Southern Colorado Sees Population Growth In El Paso County, Decreases In Most Plains Counties

August 24, 2021
FOUNTAIN-WATER-MES-1FOUNTAIN-WATER-MES-1Michael Elizabeth Sakas
A row of new homes still under construction in Colorado Springs, May 24, 2021. From 2010 to 2020, El Paso County grew by some 17.4 percent, adding more than 100,000 people.

Like the state as a whole, the population in parts of southeastern Colorado grew more than the national average, according to the state demographer’s 2020 census tables released earlier this month. But other areas in the region lost residents.

El Paso County grew by some 17.4 percent, adding more than 100,000 people between 2010 and 2020. But out on the eastern plains Bent County’s population shrank by about 13 percent during the same time. Those two counties experienced some of the largest percent changes in the region. They're also emblematic of population trends in this part of the state, showing growth in urban areas and most plains counties shrinking.

Like other rural communities, Bent County’s population is small compared to the urban centers. It’s home to less than 6,000 residents, so a shift of several hundred people results in a high percentage change. Also some rural counties, especially in the San Luis Valley, had low census response rates, so some residents may not have been counted.

Most of the counties in the region are showing decreases in the percentage of youth aged 17 and under, with the exception of El Paso and Kiowa counties, which showed increases of 5.5 percent and 10.5 percent respectively. Kiowa county had 1446 residents in 2020, which included 33 more children than in 2010.

Region/County2010 Population2020 PopulationChangeChange Percent
Southern Front Range661,819772,495110,67616.7%
El Paso622,263730,395108,13217.4%
Park16,20617,3901,1847.3%
Teller23,35024,7101,3605.8%
Central Eastern Plains38,65940,5721,9134.9%
Cheyenne1,8361,748-88-4.8%
Elbert23,08626,0622,97612.9%
Kit Carson8,2707,087-1,183-14.3%
Lincoln5,4675,6752083.8%
Southern Eastern Plains48,89047,213-1,677-3.4%
Baca3,7883,506-282-7.4%
Bent6,4995,650-849-13.1%
Crowley5,8235,922991.7%
Kiowa1,3981,446483.4%
Otero18,83118,690-141-0.7%
Prowers12,55111,999-552-4.4%
Pueblo159,063168,1629,0995.7%
San Luis Valley46,02746,108810.2%
Alamosa15,44516,3769316.0%
Conejos8,2567,461-795-9.6%
Costilla3,5243,499-25-0.7%
Mineral71286515321.5%
Rio Grande11,98211,539-443-3.7%
Saguache6,1086,3682604.3%
Central Mountains76,19880,5554,3575.7%
Chaffee17,80919,4761,6679.4%
Custer4,2554,70444910.6%
Fremont46,82448,9392,1154.5%
Lake7,3107,4361261.7%
Southern Mountains22,21821,375-843-3.8%
Huerfano6,7116,8201091.6%
Las Animas15,50714,555-952-6.1%

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