The healthiest residents on average are concentrated in the nine-county corridor from Colorado Springs to Denver and up to Fort Collins. No surprise to most Coloradoans, this is also where the greatest concentration of Colorado jobs and wealth lies. The strongest correlation in regional disparity tends to follow that region’s socio-economic status, but there are others. Geographic access to healthcare in urban vs. rural communities is another big regional disparity in Colorado for health outcomes.


Southern Colorado and southeaster Colorado in particular suffer from some of the least accessible healthcare services and among the worst health outcomes. The City and County of Denver, with its large, diverse and mixed income population, tends to hover right around the state average for health outcomes. Yet, the dense urban setting makes it easier for residents of all income backgrounds to access services compared to their rural counterparts. You can see a complete county-by-county breakdown of health rankings from County Health Rankings.


Healthy Colorado Comes at a Cost

Summit County and the surrounding mountain resort towns are an unusual case for the healthcare system. Typically, the healthier the population is the lower the average healthcare costs per capita and thus lower health insurance premiums. Not so with this area of the state, as this news article from The Denver Post helps explain.


The geographic remoteness of the interior Rocky Mountains, coupled with the mile-high property values of these resort towns, has a lot to do with it. A health-conscious populace that actively seeks out health services is another thing state healthcare experts are pointing to. You can certainly find numerous health clinics and medical practices in Colorado’s mountain towns and ski resort areas in particular, but a lot of doctors and nurses would also prefer to be on the slopes rather than in the office. Likewise, many of the seasonal workers, resort employees, and other local service workers tend to struggle the most with affording to go to the doctor when they need it.


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