U.S. Census: Colorado population tops 5 million

December 21, 2010

Colorado will not be gaining or losing a U.S. representative, according to 2010 U.S. Census data released Tuesday.

In 2010 Colorado’s population grew to 5,029,196 — a 16.9 percent increase from 2000 to 2010, according to the census. The growth rate has slowed significantly from the ‘90s, when the state’s population grew by 30.6 percent and gained the state an additional congressional representative.

The state’s slowing growth matches a national trend, where the U.S. population had the slowest growth since the Great Depression according to the Census Bureau. The 2010 U.S. population is 308.7 million — an increase of 9.7 percent over the 2000 population.

Since the state won’t be gaining or losing a House seat, redistricting will probably be much easier than it was after the 2000 census when the battle grew so heated that it was eventually taken to court to be settled.

Bob Loevy, a political science professor at Colorado College, said the districts will be changed slightly to reflect the change in Colorado’s population, but they probably won’t impact the state’s political landscape.

“You have the situation where all of the incumbents will want to be re-elected and behind the scenes they will quietly put pressure to see that their particular district changes as little as possible,” he said.

The census apportionment numbers will probably have a bigger impact on the nation’s political makeup. Republican states such as Texas and Florida both gained seats while Democratic states like New York and Ohio lost seats.

The change is nothing new, Loevy said.

“Our population has been consistently moving southward and westward since World War II,” he said. “Despite the fact that this has been going on for a long time, the Democrats have periodically been able to win control of Congress and the presidency. Republicans will be in better shape than four years ago, but the overall picture hasn’t changed much.”

The population figures released Tuesday mark the first data released from the 2010 census. Additional data, including neighborhood breakdowns by population and race, will be released starting in February. 

Along with political redistricting, the data released by the census is invaluable to government and business leaders, said Mac Clouse, a professor of finance at the Daniels College of business at the University of Denver. Since the government makes great efforts to contact everyone in the nation, the data is much more valuable than any survey a business could conduct.

“The government does a pretty good job to make it as accurate as possible,” he said. “They get a better response rate and a much better sample than you could get from a survey.”


Read more analysis of the Census political impact at John Schroyer's blog, Second Reading.


Contact the writer at 636-0274.


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