What does the census tell us about ourselves?

Essay by Ed Quillen

Population – April 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

JUST IN CASE you’ve been snowbound in a remote cabin since about October, without access to radio, television, or newspapers, I’ll remind you that the federal government is conducting a census this spring, as it does in April of every year that ends in zero.

The Census Bureau has been advertising heavily for two reasons. For one thing, the current low unemployment rate means that it’s hard to find people to fill those temporary census jobs, and for another, the bureau wants everyone to be counted.

There’s nothing wrong with encouraging people to participate in the census, but the approach bothers me. I like to think of the census as a civic process, one that enables our republic to function in a representative way, among other things.

But the TV ads, along with the pronouncements from various public officials, bear more than a passing resemblance to bribery. Participate in the census, they tell us, and you’ll get more money from Uncle Sam for day care, mass transportation, law enforcement, and the like.

It is true that the federal government relies on census data for doling out pork, but the primary purpose of the census was established in Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

That section establishes the House of Representatives. Before the constitution was amended, the House was the only portion of the federal government elected directly by the people. Until the passage of the 17th amendment in 1913, senators were selected by state legislatures, rather than the direct elections we have now. The President and Vice-President are still formally chosen by the Electoral College, and federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, to serve for life on good behavior. Only one half of one of the three branches of government was directly accountable to the people.

Thus the United States of America, as constituted in 1787, was clearly a republic, not a democracy. It had a democratic feature — the direct election of representatives. It was a union of states, and so there had to be a way to determine how many representatives each state would get.

To get the constitution up and running, the founding fathers made their best guess as to how many representatives each state should get, and then wrote that an “actual Enumeration” would be conducted within three years of ratification, and every 10 years after that.

The first American census was thus taken in 1790, and it has come every decade since then.

And it has always been “political.” This time around, the two parties have been arguing over methodology. Everyone agrees that the census doesn’t reach everybody — homeless people, undocumented aliens, people in neighborhoods where census-takers fear to tread — they often don’t get counted.

But they do reside in a given area and they’re supposed to be counted. The Census Bureau proposed using statistical sampling, and it’s a valid way to get really close to the actual value. But that would enlarge certain populations in areas that tend to vote Democratic (since presumably most of the uncounted population resides in metropolitan and industrial areas that tend to vote Democratic). Thus statistical sampling may produce more congressional districts that might elect Democrats, and the Republican control of the House might be threatened.

Republicans countered that the Constitution calls for an “actual Enumeration,” which means counting noses directly, and so it would be illegal to use statistical sampling. The people who do get counted are more likely to vote Republican than the population that would appear under statistical sampling.

MUCH AS I HATE to agree with the House Republicans, they’re right about this. They’re also hypocrites. There’s not a one of them who doesn’t rely on statistical sampling when his pollsters examine the electorate at campaign time, and they often make their decisions accordingly. If statistical sampling were in valid, why would they trust it for the most important thing in their lives — getting re-elected?

But as I said, the census has always been political. Recall that there were slaves in every state, though mostly in the South, when the constitutional convention met. The New England states, where slaves were rare, were worried that if the census counted slaves, then the South’s population would be higher. The South would send more representatives, giving it more power in the federal government at the expense of New England — at heart, the same dispute as the current one over statistical sampling.

Chart of municipal populations 1890-1998

The founding fathers reached a political compromise. Slaves would be counted by the census, but for the purpose of apportioning representatives, each one would count as only 3/5 of a person. Indentured servants would count as full people, and “Indians not taxed” wouldn’t count at all.

And so the census began, with Colorado first appearing in the 1860 statistics. This seems a bit odd, since Colorado Territory wasn’t formally organized until 1861, a rectangle carved out of Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, and Utah territories. Without boundaries in place, how was the Census Bureau supposed to know who was in Colorado and who wasn’t? My guess is that they had the data from the various census precincts, and when Colorado was organized, the Bureau just added up those precincts for a Colorado population: 34,277.

It hardly grew at all in the next decade, with 39,864 inhabitants in 1870. Then came the railroads and a silver boom: 194,327 in 1880, 413,249 in 1890, and 539,700 a century ago.

THE COLORADO that responded to the 1900 census was distributed differently from today’s. Southern Colorado then had a third of the state’s population; today it has about a tenth. With 28,147 residents, Pueblo was the second largest city in the state — Salida ranked 11th with 3,722 residents, just behind Florence and its 3,728 denizens.

The miner’s pick and hammer on the state seal (until I looked closely a couple of years ago, I had thought they where the miner’s pick and the farmer’s shovel, sort of like the old Soviet emblem of miner’s hammer and farmer’s sickle) reflected the mineral reality of Colorado at the start of the 20th century.

Colorado’s largest cities in 1900

Pueblo, with its smelters and steel mill, was based on mining. Third-place Colorado Springs had been a resort town of 10,000 in 1890; thanks to gold discoveries at Cripple Creek, it more than doubled to 21,085 residents by 1900.

Leadville was Colorado’s fourth-largest city with 12,455 residents, followed by Cripple Creek with 10,147, and neighboring Victor was the eighth-largest city with 4,896 people.

EXCEPT FOR PUEBLO and Colorado Springs, all of today’s top 10 are along the northern Front Range: Aurora, Lakewood (which wasn’t even incorporated until 1969), Fort Collins, Arvada, Westminster…

Just the census numbers tell us how much Colorado has changed from an urban industrial state to a suburban zone, where people live in one place and work in another, and local political boundaries don’t mean all that much — if anybody can figure them out at all.

I recall chatting with Bob Ewegen at the Denver Post once, and he asked me why I didn’t write more about Denver politics. I explained that I didn’t live there, so I really didn’t feel comfortable writing about Denver.

“Hell, that doesn’t bother most people,” he responded. “We get letters all the time about Denver’s actions, and you’ll call the writer to verify the letter, and it turns out they actually live in Sheridan or Aurora or something — and had no idea that they didn’t live in Denver.”

For further illustration of this geographic mishmash, consider the coverage of the Columbine High School tragedy last spring. The school is in a suburban zone that doesn’t really have a name — the closest you can get is “unincorporated Jefferson County.” It got its mail from the Littleton post office, although Littleton is the seat of Arapahoe County. And it’s a realm of franchise restaurants and big-box retailers that resembles thousands of other generic American off-ramp places; little wonder that people couldn’t really identify where this happened.

Colorado’s largest cities in 1998

This is something I want to get back to, but first, there’s the past century’s worth of census counts.

CONSIDER ONE of the farming areas out on the plains, like Kit Carson County. It had only 1,580 people in 1900. It boomed to 7,483 in 1910, and by 1930 it had 9,725 people. Similar figures apply to other High Plains counties: Lincoln, from 926 in 1900 to 8,273 in 1920; Sedgwick, from 971 to 5,580 in 1930; Cheyenne from 501 to 3,746 in 1920.

Yet even as Colorado’s population has grown nearly eight-fold in the past century, all those counties have fewer people now than they did in the 1920s. What happened?

A few wet years meant that dry-farming looked possible. A war in Europe meant high prices for wheat, from 62 cents per bushel in 1900 to $2.19 in 1919. The result was a rush to those counties.

And then the weather turned Dust Bowl dry just as crop prices dropped — wheat was 32 cents a bushel in 1932. People left, often after a foreclosure auction. There’s a similar sequence for the agricultural counties in the San Luis Valley, though the timing is different: Costilla went from 4,632 in 1900 to a peak of 7,533 in 1940; Conejos had 8,794 in 1900 and peaked at 11,641 in 1940; Saguache went from 3,853 to a 1930 peak of 6,250, followed by a decline to 3,827 in 1970. In the past decade, it has grown enough to have a few more people than it did 70 years ago.

Likewise, mining camps boom and bust, and not just for precious metals like gold and base metals like zinc. Las Animas (Trinidad) and Huerfano (Walsenburg) counties both mined coal. Their combined population was 15,411 in 1900. It was 55,854 in 1920. Today it’s 21,812.

Technology changes — people heat their houses with natural gas, railroads run their locomotives with diesel fuel, and improved machinery means fewer miners in coal operations, both above and below ground. Colorado still produces a lot of coal, but most of it comes from strip mines in Routt and Moffat counties.

At any rate, those abandoned farmsteads and shrinking populations in farm country always seem more tragic than the remnants of a mining boom. Miners are by nature rather transient (“tramping” ranks right up there with “stoping” and “tramming” in their lexicon), and they all know the vein will pinch out someday.

The farms, by contrast, were carved out by people who wanted to stay indefinitely, to build something for their children. When they’re forced off by economic and climatic changes, it seems a much greater tragedy than when a mine shuts down.

Go back 20 years to 1980, and much of Central Colorado still revolved around mining. Mostly it was Climax with its 3,000 employees, but there was also the Black Cloud and the Sherman, along with the Monarch Quarry (limestone to make steel in Pueblo) and a lot of uranium promised. Gold was pushing $800 an ounce, and silver $20.

The census reflected this. Lake County had 6,150 residents in 1950 and 8,830 in 1980. Chaffee had likewise grown from 7,168 to 13,227. Then came the bust of 1982 when commodity prices collapsed and the mines and quarries closed. Both counties lost population in the ’80s: Lake to 6,007 in 1990, and Chaffee to 12,684.

THE MINES haven’t reopened, but the population growth has resumed. Custer County has been among the top counties nationally in growth, though that goes by percentages, and when you start with a small base, 1,926 people in 1990, it doesn’t take many people (about 2,000 more since then) to show a huge growth rate.

In general, our mountain counties show a decline from 1900 to 1950, then a slow rise to 1970 or 1980, followed by a decline, then the recent growth of this decade.

I find all this fascinating, and occasionally the census provides information for making business decisions, even on a small local scale. That is, an appliance manufacturer would want to know how many American houses have microwave ovens and perhaps the average age of those appliances in order to plan marketing and production.

County populations through the century

In 1980, I was managing editor of Salida’s daily newspaper, The Mountain Mail. At the time, it was an afternoon paper with an extensive network of delivery people — carriers in town and motor routes outside town.

Those routes were expensive, and they looked to get more expensive as gasoline prices kept rising and supplies looked questionable.

And the census revealed that although Chaffee County’s population had grown from 10,162 in 1970 to 13,227 in 1980, very little of that growth occurred in town. Salida had gained only 525 people, and Buena Vista only 113.

So, you’ve got a daily newspaper which should be delivered that day. Your market area is growing, but mostly out in the county where delivery relies on gasoline that isn’t getting any cheaper.

Merle Baranczyk, the publisher, and I looked hard at those numbers and trends, and decided the best course was to switch the Mail from an afternoon to a morning publication. With a morning paper, printed the night before and delivered to the post office in the wee hours, the Postal Service could insure same-day delivery to the growing population out in the county. And the Postal Service wasn’t about to run out of gasoline.

Thus in early 1981, on the basis of the 1980 census, was a business decision made. Multiply that by thousands or millions, and you can see how important the census is to American commerce — which may explain why the Bureau of the Census is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

But that isn’t why it was constituted. The Founding Fathers wanted to make sure each state got its proper number of representatives. And thus the census is used to determine how many House seats that Colorado gets (six at the moment, but it may gain a seat this time around) and then to draw the lines for the congressional districts (and for the state legislature’s own senate and house districts).

In 1790, and for many decades thereafter, geography mattered a lot more than it does now, in that people who lived near each other necessarily shared certain interests. They grew the same kinds of crops, they mined from the same geologic formations, they used the same routes for marketing, distribution, and communication. Thus a representation based on geography made sense.

This shows in the census reports. I had to drive to the Tutt Library on the Colorado College campus in Colorado Springs to find those reports for 1900 — it’s the nearest federal depository library whose records go that far back. (The Savage Library at Western State College in Gunnison only goes back to 1930.)

The older census reports focus almost entirely on geography, especially political boundaries. The newer the census, the more it focuses on other divisions, like educational status of Hispanic households in a standard metropolitan statistical area that has no formal political boundaries.

And our representatives see themselves less as representing a region that you can see on a map, and more as representatives of constituencies who may be scattered throughout the country.

OUR REPRESENTATIVE, Scott McInnis, isn’t really representing the Third Congressional District in the controversies over public lands use, like the proposed White River National Forest management plan. If he were trying to represent the district, he’d be trying to hammer out a compromise we could all live with. Instead, he sounds like a shill for the motorized recreation lobby — certainly a significant part of this district’s population, but not a defining element.

For another example, consider former Rep. Pat Schroeder, who represented Denver for 24 years. Technically, she represented Denver; more accurately, she represented women across America because she was one of the few women in the House.

It shows in her memoir, 24 Years of House Work and the Place is Still a Mess: My Life in Politics. There’s a lot in there about representing America’s women; very little about representing Denver.

And yet that part would tell us what a shrewd politician Schroeder was. She had the reputation of a very liberal Democrat, but she took good care of the oil industry — part of her job, since so many oil companies were so prominent in Denver during those days. How she pulled that off would make a great tale — and one she didn’t bother to tell, perhaps because it doesn’t seem that important in an era when geography matters less and less.

Much the same is true of former Colorado representative and senator Tim Wirth. He had the reputation of a liberal. He also represented Colorado, then a center of the cable-TV industry, which contributed handsomely to his campaigns. On one level, Wirth represented environmentalists nationally; on another level, that monthly gouge from the local cable monopoly can be connected to Tim Wirth.

At any rate, the point is that our politicians are elected by geographic location, but generally view themselves as representatives of other constituencies that don’t have much to do with physical location on the planet: McInnis and the ATV promoters, Schroeder and feminists; Wirth and environmentalists; Ben Campbell and Indians across America, etc.

That probably means they’re truly representative, because we tend to see ourselves as members of groups rather than residents of an area. The census reflects that in how it classifies the population, and with modern communications, well, there are people who live thousands of miles away whom I’m in better touch with than anyone who lives down the street.

I’m part of various groups — free-lance writers, users of certain varieties software, mildly libertarian trouble-makers — whose affinities have little if anything to do with physical location.

Increasingly, the census reflects that. Pick up the thick bound Volume I of the 1900 census report, and it’s easy to find out how many people lived in any given town, county, precinct, township, etc. Pick up the 1990 report, and it’s a struggle to find that amid all the other ways that the population is categorized.

And yet, our political system is based on geographic representation. The average Santa Fé merchant probably has more in common with her Aspen counterpart than with anyone in nearby Española, but our political system doesn’t reflect that.

The Columbine High School tragedy attracted so much national attention because it took place in modern Generica, an upper-middle-class suburb just like its counterparts from Seattle to Miami. It could happen anywhere because that’s where it did happen — in an anywhere.

Perhaps in the future, the census would let us pick a category, the way they do with races now. I could click something like “impoverished college-dropout who likes to live in town, but near public land,” and the computers would accumulate all of us and arrange for electoral districts accordingly, rather than by a certain sprawling congressional district in Colorado.

Then again, perhaps the rising gasoline prices will create an America that is less mobile, more concerned with home, one that relies on local agriculture, and those political boundaries will start to matter again.

I think place matters, and that’s one reason for the time and energy I devote to this magazine, but it’s a hard case to make these days. And I don’t envy the Census Bureau in trying to make sense of it all — I’m just glad they try.

— Ed Quillen

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Selected Colorado Municipal Populations, 1890-1998

TOWN or CITY 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 1998

Alamosa 973 1,141 3,013 3,171 5,107 5,613 5,354 6,205 6,985 6,830 7,579 8,964

Alma 387 297 301 127 110 469 149 107 73 132 148 234

Antonito 315 347 681 946 858 1,220 1,255 1,045 1,113 1,103 875 869

Bonanza 96 141 96 91 445 140 51 19 10 8 16 17

Buena Vista — 1,006 1,041 903 751 779 783 1,806 1,962 2,075 1,752 2,219

Cañon City 2,825 3,775 5,162 4,551 5,938 6,690 6,345 8,973 9,206 13,037 12,687 16,076

Como 374 407 411 121 80 95 39 — — — — —

Creede — 938 741 500 384 670 503 350 653 610 362 422

Crested Butte 857 988 904 1,213 1,251 1,145 730 289 372 959 878 1,577

Crestone — — 231 74 86 172 72 51 34 54 55 67

Del Norte 736 705 840 1,007 1,410 1,923 2,048 1,856 1,569 1,709 1,674 1,801

Fairplay 301 319 265 183 221 739 476 404 419 421 387 576

Florence — 3,728 2,712 2,629 2,475 2,632 2,773 2,821 2,846 2,987 2,990 4,158

Florissant 439 131 268 48 26 62 53 — — — — —

Gothic — 20 — — — — — — — — — —

Granite — 250 — — — — — — — — — —

Guffey — — — — 38 — — — — — — —

Gunnison 1,105 1,200 1,026 1,329 1,315 2,177 2,770 3,477 4,613 5,785 4,636 5,392

Hooper — 177 131 156 155 170 103 58 80 71 112 126

Irwin — 26 — — — — — — — — — —

La Jara — 208 448 521 602 897 912 724 768 858 725 733

Leadville 10,384 12,455 7,508 4,954 3,771 4,774 4,081 4,008 4,314 3,879 2,629 3,449

Manassa 642 739 788 906 953 1,008 832 831 814 945 988 971

Monte Vista 780 556 2,544 2,484 2,610 3,208 3,272 3,385 3,909 3,902 4,324 4,733

Ohio City — — — 50 72 78 60 — — — — —

Pitkin — 203 250 165 228 156 152 94 44 59 53 202

Poncha Springs 101 97 43 37 80 94 114 201 198 321 244 302

Rockvale — 870 1,413 1,299 710 575 380 413 359 338 321 381

Rosita 304 110 42 45 27 — — — — — — —

Saguache 660 389 620 948 1,010 1,219 1,024 722 642 656 584 659

St. Elmo — 64 46 37 7 — — — — — — —

San Luis — — — — — — 1,289 — 781 842 800 889

Salida 2,586 3,722 4,425 4,689 5,065 4,969 4,553 4,560 4,355 4,870 4,737 5,909

Silver Cliff 546 576 250 241 201 309 217 153 126 280 322 468

Tincup — 64 — — — — — — — — — —

Westcliffe 192 256 232 338 335 429 390 306 243 324 312 454

White Pine 143 69 — — — — — — — — — —

Williamsburg — 337 556 402 155 97 65 57 75 72 253 819

Data through 1970 are from official U.S. Census Bureau reports. Those after are from the Colorado State Demographer’s Office.

There are various reasons why towns do not appear in all census years. The town may not have incorporated yet, or it may have been disincorporated by the state of Colorado on account of its low population.

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Colorado County Populations 1900-2000

COUNTY 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000

Adams1 — 8,892 14,430 20,245 22,481 40,234 120,296 185,789 245,944 265,038 340,492

Alamosa2 — — 5,148 8,602 10,484 10,531 10,000 11,422 11,799 13,617 14,663

Arapahoe3 153,017 10,263 13,766 22,647 32,150 52,125 113,426 162,142 293,621 391,511 496,115

Archuleta 2,117 3,302 3,590 3,204 3,806 3,030 2,629 2,733 3,664 5,345 10,413

Baca 759 2,516 8,721 10,570 6,207 7,964 6,310 5,674 5,419 4,556 4,318

Bent 3,049 5,043 9,705 9,134 9,653 8,775 7,419 6,493 5,945 5,048 5,615

Boulder 21,544 30,330 31,861 32,456 37,438 48,296 74,254 131,889 189,625 225,339 278,924

Chaffee 7,085 7,622 7,753 8,126 8,109 7,168 8,298 10,162 13,227 12,684 15,740

Cheyenne 501 3,687 3,746 3,723 2,964 3,453 2,789 2,396 2,153 2,397 2,333

Clear Creek 7,082 5,001 2,891 2,155 3,784 3,289 2,793 4,819 7,308 7,619 9,384

Conejos 8,794 11,285 8,416 9,803 11,648 10,171 8,428 7,846 7,794 7,453 8,107

Costilla 4,632 5,498 5,032 5,779 7,533 6,067 4,219 3,091 3,071 3,190 3,763

Crowley4 — — 6,383 5,934 5,398 5,222 3,978 3,086 2,988 3,946 4,406

Custer 2,937 1,947 2,172 2,124 2,270 1,573 1,305 1,120 1,528 1,926 3,989

Delta 5,487 13,688 13,668 14,204 16,470 17,365 15,602 15,286 21,225 20,980 28,251

Denver5 — 213,381 256,491 287,861 322,412 415,786 493,887 514,678 492,365 467,610 507,241

Dolores 1,134 642 1,243 1,412 1,958 1,966 2,196 1,641 1,658 1,504 1,911

Douglas 3,120 3,192 3,517 3,498 3,496 3,507 4,816 8,407 25,153 60,391 174,254

Eagle 3,008 2,985 3,385 3,924 5,361 4,488 4,677 7,498 13,320 21,928 37,296

Elbert 3,101 5,331 6,980 6,580 5,460 4,477 3,708 3,903 6,850 9,646 21,918

El Paso 31,602 43,321 44,027 49,570 54,025 74,523 143,742 235,972 309,424 397,014 516,966

Fremont 15,636 18,181 17,883 18,896 19,742 18,366 20,196 21,942 28,676 32,273 47,415

Garfield 5,835 10,144 9,304 9,975 10,560 11,625 12,017 14,821 22,514 29,974 42,055

Gilpin 6,690 4,131 1,364 1,212 1,625 850 685 1,272 2,441 3,070 4,526

Grand 741 1,862 2,659 2,108 3,587 3,963 3,557 4,107 7,475 7,966 10,651

Gunnison 5,331 5,897 5,590 5,527 6,192 5,716 5,477 7,578 10,689 10,273 13,070

Hinsdale 1,609 646 538 449 349 263 208 202 408 467 826

Huerfano 8,395 13,320 16,879 17,062 16,088 10,549 7,867 6,590 6,440 6,009 7,030

Jackson6 — 1,013 1,340 1,386 1,798 1,976 1,758 1,811 1,863 1,605 1,517

Jefferson 9,306 14,231 14,400 21,810 30,725 55,687 127,520 233,031 371,753 438,430 518,754

Kiowa 701 2,899 3,755 3,786 2,793 3,003 2,425 2,029 1,936 1,688 1,619

Kit Carson 1,580 7,483 8,915 9,725 7,512 8,600 6,957 7,530 7,599 7,140 7,356

Lake 18,054 10,600 6,630 4,899 6,883 6,150 7,101 8,282 8,830 6,007 6,490

La Plata 7,016 10,812 11,218 12,975 15,494 14,880 19,225 19,199 27,424 32,284 42,746

Larimer 12,168 25,270 27,872 33,137 35,539 43,554 53,343 89,900 149,184 186,136 244,104

Las Animas 21,842 33,643 38,975 36,008 32,369 25,902 19,983 15,744 14,897 13,765 14,782

Lincoln 926 5,917 8,273 7,850 5,882 5,909 5,310 4,836 4,663 4,529 6,075

Logan 3,292 9,549 18,427 19,946 18,370 17,187 20,302 18,852 19,800 17,567 17,971

Mesa 9,267 22,197 22,281 25,908 33,791 38,974 50,715 54,374 81,530 93,145 118,449

Mineral 1,913 1,239 779 640 975 698 424 786 804 558 732

Moffat7 — — 5,129 4,861 5,086 5,946 7,061 6,525 13,133 11,357 12,848

Montezuma 3,058 5,029 6,260 7,798 10,463 9,991 14,024 12,952 16,510 18,672 23,528

Montrose 4,535 10,291 11,852 11,742 15,418 15,220 18,286 18,366 24,352 24,423 32,591

Morgan 3,268 9,577 16,124 18,284 17,214 18,074 21,192 20,105 22,513 21,939 25,942

Otero 11,522 20,201 22,623 24,390 23,571 25,275 24,128 23,523 22,567 20,185 20,794

Ouray 4,731 3,514 2,620 1,784 2,089 2,103 1,601 1,546 1,925 2,295 3,631

Park 2,998 2,492 1,977 2,052 3,272 1,870 1,822 2,185 5,333 7,174 15,663

Phillips 1,583 3,179 5,499 5,797 4,948 4,924 4,440 4,131 4,542 4,189 4,359

Pitkin 7,020 4,566 2,707 1,770 1,836 1,646 2,381 6,185 10,338 12,661 13,620

Prowers 3,766 9,520 13,845 14,762 12,304 14,836 13,296 13,258 13,070 13,347 13,826

Pueblo 34,448 52,223 57,638 66,038 68,870 90,188 118,707 118,238 125,972 123,051 137,994

Rio Blanco 1,690 2,332 3,135 2,980 2,943 4,719 5,150 4,842 6,255 5,972 6,340

Rio Grande 4,080 6,563 7,855 9,953 12,404 12,832 11,160 10,494 10,511 10,770 11,630

Routt 3,661 7,561 8,948 9,352 10,525 8,940 5,900 6,592 13,404 14,088 18,493

Saguache 3,853 4,160 4,638 6,250 6,173 5,664 4,473 3,827 3,935 4,619 6,507

San Juan 2,342 3,063 1,700 1,935 1,439 1,471 849 831 833 745 486

San Miguel 5,379 4,700 5,281 2,184 3,664 2,693 2,944 1,949 3,192 3,653 6,005

Sedgwick 971 3,061 4,207 5,580 5,294 5,095 4,242 3,405 3,266 2,690 2,512

Summit 2,744 2,003 1,724 987 1,754 1,135 2,073 2,665 8,848 12,881 20,593

Teller 29,002 14,351 6,696 4,141 6,463 2,754 2,495 3,316 8,034 12,468 23,363

Washington 1,241 6,002 11,208 9,591 8,336 7,520 6,625 5,550 5,304 4,812 4,518

Weld 16,808 39,177 54,059 65,097 63,747 67,504 72,344 89,297 123,438 131,821 167,191

Data are from official U.S. Census Bureau figures, except for 2000. Those populations are extrapolated from 1998 census estimates.

1Adams County was created in 1902 from part of Arapahoe County.

2Alamosa County was created in 1913 from part of Costilla County.

3Until 1902, Denver was the seat of Arapahoe County, and thus the large 1900 population.

4Crowley County was created in 1911 from part of Otero County.

5The City and County of Denver was formed in 1902 from part of Aparahoe County.

6Jackson County was created in 1909 from part of Larimer County.

7Moffat County was created in 1911 from part of Routt County.

In 1998, Colorado voters approved the creation of the first new county since 1914. It will be the City and County of Broomfield, and will be formed from parts of Boulder, Jefferson, Adams, and Weld counties.

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Colorado’s largest cities in 1900

1 Denver 123,859

2 Pueblo 28,157

3 Colorado Springs 21,085

4 Leadville 12,455

5 Cripple Creek 10,147

6 Boulder 6,150

7 Trinidad 5,345

8 Victor 4,896

9 Cañon City 3,775

10 Florence 3,728

11 Salida 3,722

12 Grand Junction 3,503

13 Durango 3,317

14 Aspen 3,308

15 Central City 3,114

16 Fort Collins 3,053

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Colorado’s Largest Cities in 1998

1 Denver 521,644

2 Colorado Springs 344,719

3 Aurora 254,859

4 Lakewood 143,615

5 Fort Collins 110,250

6 Pueblo 102,757

7 Arvada 101,369

8 Westminster 97,307

9 Boulder 92,823

10 Thornton 73,977

11 Greeley 72,078

12 Longmont 63,530

13 Loveland 47,150

14 Grand Junction 42,901