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Is Colorado losing its shine? Census data shows slowing population growth

DENVER (KDVR) — The country may have hit and passed “Peak Colorado.”

Census data paints a picture of Colorado as a high-growth state, and that had been broadly true in the 2010s.

Colorado’s population exploded through the 2010s, peaking with a nearly 100,000-person gain in 2015. Throughout the decade, it grew at one of the nation’s fastest rates. Only half a dozen states had bigger population booms.

With the population growth came transportation infrastructure overload and demand for housing that pushed ownership and rental prices into the stratosphere.

New analysis from the state demography office says Colorado’s massive population growth peaked, however. Despite the pandemic-era homebuying frenzy, Colorado’s population growth rate and the number of people moving in have both slowed to levels not seen in decades.

Colorado’s population metrics have all been falling in the latter 2010s.

Colorado’s population grew by 27,700 in 2021, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2015, the state added 98,939 people in total. This is a combination of births, deaths, people moving into the state and people moving out.

The state clocked smaller yearly population gains throughout the back half of the 2010s, however. Each year saw roughly 10,000-15,000 fewer than the year before.

At 0.5% annual growth, 2021 Colorado saw the slowest yearly population growth rate since 1989. As with the total population, that growth has been slowing annually since 2015.

A big part of the reason is that fewer people are moving into the Centennial State. The total number of people who moved into Colorado also reached a low point in 2021.

In 2015, nearly 70,000 people made Colorado their new home, the highest net migration total since 2000. That number started falling after 2015, too. In 2021, it sank to an estimated 14,700 newcomers – the lowest net migration in 15 years.