenges in the coming years, and there's one reason that looms larger than all the rest: demographics.


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Print   Email   Font ResizeDemographer: Change will challenge Colorado, Boulder County economies by 2030By Vince WinkelStaff WriterPosted:   02/14/2015 11:20:54 AM MSTUpdated:   02/14/2015 11:22:25 AM MST var requestedWidth = 0; if(requestedWidth > 0){ document.getElementById('articleViewerGroup').style.width = requestedWidth + "px"; document.getElementById('articleViewerGroup').style.margin = "0px 0px 10px 10px"; } No one doubts the economy of Boulder County is booming, as is most of Colorado's. But experts hint that these halcyon days face challenges in the coming years, and there's one reason that looms larger than all the rest: demographics. "Things are changing," explained Elizabeth Garner, state demographer for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs"Colorado is attracting young people, and so is Boulder County." On the surface that may seem like a good thingBut dig deeper and look a few years down the road, and Garner believes it could potentially cause problemsElizabeth Garner Colorado is getting older and younger at the same time, Garner told those gathered Friday at the 22nd annual Economic Forecast Breakfast in BoulderThat's because the state attracts a lots of millennials (birth years ranging from the 1980s to the early 2000s), while at the same time the 65-plus age bracket grows faster than any other demographic. "That's why this coming transition is so significant for us," said Garner"We just haven't had that larger share of people over the age of 65." By 2030, Colorado's population of those 65 and over will be 125 percent larger than it was in 2010, growing from 555,000 to 1,243,000 That means approximately 1 million workers in Colorado will be aging into retirement in the next 20 years, her research shows As a result, tax revenues will take a huge hit, as the income that older adults pay in taxes will shrinkIn addition, there will be increased reliance and strain on Medicaid, Social Security and other programs Meanwhile, around 2022, millennials in Boulder County will become the largest generational population groupWill they be able to afford to live in the county, the priciest in the state? Garner asked In addition to the changing demographics of the county, housing was another issue discussed during the annual forecast meeting. "Housing costs are a problem in Colorado and Boulder County," said DrRichard Wobbekind, executive director of the Business Research Division and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Programs at the University of Colorado Boulder"Incomes aren't rising enough to afford the housing." Colorado led the nation in home price appreciation in 2014, with a substantial 8.4 percent increase, ahead of the national average of 5 percent. For example, four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes in Boulder list for an average price of $835,516, according to a recent report from Coldwell Banker Real Estate. Meanwhile "average" home values in the city jumped last year to $530,000, according to real estate site Zillow. As Colorado outperforms the nation in employment growth, has a growing population, and all the economic indicators are positive, Garner said keep in mind the times will most certainly be changingHer final suggestion during the economic forecast meeting was a simple one, touching on both housing and millennials "We have plenty of McMansions," she said"Don't build any more because we won't have people who can buy them." Vince Winkel: 303-684-5291, winkelv@times-call.com or twitter.com/vincewinkelPrint   Email   Font ResizeReturn to Top   function refreshArticleList(theForm) { theForm.submit(); } RELATED MORE RELATED HEADLINES Winter storm blankets Boulder, shuts down U.S36Boulder concerned about RTD transit plan along U.S36Resort's neighbors see bumps ahead with possible Eldora expansion  var drJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? 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