As the U.S. Census Bureau continues to release information about the 2020 Census, a few statistics are becoming clear about the growth of Colorado, and the growth of Chaffee County.
First, as reported in our first 2020 Census story, Colorado is one of the country’s growth states, experiencing a 14.8 percent increase in population from 2010 to 2020. In fact, Colorado is one of only ten states and the District of Columbia that grew by 10 percent or more.
Second, the data shows that Colorado’s growth isn’t just natural population growth; we are a state where people want to live and work and play, and like many other western states, we continue to see inbound migration.
2010 2020 Growth %
5,029,196 5,773,714 744,518 14.8
Chaffee County Continues to Grow
Over the ten years from 2010 to 2020, Chaffee County saw its population grow by 1,667 people, a 9.4 percent increase over the course of the decade. That places it 26th in growth among Colorado’s 64 counties and gives the county a density of 19.2 people per square mile.
This places the county at the top of the 5.0 – 9.9 percent growth category, not the highest in the state, but nowhere near the lowest, or in the negative growth range; as has happened in some eastern Colorado counties:
Census Population % +/-
2020 19,476 +9.4%
Colorado Housing Has Not Kept Up with Population Growth
The census data reveals another disturbing piece of data: while the state’s population has grown 14.8 percent, the state’s housing stock has lagged considerably behind — growing by only 12.6 percent.
Chaffee County ranks 28th in the state (among 64 counties) for a total number of housing units.
That 2.2 percent growth gap is not the only factor affecting the workforce housing shortage in the central Colorado mountains, but it surely does not help.
Colorado Housing units: 2,491,404
Colorado housing vacancy rate 9.4%
A sample of Central Mountain counties:
Chaffee County housing units 10,921
Fremont County housing units 20,243
Lake County housing units 4,303
Custer County housing units 4,175
Saguache County housing units 3,739
Park County housing units 14,112
Summit County housing units 31,342
Eagle County housing units 32,967