Grand Junction, Colorado Population 2018
Grand Junction is a city located in the state of Colorado. It is the county city of Mesa County. The city has an estimated population of 61,881, making it just the 14th most populous in the state. The city’s location along the Colorado River has given it the nickname of River City. Though it wasn’t incorporated until the late 19th century, Grand Junction has seen major growth in its city limits and its population.
Grand Junction History
The region that is now Grand Junction was originally inhabited by the Ute tribe. In 1881, the tribe was removed from the land by the government so that it could be settled by Europeans. A plot of land was purchased by George Addison, a man from Pennsylvania. In 1882m Grand Junction was established and was incorporated as a town.
From the time of settlement, the economy revolved around farming, cattle and fruit orchards. In fact, the first vineyard was planted during its early history following European settlement. This resulted in more vineyards and later led to the nickname “Colorado Wine Country.”
Even to this day, the fruit orchards remain a staple to Grand Junction’s economy. Fruits grown in the city include pears, peaches, plums and wine grapes.
Grand Junction hasn’t just relied on agriculture, hower. It has also been a hotspot for uranium mining and was once the site of the Climax Uranium Mill that provided ore to the Atomic Energy Commission. Oil shale development has also fueled the economy, particularly during the 1970s and 1980s. Exxon purchased the rights to oil shale reserves and the city thrived until it left the region and put a strain on the economy in 1982. This period was known as “Black Sunday.”
However, Grand Junction’s economy quickly recovered and became even more diverse. Gas and oil mining and agriculture are among its top industries; however, education and healthcare also contribute significantly to the economy. The city also makes money from tourism, as people from all over the world come to visit nearby Powderhorn Resort and other attractions and ski resorts.
Grand Junction Demographics
The city of Grand Junction has an estimated population of over 61,000. The total area of the city is 39.64 square miles and the population density is over 1,575 people per square mile.
The city’s population is primarily white, making up 91.78% of the total population. Blacks, Native Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders each make up less than 1% of the population. Almost 4% identify as another race, while nearly 2% are mixed. Almost 11% of the population is Hispanic or Latino. There are more females than males residing in Grand Junction, with 95.1 men for every 100 women.
The largest age group is 25 to 44, which makes up 26.3% of the population. Over 21% is under the age of 18, while nearly 18% of the population is at least 65 years old. Close to 12% of the population lives below the federal poverty line.
The Mesa County Valley School District 51 is the top employer in the city, providing jobs to over 2,500 people. City Market, St. Mary’s Hospital, the State of Colorado and Mesa County are other top employers in Grand Junction.
Grand Junction Population Growth
Despite some economic hardships, Grand Junction has continued to post population growth at every 10-year census. Though growth had slowed at the time of the 1990 census, it quickly rebounded in 2000, with the population growing from less than 30,000 to almost 42,000 people. The 2010 census shows that the population grew to over 58,000, reflecting almost 40% growth since the previous census. Current estimates show that the population has risen by 5.7% since the last official census and as the city’s economy continues to grow stronger and more diverse, it’s only natural that the city is expected to see continued growth.