FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: A Majority of Young People are Rent-Burdened Across Colorado and Support Overturning the Ban on Rent Control

March 13, 2023
New Era Colorado

DATE: Monday, March 13, 2023 at 10 a.m. 

CONTACT: Camila Navarrette,, 323-423-5898

A Majority of Young People are Rent-Burdened Across Colorado and Support Overturning the Ban on Rent Control 

DENVER, CO – Today, New Era Colorado, a nonpartisan nonprofit that leads the nation in engaging young people in the political process, released findings from a survey that demonstrate that young Coloradans are struggling with the cost of rent and support rent control policies; New Era also published a map that demonstrates the scale of the rent burden on young people in Colorado. 

“Young people are saying loud and clear (and Governor Polis agrees) that rent is too damn high in Colorado,” said Nicole Hensel, executive director of New Era Colorado. “This survey shows that young people across the state increasingly can’t afford to live here—giving up careers, families, and futures in Colorado. Young people deserve to live where their lives are.” 

The online survey, conducted by Generation Lab between February 10 – 16, 2023 with 506 young people (18-34 years old) in Colorado. Survey recipients were drawn from Generation Lab’s General Youth Panel and Higher Education Panel Results and weighted by gender, race, ethnicity, education, and voter registration to match the characteristics of Colorado’s 18-34-year-old population based on data from the Census Bureau. The survey found the high cost of rent seriously affects young people’s current and future financial security

  • Almost half of young people sacrificed health care services to make rent (24% forgone medical appointments, 19% forgone behavioral health appointments). 
  • Over 1 in 3 (34%) of young people skipped groceries to pay for rent.
  • High rents stop 1 in 4 (26%) young people from pursuing a higher education degree 
  • Almost 2 in 5 (38%) young people plan to leave the state to find cheaper, more stable housing. 

The results also found that young people in Colorado overwhelmingly support policies that stabilize and lower the price of rents.

  • Almost 8 in 10 (81%) young people support giving local governments the option to place limits on how much landlords can raise rent each year, including almost half of young Republicans (48%). 
  • 9 in 10 (91%) young people support rent stabilization policies that would ensure renters have reasonable, predictable rents, including 68% of young Republicans. 

“Young adults are especially hard hit by outrageous rent prices charged by some greedy corporate landlords. When four out of 10 young people say they won’t be able to stay in the communities they grew up in because they can’t afford housing, we have a real problem,” said Carmen Medrano, the co-chair of Colorado Homes for All. “The Local Control of Rents bill will allow local officials to create additional tools to ensure that people just starting out in life can afford to live where their lives are.”

New Era Colorado also recently published a map to demonstrate how much young people are spending on rent, in proportion to their income, across the state. The map elevates high cost areas and regions where policy reform is desperately needed. Findings include:

  • Of Colorado’s ten counties with the highest number of young renters, at least 40% of young renters pay unaffordable rent (defined as costing more than 30% of someone’s income), including: 
    • 3 in 5 (60%) of young households in Boulder county
    • Over half of young households (52%) in El Paso county
    • 2 in 5 (42%) of young households in Denver county
  • In 17 of Colorado’s 64 counties, at least 1 in 2 young households pay unaffordable rent. 
  • In the eight counties that have the highest percentage of young people of color, seven have at least 40% of households paying unaffordable rent.

“It’s clear that almost every elected official has a constituency that is impacted by the high cost of rent,” said Natasha Berwick, political director at New Era Colorado. “Young people turned out in record levels in 2022 so our elected leaders can pass policy solutions to allow young people to afford a stable home to put down roots and get involved in our communities. If we want to save Coloradans money, we need rent relief.”

Methodology: The map is informed by the American Community Survey 5 Year Estimates, 2019-2021.  The demographic data used in this map comes from the US Census Bureau’s Annual County Resident Population Estimates, 2020-2021.

About New Era Colorado: New Era Colorado is a grassroots and nonpartisan nonprofit that organizes and mobilizes young people to participate in the political process.