While the U.S. government prepares to conduct its census later this year, work by the Colorado State Demographers office foreshadows findings for Pitkin County and the region.
Pitkin County’s population increased 4% from the time of the last census in 2010 to July 2018, according to the state demographer. The population was 17,882 in 2018, according to the demographer’s estimate. The population was 17,156 in 2010.
Stricter growth controls and an extremely tight and expensive housing market limited Pitkin County’s growth more than other mountain resort counties. Eagle County grew 5.1% between 2010 and July 2018, the report showed. Its population was estimated at 54,863 in July 2018. It was 52,057 in the last federal census.
Summit County grew faster than Pitkin or Eagle at 9.4%. Its population was estimated at 30,974 in July 2018. At the beginning of the decade it was at 28,073.
The Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, a voluntary association that works for the benefit of county and municipal governments in northwest Colorado, analyzed the state demographer’s report for a regional perspective. The region’s total population is reported at 120,592. That’s growth of 6.3% from 2010.
“Given the apparent explosion in people in our region over recent years evident in increased traffic and crowds, this may seem impossibly low,” the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments said. “However, the state of Colorado as a whole grew 11.5 percent over the last eight years, and this population growth statewide greatly influences our regional population in that our region is a very popular place for people statewide to recreate.”
The state demographer’s office unveiled its most recent population estimates Nov. 1. Northwest Colorado Council of Governments did its analysis for the region in December.
Aspen was responsible for Pitkin County’s growth over the eight years. Aspen had 6,659 residents in the 2010 census. That increased to 7,385 by July 2018, according to the state demographer. The increase of 726 people represented 9.8% growth in Aspen’s population.
Elsewhere in the county, the portion of Basalt in Pitkin County grew by an estimated 45 residents over the eight years. That was offset by losses of population in Snowmass Village and unincorporated Pitkin County.
In the region as a whole, millennials have overtaken baby boomers in numbers, according to Northwest Colorado Council of Governments. Millennials, ages 23 to 28, comprised 28% of the regional population. Boomers, ages 55 to 73, came in at 22%, according to the analysis.
“Millennials are most likely attracted to the region given the abundant amenities, including outdoor recreation, entertainment options and high quality of life,” NWCCOG said. “Millennials tend to choose ‘place’ first before ‘where the job is.’”
In Pitkin County, baby boomers outnumber millennials 28% to 24%, respectively. Gen Xers are a distant third at 21%.
Elsewhere in the Roaring Fork Valley, Carbondale has effectively captured the eyes of people of all ages who want an outdoor lifestyle. Carbondale’s population grew to 6,883 in July 2018 from 6,395 in 2010.
Glenwood Springs grew to 10,024 from 9,571 over the eight-year period.
Basalt, which is divided between Eagle and Pitkin counties, grew to 4,154 in July 2018 from 3,849 in 2010, according to the state demographer’s office.