COLORADO SPRINGS — Living in Southern Colorado, we know of the many opportunities in the place we call home, but what are we doing well? Where do we need to improve?
After three years of pandemic-related delays, Pikes Peak United Way is tackling just that in its “Peaks Progress” 2022 Quality of Life Indicators report.
This year’s report includes 12 key sectors studied, including demographics, government, built environment, economy, social well-being, health, community engagement, education, safety, transportation, recreation, and natural environment.
Whether it be government data, community engagement, or recreation, “That is what brings people and makes us a thriving city,” said Chief Adrian Vasquez of Colorado Springs Police. “That is what makes us one of the best cities in the country, but that doesn’t mean we just rest on our laurels and don’t try to improve.”
In 2020, the local Colorado Springs rate of hate crime rose sharply to 2.4 incidents per 100,000 people. TESSA, El Paso and Teller counties’ largest provider of services for domestic and sexual assault victims, processed a record high of more than 13,000 calls in 2020.
Despite the increases, Colorado Springs still ranked third for fewest hate crimes per capita when ranked with six surrounding cities.
“These are ever-changing numbers, we’re not doing as bad as one might think, especially when we look at our property crimes, we’re well below in comparison to other cities,” Chief Vasquez explains.
Another area Colorado Springs looks to improve is transportation.
“Long-term it’ll be better but unfortunately there are some pains until it gets finished,” John Liosatos, Transportation Director of the Pikes Peak area said.
Experts tracked the average number of hours drivers lose to traffic and what it means to be in a car-dependent city.
“We have to come up with something that helps those young professionals stay here, as well as help the people who have been here their lifetime stay here,” Liosatos explained.
Colorado Springs now ranks 38th for the most walkable city in the U.S. and drivers reported a decrease in miles driven on poor road conditions.
Other key highlights include:
- Government: 82.4% of adults in the Colorado Springs area were registered to vote in 2020.
- Built environment: As of 2021, Colorado Springs had 308,836 housing units.
- Economy: Over the past two decades, substantial job increases have been seen in education and health services (+111%), local government education (+ 38%), and leisure and hospitality (+35%).
- Health: In El Paso and Teller Counties, the proportion of the adult population estimated to be obese was 28% in 2020, an increase from 21% in 2015. The pandemic affected primary care utilization, resulting in a 25% drop in visits to care providers.
- Education: Across Colorado Springs, the 2021 four-year high school graduation rate was 74.3%. The 2021-2022 student-teacher ratio across all Colorado Springs schools was 16.9 to 1, reflecting an increase of more than half a point from 2020-2021, after four years of decreases.
- Recreation: 92% of Colorado Springs residents are satisfied with the community’s outdoor recreation opportunities and 84% of Colorado Springs residents are satisfied with public parks and spaces – a higher percentage of satisfaction than any other aspect of living.