Colorado population growth, fifth highest rate in nation

The U.S. Bureau of the Census 2008 state population estimate shows Colorado’s July 1, 2008, population to be 4,939,456. This is a 96,686 or 2-percent increase from a revised July 1, 2007, estimate of 4,842,770. The state’s April 1, 2000, revised census count was 4,302,019.

Colorado’s 2-percent growth rate for this 12-month period ranks fifth. The fastest growing states for the year were: Utah (2.5 percent), Arizona (2.3 percent), North Carolina (2 percent), and Texas (2 percent). Colorado ranks ninth in total growth and seventh in percentage growth over the eight-year period since the census in 2000. The growth rate of 2 percent over the year for Colorado has been the consistent since 2005. Colorado is expected to grow at a slower rate of 1.6 percent the coming year.

Since Census 2000, the West, followed closely by the South, was the fastest growing region of the country, growing overall at 12.1 percent compared to the U.S. at 8 percent. Between 2007 and 2008 the West grew slightly faster than the South 1.4 vs. 1.3.

The U. S. Bureau of the Census estimates that of Colorado’s increase in population of 96,686 was due to a natural increase (births minus deaths) of 44,258 and 52,398 in net migration.

The Census Bureau estimates for 2008 and revisions from 2001-2007 include methodology changes regarding international migration estimates and changes in domestic migration methodology. These changes decreased Colorado’s 2007 estimate by around a cumulative 20,000 since 2001. For more information, see the Census Bureau Estimates Web site at www.census.gov/popest/topics/methodology/.

The State Demography Office produces a different set of population estimates from the Census Bureau estimates. We use similar methods and data sources to produce population estimates, but we differ in a two key areas. First, we begin with a different Census count. Our adjusted Census 2000 population base for the state is 11,537 higher than the Census Bureau count. This is due to areas of undercount where counties challenged the Census count but the numbers were not reflected in the final count. Majority of the undercount were in rural mountain areas where housing units were missed.

Second, due to our estimates review process with local governments, we adjust county totals to reflect new or additional information. We do not maintain a “state control” total. We allow the state total to fluctuate with the new information rather than scaling up or down the remaining counties. As of July 2007, the State Demography Office population estimate was about 95,000 (2.0 percent) higher than the Census Bureau for the same year. We review housing unit and population data with local governments from January through September and will release our state, county and municipal estimates in October.

For more information, see our Web site at www.dola.state.co.us/dlg/demog/index.html.