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The Big Empty

Article by Martha Quillen

Population – April 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

You wake up late, and look out your window — but no one is out there. There’s not a car or a pedestrian in sight. You live in a small town, however, so that doesn’t seem particularly unusual — until you leave your house to get a cup of coffee.

Then you find out that nothing is open. Not a single restaurant, gas station, or convenience store is open. And no one is home, either. Panicked, you jump into your car and head toward the next town.

You’re far too relieved when you sight several other cars on the highway to note that none of them have local plates. But when you arrive in the next town, the story is the same. Every man, woman, and child has left.

Are you caught in the Outer Limits? Or the Twilight Zone? Or far worse, are you starting upon a horrifying adventure worthy of Stephen King? You keep asking yourself, “Where could so many people go?”

Yet actually, they could have gone any number of places.


Because there are fewer than 50,000 people in Central Colorado.

To give you an idea of how our population compares, we offer the following numbers. Remember, statistics don’t lie, but liars use statistics. Therefore, we admit that we haven’t the foggiest notion of what these numbers mean.


The population of central Colorado as it appears on our map — 38,000.

Coors Field will seat 50,000.

In 1993, one event in Denver drew a crowd more than ten times larger than our entire population. Nearly 400,000 people attended the mass given by Pope John Paul, and at that event, 63,000 World Youth Day participants were treated for heat stroke.

Although few of us might want to — all of us could easily fit into Denver’s school buildings. In 1994, 62,673 students were registered in the Denver County school district.

The place in Colorado closest in population to the region covered by Colorado Central is Loveland with a population of 37,352 in the 1990 census.

The largest city in our region has fewer than 5,500 people.

There were 53,968 babies born in Colorado in 1991.

The country closest in population to the Central Colorado region is the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis with a population of 40,293. The Federation covers 101 square miles, whereas Central Colorado covers approximately 8,000 square miles.