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Colorado among most prosperous states, report shows

A new index looks at which states and counties are thriving.

Colorado is the 10th most prosperous state in the nation, according to a report published earlier this month by the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream and the Legatum Institute.

The American Dream Prosperity Index analyzed more than 90 data sources — including household surveys, the U.S. Census Bureau and research organizations — to find out residents’ empowerment, societal inclusion and economic health, said Farah Pandith, senior advisor for thought leadership at the Milken Center.

The data shows that Coloradans feel empowered and have good social capital, she said.

“This is the quality of people’s lived experience, and all of the associated aspects that enable someone to reach their full potential,” Pandith explained. “That’s how often you see your neighbors, how you feel about your community and environment — your social networks.”

Colorado has a high voter turnout and active civic engagement, the index shows. 

Our state also scored top points for its business environment.

“It captures the extent to which you’re open for competition, you’re encouraging innovation — you’re promoting business and trade,” Pandith explained.

Broomfield, Douglas and Elbert counties are the top communities for overall prosperity in Colorado. Boulder County comes in sixth, overall in the state.

Our state needs to focus on improving its crime rates, the index shows.

“When we’re looking at safety and security, we’re looking at mass killings, we’re looking at violent crimes, and we’re looking at property crimes,” Pandith said. 

The level of gun violence went up across the country post-pandemic, and Colorado was no exception, according to the report. 

There have also been higher rates of suicides across the country.

“There’s been a mental health deterioration in every single state, and obviously that threatens U.S. prosperity,” Pandith explained. “While there is a very dangerous and sobering picture around mental health … physical health has improved over the past decade.”

Since 2012, smoking rates have declined by nearly a third, alcohol abuse has decreased by 17% and pain reliever misuse has decreased by 21%, the index shows. 

Massachusetts, Connecticut and Minnesota are the most prosperous states in the country, according to the report.


Amber Fisher

About the Author: Amber Fisher

I'm thrilled to be an assistant editor with the Longmont Leader after spending the past decade reporting for news outlets across North America. When I'm not writing, you can find me snowboarding, reading fiction and running (poorly).
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