(NEXSTAR) — When you think of the heart of Colorado, maybe you think of its capital, Denver. Geographically speaking, maybe you think of the area slightly west of Colorado Springs or even Breckenridge.
Surprisingly, the center of Colorado’s population isn’t exactly close to any of these.
Since the first census in 1790, the U.S. Census Bureau has been calculating the “center of population” in the country. This is a point where an imaginary, flat, weightless, and rigid map of the U.S. would balance perfectly if everyone were of identical weight. It is the average location of where people in the U.S. live, according to the Census Bureau.
Data from the 2020 census found Hartville, Missouri, is the “heart” of America. Since 1980, Missouri towns have been the population centers, but the first-ever center in 1790 was in Maryland, just east of Baltimore.
In addition to calculating the center of population for the U.S., the Census Bureau is also able to calculate the “heart” of each state, including Colorado.
Based on the latest census, Colorado’s center of population is located at 39° 32′ 05″N 105° 11′ 07″W. That lands in a wooded area along Deer Creek Road in the Deer Creek Canyon area of Jefferson County, about 10 miles west of Columbine.
You can see the center of Colorado’s current population on the interactive map here:
The spot is not far from Fantasy Balloons, a balloon ride tour agency with a Littleton address. The municipality has a population of just under 45,000, Census data shows.
This is the farthest north Colorado’s center has been since the Census first tracked it in 1880.
That year, it was located at 39° 5′ 30.669″ N 105° 32′ 52.9998″ W, north of the La Salle Pass (which is the furthest west Colorado’s center has ever been). In the decades after, the center point moved east, then west, then northeast, before taking a larger step east to the Perry Park area in 1920.
By 1950, Census data shows that point moved north. Since then, it has largely remained in the same area. Regardless of its movement, the center of Colorado’s population has remained in the mountains.
You can view the progress of Colorado’s population center in the interactive map below.
It’s too soon to tell where Colorado’s next population center will be in 2030, though it will likely shift again.