Colorado Population 2016

5,557,560

Our 2016 estimate for Colorado's population is 5,557,560. This estimate is calculated from projecting the most recent Census estimates. The last official population count for Colorado was taken during the 2010 Census. At that time, it was found that the population was 5,029,196.

The 2010 Census numbers represented a rise of 16.9% from the 2000 census survey, when 4,301,262 residents were shown to be living in Colorado. Updated estimates arrive on a yearly basis, and in 2015, it was reported that the numbers in Colorado had increased to 5,456,574.

The 2015 estimate reflects an 8.5% increase since the last census. With a yearly growth rate of 1.85% in 2016, Colorado is second fastest-growing state in the US.

Colorado Population Density

With a large surface area of 104,094 square miles (269,837 square kilometers) Colorado is the eighth largest state in the USA, but it is relatively sparsely populated. Some of the terrain is harsh, and the vast Rocky Mountain range accounts for a significant proportion of the state’s land mass.

As a result, there are 52 people per square mile (19.9 per square kilometer) and that makes Colorado only the 37th biggest state in terms of population density.

Colorado Population Chart

Colorado’s Population History

Historically, Colorado’s location in the middle of the USA made it a popular route for those traveling through the new world. Many liked the state so much that they chose to settle there, and the evidence of that is clear from the earliest censuses.

Back in 1860, the Colorado population was declared at 34,277 and ten years later, there had been just a modest rise of 16.3% to 39,864. However, by 1880 that figure had almost quadrupled and the census from that year reveals a total population of 194,327 -- an increase of 387.5% from the 1870 numbers.

Although that was by far the biggest increase in decade on decade terms, further significant rises followed, and by the beginning of the 20th century, Colorado’s numbers had grown to 539,700. In the latter half of the 1900s, increases in the region of 30% from census to census took the population of Colorado past the 5 million mark in 2012.

Colorado Population Projections

Many states in the US have shown growth at every census, but Colorado's population is actually growing faster now than it did during the 20s, 30s, and 40s. The current growth is already causing housing shortages and increased traffic as Denver and Colorado Springs try to address the increased immigration.

Like most states across the US, the population of Colorado is growing, but the growth has been significant in past years. Increases between censuses of 30% are not uncommon, and if that trend continues, the numbers could comfortably exceed 6 million at the next census in 2020. Some estimates have placed the 2040 population as high as 7.8 million.

Population Data via US Census

Colorado Growth Rate

Colorado State Rank

Year Pop % Change
2020 5,961,504 1.72%
2019 5,860,518 1.75%
2018 5,759,532 1.78%
2017 5,658,546 1.82%
2016 5,557,560 1.85%
2015 5,456,574 1.89%
2014 5,355,588 1.60%
2013 5,271,132 1.53%
2012 5,191,731 1.41%
2011 5,119,480 1.80%
2010 5,029,196 1.58%
2000 4,301,261 2.70%
1990 3,294,394 1.32%
1980 2,889,964 2.73%
1970 2,207,259 2.33%
1960 1,753,947 2.84%
1950 1,325,089 1.67%
1940 1,123,296 0.81%
1930 1,035,791 0.98%
1920 939,629 1.63%
1910 799,024 4.00%
1900 539,700 2.71%
1890 413,249 7.84%
1880 194,327 17.16%
1870 39,864 1.52%
1860 34,277 0.00%

Colorado Facts

Colorado Population in 2016 Source: Matt Wright

  • Colorado lies completely above 1,000 meters elevation. It is the only state that can make this claim.
  • Over one-third of the land in the state is owned by the US federal government.
  • Colorado has the largest city park system in the nation, boasting 205 parks within the city limits, and 20,000 acres of park space within the mountains.
  • The nation's highest suspension bridge is located near Canon City and is built over the Royal Gorge.
  • The view from Pikes Peak was the inspiration for the song, "America the Beautiful."
  • Colorado is the only place where four states -- Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona -- meet.
  • The first license plate was issued in Denver in 1908.
  • Leadville, Colorado, is the highest unincorporated town in the country at over 10,000 feet.
  • Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike explored the Louisiana Territory in 1806 and published a report that drew interest to the area.

Colorado Population Density by County

  • Population
  • Density
  • Growth Since 2010
  • State Rank
  • % of State

Colorado Population Growth Rate by County

From the time of the 2010 Census until 2015 when the US Census Bureau took population estimates, several counties in the state posted significant growth rates. The counties with the highest growth are all neighboring, beginning with Larimer County and Weld County along the northern border, and ending with El Paso County. With a growth rate of 13.14%, Denver County had the highest recorded population growth during the 5-year period.

Just as some Colorado counties saw growth, others posted declining populations during the same time period. The southwestern county of Bent had the highest decline of 10.43%. while neighboring Las Animas County has the second largest decline of 8.68%. Other counties that saw decreases in population include Moffatt County, Hinsdale County, and Kit Carson County.

Population Pyramid

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White 4,450,623 88.5%
Black or African American 214,919 4.27%
American Indian and Alaska Native 78,144 1.55%
Asian 144,819 2.88%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 8,420 0.17%
Two or more races 132,271 2.63%

Approximately 10% of the population of Colorado is made up of immigrants. These immigrants, according to data from 2011, make up over 11% of workers for the state of Colorado.

Estimates also show that 34.9% of the Latino population is under the age of 18, ountumbering African Americans (25%), Asian Americans (23%), and non-Hispanic Whites (19.3%) in the under-18 age bracket. There are higher proportions of Hispanics located in Colorado Springs, Metro Denver, Pueblo, and Greeley, with a large percentage of descendents of early Mexican settlers. The state has the fifth largest Mexican-American population in the nation, as well as the sixth highest percentage of Mexican-Americans.

Colorado also has large communities of African American residents located in Denverand Colorado Springs. Asian-Americans are also found throughout the state, particularly in the south and southeast areas of Denver. This includes Mongolians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Chinese residents. The Denver metropolitan area is considered to be one of the most racially diverse in the state.

Languages Spoken in Colorado

Language Population Percentage
Population 5 years and over 4,779,527 100.00%
English 4,091,297 85.60%
Spanish 565,060 11.82%
German 25,645 0.54%
French 16,045 0.34%
Chinese 14,380 0.30%
Amharic 8,735 0.18%
Kru, Ibo, Yoruba 3,715 0.08%
Nepali 3,615 0.08%
Portuguese 3,360 0.07%

This chart shows the top 10 non-English languages that are spoken at home in Colorado. The data comes from the most recent release of the American Community Survey (ACS).

Colorado Economy

High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2010-2014 90
Bachelor's degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2010-2014 38
With a disability, under age 65 years, percent, 2010-2014 7
Persons without health insurance, under age 65 years, percent 12
In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2010-2014 68
In civilian labor force, female, percent of population age 16 years+, 2010-2014 63
Total accommodation and food services sales, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 13,617,654
Total health care and social assistance receipts/revenue, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 29,488,161
Total manufacturers shipments, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 50,447,098
Total merchant wholesaler sales, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 77,034,971
Total retail sales, 2012 ($1,000) (c) 67,815,200
Total retail sales per capita, 2012 (c) 13,073
Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16 years+, 2010-2014 25
Median household income (in 2014 dollars), 2010-2014 59,448
Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2014 dollars), 2010-2014 31,674
Persons in poverty, percent 12

Colorado Business

Total employer establishments, 2014 158,064
Total employment, 2014 2,181,455
Total annual payroll, 2014 112,194,052
Total employment, percent change, 2013-2014 4
Total nonemployer establishments, 2014 468,729
All firms, 2012 547,352
Men-owned firms, 2012 284,554
Women-owned firms, 2012 194,508
Minority-owned firms, 2012 85,849
Nonminority-owned firms, 2012 442,365
Veteran-owned firms, 2012 51,722
Nonveteran-owned firms, 2012 469,524

Colorado Housing

Total employer establishments, 2014 158,064
Total employment, 2014 2,181,455
Total annual payroll, 2014 112,194,052
Total employment, percent change, 2013-2014 4
Total nonemployer establishments, 2014 468,729
All firms, 2012 547,352
Men-owned firms, 2012 284,554
Women-owned firms, 2012 194,508
Minority-owned firms, 2012 85,849
Nonminority-owned firms, 2012 442,365
Veteran-owned firms, 2012 51,722
Nonveteran-owned firms, 2012 469,524
Data Sources
  1. Census Population Estimates - Most recent estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program - released 6/23/2016