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/County||2010 Population||2020 Population||Change||Change Percent|
|Southern Front Range||661,819||772,495||110,676||16.7%|
|Central Eastern Plains||38,659||40,572||1,913||4.9%|
|Southern Eastern Plains||48,890||47,213||-1,677||-3.4%|
|San Luis Valley||46,027||46,108||81||0.2%|
Southern Colorado is changing a lot these days. We can help you keep up. Sign up for the KRCC Weekly Digest here and get the stories that matter to Southern Colorado, delivered straight to your inbox.