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Survey: Colorado Springs population bullish on city, though young adults less so

December 19, 2017 Updated: December 21, 2017 at 6:14 am
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A rainbow hangs in the evening sky above downtown Colorado Springs Saturday, July 6, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

The people of Colorado Springs apparently are a positive bunch.

Residents are largely satisfied with the city and optimistic about the future, says a survey by Elevated Insights, a local market research firm.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents rank their satisfaction with the city as 8 or higher on a scale of 10.

Of more than 1,000 people surveyed, 73 percent say it's somewhat or very likely they'll be here in five years.

Not so with 18- to 29-year-olds, who are significantly less likely to still be here in five years, the survey says.

So the survey tells "a tale of two cities," Elevated Insights President Debbie Balch said.

The way to keep young adults? "You have jobs for them," Mayor John Suthers said.

Survey respondents also gave the city opportunities to improve.

Residents often go to Denver for shopping and entertainment; 89 percent of residents traveled to Denver over the past three months to fly out of Denver International Airport, shop or dine, among other reasons.

"Retaining this economic loss could be a significant boon to the city's economic activity and development," the survey states.

Among other findings:

- Despite its conservative reputation, the Springs is politically diverse, with roughly 30 percent identifying as conservative, 30 percent liberal and 40 percent with "movable middle" viewpoints.

Suthers was skeptical of that finding.

"That's not an accurate picture," he said, pointing to other polls showing a 60/40 conservative-liberal split.

- Also contrary to the Springs' reputation, it has a slightly lower percentage of Christians than the nation (46 percent vs. 49 percent) and a higher percentage of atheists/agnostics (23 percent vs. 18 percent.) Sixty-five percent regard religion as fairly important or very important, compared with 75 percent nationally.

- In a positive sign for advocates of recreational pot sales in Colorado Springs, a question expected on a 2018 ballot measure, 49 percent support legal recreational marijuana, 34 percent oppose it and 16 percent are neutral.

Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 60 percent favor it.

Residents also view pot's effects more favorably than those of alcohol, electronic smoking and all tobacco use.

- The average commute to work is 21.4 minutes, compared with 25.1 minutes in Denver County and the national average of 26.1 minutes.

- Eighty-two percent of residents use social media in a typical week. Facebook rules, with 79 percent using it compared with 68 percent nationwide. Second is Instagram, with 42 percent vs. 28 percent nationwide. And reflecting a continuing dramatic transformation in TV viewing habits, 74 percent use streaming services in a typical week.

- Local consumer confidence is 24 percent higher than the national average.

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