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Park County questions 2000 census results

Brief by Central Staff

Demography – May 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

The official 2000 numbers from the 2000 census are starting to trickle out, and there weren’t many surprises, except in Park County.

There the Census count was 14,523, more than double the 1990 tally of 7,174.

But that’s too low, according to two county officials. Assessor Dave Wissel said there were 14,000 residential structures in Park County, and so “20,000 is a much closer number.”

Barb Pasco, the county clerk, agreed. There are 11,703 registered voters in Park County, she said, so “How can we have only 14,000 [residents]? What happened to all the children? I know we have more people than this.”

Custer County’s estimates of about 4,000 were higher than the official count of 3,503, but County Administrator Rick Ferron said he believed “those 2000 figures are pretty darned close.”

Elsewhere in Central Colorado, Bonanza in Saguache County is officially the smallest of Colorado’s 269 municipalities, with 14 residents — down from 16 in 1990, when Lakeside was the smallest with 11. (Lakeside is essentially the amusement park and shopping center park on the west side of Denver, the state’s largest city with 554,636 residents.)

Park County, with a 102.4% increase in population in the decade, was the state’s third-fastest growing county. Custer, at 81.9% was seventh. The state grew by 30.6% overall, which is about the rate that Lake and Chaffee counties grew.

If you want to get away from people and growth, and still live in the mountains, you might check out Rio Blanco County (Meeker), where the population dropped from 6,051 to 5,896; Jackson County (Walden), from 1,605 to 1,577; or San Juan County (Silverton), from 745 to 558. Mineral County (Creede) grew by 48.9%, but it still had only 831 residents in 2000, and that’s a considerable drop from 1900, when it had 1,913 people.

We’ve got more census data with the Letter from the Editors that starts on page 13.