Colorado’s Population Rising at Only a Fraction of Its Former Glory

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels


By DJ Summers |

Colorado’s population is rising at only a fraction of its former glory. Among the findings of Common Sense Institute’s (CSI) analysis of the most recent U.S. Census national population and components of change figures:

  • In 2013, Colorado captured one in 12 people who moved to a new state that experienced net population growth.
  • In 2023, that dropped to only one in 120 people.
  • Between 2020 and 2023, Colorado had an average net gain of only 6,645 people from other states each year. That is compared to an average of 41,540 every year between 2013 and 2020.
  • The net change in international migration outpaced the net change in domestic migration from other U.S. states in 2022 and 2023 by 35% and 39%, respectively.
  • More people left Colorado for other states than arrived from other states in 2022.
  • The recent drop in net migration comes from the uptick in Coloradans moving to other states, while the number moving in from other states has been largely steady through 2022.

Colorado’s Decline as Hot U.S. Boom State

U.S. Census figures from fiscal year 2023 suggest continued challenges keeping the population on track with its workforce needs. In 2022 and 2023, net international migration overshot net domestic migration to Colorado for the first time in over a decade, as domestic migration dropped to a fraction of its mid-2010s levels.

Colorado gained hundreds of thousands of new residents from domestic migration during the 2010s. Colorado gained an average of 41,540 people on the net from other states every year between 2013 and 2020, reaching nearly 60,000 people in 2015 alone. During that time, Colorado gained an average of 10,000 people per year on the net from international migration.

In the 2020s, Colorado remained a popular destination but began losing more people.  Between 2020 and 2023, Colorado only gained an average of 6,645 people on the net through domestic migration each year. This is only 16% of the total annual net domestic migration of the 2010s.

In 2013, Colorado captured 8% of all net domestic migration growth in the U.S., meaning Colorado captured one in 12 people who moved to a state that experienced net positive growth. In 2023, Colorado captured only 0.8% of the nation’s domestic migration, meaning Colorado captured one in 120 people who moved to a state that experienced net positive growth.

It is likely the change in net population growth springs from an uptick in people leaving the state.

As of 2022, people were still entering Colorado from other states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in a similar volume as the 2010s. However, it is the lowest rate since 2010. In 2022, Colorado had a domestic inflow of 229,876 people, which is slightly higher than the average 217,621 yearly inflow from 2010-2019. Colorado now has a smaller share of the number of people who lived in another state in the previous year. In 2022, Colorado had 2.79% of the total number of U.S. residents who lived in another state the year before, the lowest since 2011.

More, however, are now leaving Colorado than before. Colorado’s outflow of people to other states was higher than its inflow in 2022, which hasn’t happened once between 2005 and 2021. In 2022, Colorado saw an outflow of 239,200 people, overshooting the 2010-2019 average yearly outflow of 177,475. Those leaving are more likely to be older, while those entering are more likely to be younger.

Support Northern Colorado Journalism

Show your support for North Forty News by helping us produce more content. It's a kind and simple gesture that will help us continue to bring more content to you.

BONUS - Donors get a link in their receipt to sign up for our once-per-week instant text messaging alert. Get your e-copy of North Forty News the moment it is released!

Click to Donate