Apr 10, 2023 - News

New census figures show where Colorado grew amid the pandemic

Change in Colorado population, 2020 to 2022
Data: U.S. Census. Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Weld and Elbert counties on the outreaches of the Denver metro area continue to show the fastest growth in the metro area, new census figures show.

Driving the news: Denver, Jefferson, and Boulder counties saw their populations dip 1% or less as all other metro counties grew from 2020 to 2022, an Axios analysis found.

  • Weld, home to Greeley, saw its population increase by 5.7%, while Elbert on the southeastern edge grew by 6.1%.

Why it matters: The new census numbers show how Colorado changed in the first two years of the pandemic.

The big picture: The state's population increased to 5.84 million in 2022, a roughly 1% bump compared to 2020. The percentage growth is the 18th-largest in the U.S. over that time period.

  • Eight of the 10 fastest-growing counties in Colorado by percentage were rural, led by San Juan and Custer, both with a 13% increase.
  • Twenty counties saw population declines of 1% or more.

What they're saying: "Within the state as a whole, the growth in 2021 and 2022 was slower than we had anticipated," state demographer Elizabeth Garner told the Denver Post.

What to watch: "We are projecting faster growth (in coming years) — really on this idea that we've got job growth," she added. "We need workers. We will attract those workers to the state."


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