Colorado's population growth rate may have peaked but expected to continue to rise

Dec 26, 2016

Credit 50states.com

Colorado has been among the top 10 fastest-growing states in the country over the past few years, but a Census Bureau report shows that the growth rate slowed a bit in 2016.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, just over 91,000 people moved to Colorado from July 2015 to July 2016, down slightly from the same period in 2015 when about 100,000 people moved there.

State Demographer Elizabeth Garner told Colorado Public Radio that it’s likely the state has reached its peak growth but that she expects the state’s population to continue to rise in the coming years, but likely at a much more moderate rate.

A drop in oil prices had an impact on Colorado’s economy and because population is tied to job growth, the impact on the oil industry had an impact on the state’s population growth, but Garner said growth in business and health services offset some of those losses in the job market.

“I think we can say that we are diversified," Garner said. "Or at least a lot more than we have been historically. The downturn in the oil and gas industry has really impacted a lot of other states and Colorado has weathered it well.”

Two-thirds of Colorado’s population comes from migrants, the majority of which are younger and whiter than the rest of the state’s population, Garner said.

The population boom is nothing new to Colorado, which saw a growth rate double what it is today in the 1990s. Since then, the population in Colorado went from around 3.5 million to 5 million.

Garner estimates that number to reach close to 8 million in the next 20 to 25 years.