Coloradans are hopeful of a strong economic recovery from the pandemic, but the cost of living in the meantime gives them a sinking feeling, according to a poll released this week by the Colorado Health Foundation.
The annual poll found renewed financial insecurity in areas from housing to health care.
“When we know more about what Coloradans are thinking, feeling and experiencing, we can better advocate for their health and well-being,” Karen McNeill-Miller, president and CEO of The Colorado Health Foundation, said in a statement. “Since the pandemic began, so many of us have had to face challenges we never expected, and Pulse shows us who has been hit hardest: women of color trying to balance child care and their countless other responsibilities, families living on low income struggling to keep a roof over their heads or food on their table and workers facing anxiety and depression after job loss.
"These are the Coloradans we should be focused on supporting for the long term.”
Fears about the overall economy have eased over the last year. For instance, 63% of those polled said jobs were a serious problem last year, but this year the number fell to 44% .
On the other hand, 73% considered cost of living an extremely or very serious problem, up from 63% a year ago.
Concerns are even higher in the minority community: 83% of Hispanic respondents were concerned about the high cost of living, followed by 81% of Black respondents.
Housing was the biggest worry cited by 82%, which is 15% higher than in 2020, including 21% who said they were concerned about losing their home because they can't afford their rent or mortgage.
A whopping 44% of people with an annual household income of less than $50,000 were concerned about losing their residence.
Those surveyed also said they are struggling to pay more for food, health care and child care. The poll suggested 24% of Coloradans living on low incomes said they have skipped meals and 49% had postponed medical or dental care.
Twenty-four percent said they can't find affordable child care, including 49% of low-income parents and 31% of parents of color.
Not surprisingly, the stress is taking a toll.
Sixty-nine percent cited higher anxiety, which included 52% who said they were depressed. Twenty-nine percent said they had sought professional help as a result.
The foundation's annual Pulse poll is conducted by FM3 Research, a Democratic firm. and New Bridge Strategy, which typically works with Republicans.
“It’s been a difficult year, and most Coloradans are feeling it. Still, few sought the help of a trained professional, raising questions about the availability of those services,” said Dave Metz, the president of FM3 Research. “Given such widespread reports of mental health strain, it’s no surprise that Coloradans overwhelmingly support providing more state-funded mental health and substance use services.”
The survey included 2,500 adults, a relatively huge representative sample size. Coloradans were contacted by postcard, telephone calls, text messages and emails in English and Spanish from July 27 to Aug. 16. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.7%.
Read the poll by clicking here.