Jul 14, 2022 - News

What the latest census numbers tell us about Colorado, in 4 maps

 Illustration of people's silhouettes made from US Census questions.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Colorado saw an increase in minority populations and growth toward the outer reaches of the Denver metro area in 2021, compared to the prior year.

State of play: The 2020 census offered a look at how Colorado changed over the last decade, and new figures released this month provide a snapshot of where the state is going.

What to know: How the state is shifting is captured in four maps that look at population, housing growth and demographics.

Change in population estimate in Colorado, by county
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Note: Labeled counties have the largest change for those with population over 10k; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

In a year's time, the Denver metro area held relatively stable in terms of population estimates, the data shows.

By the numbers: What's remarkable is how we're migrating to more open spaces. Weld and Douglas counties added about 9,000 people, and Elbert saw growth too.

Percentage change in housing units, by county
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Map: Erin Davis/Axios

The population increase roughly mirrors where new housing units are popping up.

By the numbers: Weld and Elbert counties saw the largest percentage gains beyond the Denver metro, followed by Douglas and Adams.

  • Chaffee County in the mountains and El Paso, home to Colorado Springs, also saw slight gains.
Change in Colorado population by race/ethnicity
U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Skye Witley/Axios

The state's fastest-growing demographics over the last 12 months were native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander groups, which ticked up 4.3%.

By the numbers: Continuing a broader national trend from the 2020 census, people listing two or more races also saw an increase. In Colorado, that population rose 2.6%.

  • The white population remained steady, while other minority communities saw small gains.
Change in median age, by county
Note: Labeled counties have the largest change for those with populations over 10k; Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

The Denver metro remains youthful compared to the rest of the state

By the numbers: The median age in Denver is 35.1, a slight uptick from a year earlier.

  • Adams County is even younger, with a median age of 34.8.
  • Meanwhile, the mountains and Western Slope are getting slightly older — a sign of retirees moving in.
Number of births per death, by county
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Map: Erin Davis/AxiosVisuals

Much of Colorado saw more deaths than births in 2021 compared to 2020, a sign of the broader toll of COVID-19 on older populations.

By the numbers: But natural increases in population were most evident in mountain counties, including Eagle, Pitkin, Summit, Lake and Grand, as well as booming Weld County.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more