BY. KRISTEN BECKMAN
Colorado has much to offer in the way of natural beauty. Snow-capped mountains dominate the landscape and provide breathtaking views far to the east on the Colorado plains, including from Denver and its surrounding areas. The state also has a pioneering spirit passed down from bygone generations of gold miners and homesteaders who first settled Denver and its surrounding areas. That rugged toughness is tempered with a friendly and optimistic attitude that welcomes visitors and newcomers.
Perhaps that positive outlook is a result of all the good things Denver and its suburbs to the south have going for them, including low crime, higher than average salaries, great opportunities for education and abundant access to health care. Or maybe it’s all that vitamin D: Colorado boasts more than 300 sunny days per year. Denver’s economy and business environment has enjoyed a boom for nearly the past decade, attracting a large influx of young transplants to the area. The areas surrounding Denver have benefitted from similar growth and prosperity, especially the south metro area, which is home to its own thriving business districts and a growing suburban population that values the outdoors, seeks active recreational pursuits, and focuses on health and wellbeing.
Once you’ve spent time in South Metro Denver, you’ll have no problem finding numerous reasons to stay. Denver and the South Metro Denver area are frequently recognized by national surveys as a great place to live. The city was named by U.S. News & World Report as the second-best place to live among 100 metro areas in the United States based on quality of life, the local job market and people’s desire to live there.
The South Metro Denver area is made up of four counties: Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson. Arapahoe county is the state’s third largest county with a population of nearly 650,000 people living and working in 805 square miles of area ranging from urban to rural. Littleton is the county seat of Arapahoe County, which was named for the Arapaho Indians who occupied Colorado before it became a state. Arapahoe County includes the incorporated communities of Aurora, Bennett, Bow Mar, Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, Columbine Valley, Deer Trail, Englewood, Foxfield, Glendale, Greenwood Village, Littleton and Sheridan. There are nine school districts within the county and more than 350 local improvement and special service districts. Arapahoe County offers a variety of attractive residential choices and a moderate cost of living. Residents enjoy excellent parks, greenbelts and trail systems, superior public services and an inviting quality of life. Denver, a consolidated city-county, is the 19th most populous city in the United States with a population of more than 700,000. In 2016, Denver was named the best place to live in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. Neighborhoods in the southern portion of Denver include University Park, Harvey Park and Southmoor.
Douglas County is situated to the southeast of Denver and includes 843 square miles of land, much of which is dedicated to open space and recreation. Five incorporated municipalities make up Douglas County, including Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Larkspur, Lone Tree and Parker. Douglas County is recognized as being one of the friendliest communities in Colorado and ranks as one of the happiest counties in the United States with low jobless rates and high health behavior rankings. More than 300,000 residents call Douglas County home. Douglas County recently was named the healthiest county in Colorado for the third consecutive year based on factors such as education, obesity rates, tobacco use, exercise and access to health care. The county has ranked in the top two healthiest Colorado counties since 2011 and ranked second only to Falls Church, Virginia, in a survey of the country’s healthiest communities. To the west and southwest of Denver is Jefferson County, home to 550,000 residents. The county includes 774 square miles of land. Communities in the southern portion of Jefferson County include Littleton, Lakewood and Ken Caryl. Once an agricultural and mining area, Jefferson County is now a thriving suburban, business, industrial, recreational and residential community whose residents make their homes everywhere from suburban communities to mountain tops.