09.20.19

If you’re from another state, you might be a Coloradan

Despite the frequency with which “Native” T-shirts and bumper stickers can be spotted around town — and passing over the fact that the real natives of this land are indigenous peoples — fewer than half of Boulder County residents are from anywhere near here.

A full 55% of the population in 2017 was born in another state. Less than a third were born in Colorado — numbers not much changed from a decade ago.

The truth is, transplants make up much of our fair towns, transplants like Malik Salsberry, who moved here in November 2018 as part of the Americorps program. Salsberry works at Boulder Food Rescue, helping to tackle the area’s food insecurity.

As with many recent arrivals, how long Salsberry plans to remain in Boulder will be determined by his housing situation. Right now, he’s a resident of Ingram Co-Op, which affords him rent, food and other common household items (bought in bulk) for $800 a month, roughly two-thirds of his monthly salary through Americorps.

It’s not a sustainable solution, long-term, if Salsberry wants to have a family or pursue his dream of a small farm. He plans to “stay for a few years” and then return to his native Iowa.

Such turnover is common. In any given year over the past decade, 11-13% of Boulder County’s population moved from another county, state or country. The same proportion move within Boulder County, according to Census data.

“Co-housing is one of the few reasons I can live here,” Salsberry said. “If you want people who really want to do good, you have to recognize that the good work goes unpaid or underpaid.”

by Shay Castle