New Census Figures Show Changing Face of Colorado

Posted by Burt Hubbard on


By Burt Hubbard

The latest batch of 2010 Census information shows some impacts of the economic downturn on Colorado and outlines an aging population.

The census also shows the changing face of family life in Colorado. For example, for the first time in recent history, fewer than half of Colorado’s households are married couples.

While Colorado’s overall population grew by nearly 17 percent during the last decade, the portion of children younger than 15 actually declined to barely one in five residents.

Colorado has more senior citizens and fewer children than it did a decade ago, the new census figures show. The average age of the state went up about two years, from 34 to 36.

Now one in nine Coloradans is a senior citizen, compared to one in 10 a decade ago.

The percent of children younger than 15 fell from 21.3 percent to 20.3 percent.

Fewer Coloradans are homeowners and more were renters in 2010 during the throes of one of the worst foreclosure crises in the state’s history.

Homeownership dropped from 67.3 percent to 65.5 percent during the decade at a time when foreclosures skyrocketed. The percent of vacant homes rose from 8.3 percent to 10.8 percent.

The percent of Coloradans and their children living with other relatives rose by more than a third. Overall, 5.1 percent of Coloradans now live with extended family, up from 4.4 percent a decade ago.

In 2000, Colorado was one of only seven states with more males than females. In the past decade, the state nudged closer to being almost exactly half male and half male. The percent of males in Colorado fell from 50.4 percent to 50.1 percent.
Households in the state became more diverse during the last decade.

The percent of married couples dropped below 50 percent and the percent of people living alone or unmarried couples moving in together rose during the decade.

The percentage of married couple households fell from 51.8 percent to 49.2 percent, while the percentage of people living alone increased to about 28 percent from 26.3 percent in 2000. The percent of the traditional Ozzie and Harriet families – married couples with children – fell from 24.4 percent to 21.4 percent, or just about one in five.

The data released Thursday focused on households, age groups, housing and more detailed racial and ethnic breakdowns for the state and its cities and counties. It shows:

• The median age of Coloradans rose from 34.3 years in 2000 to 36.1 years in 2010. The biggest driving force was the aging of the baby boomers. The number of Coloradans between 45 and 64 years of age rose from 22.2 percent to 26.7 percent during the 10 years.

• The percent of children under 15 fell from 21.3 percent to 20.3 percent, while the portion of seniors rose from 9.7 percent to 10.9 percent

• Homeownership dropped from 67.3 percent to 65.5 percent during the decade at a time when foreclosures skyrocketed. The percent of vacant homes rose from 8.3 percent to 10.8 percent.

• The only household types to show a rise in the percent of children statewide were male-headed households with no wife present – increasing from 2.2 percent of households to 2.5 percent of all households in 2010. For the first time since at least 1980, the percent of Colorado households with married couples dropped below 50 percent.

• More relatives moved in with each other during the decade. The percent of households with other relatives besides the core family living under the same roof rose from 4.4 percent of Coloradans to 5.1 percent of Coloradans. Unmarried partners rose from 2.1 percent of Coloradans to 2.5 percent in 2010. (The figures on same-sex couples will be released later this year.)

• The state’s Latino population grew by 41.2 percent, fueled by a 68 percent increase in residents from Mexico during the decade.

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