(Photo: Getty Images)
By: Jack Adams, Staff Reporter
Recently, it seems as if almost everytime I’m out in Denver, I hear natives lamenting over the surfeit of citizens migrating to the city. Typically I try to ignore the local’s gripes about Denver’s population density, attributing them to misdirected frustrations over traffic on I-25. After an especially harrowing commute to Regis last week, however, I began to realize these incessant residential growth complaints may actually be justified. So I decided to conduct a bit of personal research, directing all of it toward answering one simple question: has Denver really become inundated with too many people?
Denver was one of the fastest growing cities in the United States between 2014 and 2015, and even though the city’s growth rate slightly dipped last year; Denver’s total population is quickly approaching 700,000. Although some of this population boost can be ascribed to Denver’s birthing rate (which is actually slowing), over 60 percent of the city’s growth from 2015 to 2016 came from people moving to Denver from elsewhere. Rural areas surrounding Denver are also feeling the effects of the recent population proliferation. The nearby city of Broomfield was ranked as the fifth-fastest-growing county in the nation in 2015, and recent census data also estimated the population of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan statistical area to be nearly 2.9 million—ranking it 15th among metro areas nationally. Although this influx of new residents is causing home values across the Denver metro area to soar, a recently imposed $450 million property tax cut (which may also sound great for current homeowners in the area) is having unintended consequences—namely via crippling rural fire departments already struggling to stay afloat.
Moreover, Regis students will no doubt feel the effects of rapid growth in the Denver metro area as well, especially when trying to find housing. With gentrification already consuming Denver neighborhoods (I’m looking at you Highlands), Regis students will continue to be tasked with trying to locate a nearby living space which is even remotely affordable. Also, as the surrounding area continues to burgeon, the University itself can certainly expect an inpouring of new students. In order to accommodate a significant amount of potential scholars, Regis will undoubtedly need to expand its current infrastructure; increasing parking near campus and creating additional classroom space.
Thus, even after examining the facts, I’m left to wonder, is Denver really becoming too big for its britches? Well, considering the city is still a few million people shy of New York City’s population, I’d say we’ll be just fine—at least, for now.