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Boulder County’s population hasn’t rebounded from 2020 loss

While the county’s population saw a slight increase in 2022, its growth has largely stalled, new census data shows.

Boulder County’s population dropped in 2020 and it has not recovered that loss, according to the latest census estimates.

The neighboring Weld County, however, has seen a big gain in net migration from 2020. 

Boulder County’s population in 2020 was 330,922, and that dropped to 327,075 in 2021 — a loss of more than 3,800 residents. The county gained just under 400 residents in 2022 — nowhere near enough to recover pandemic losses, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the decade before the pandemic, Boulder County’s population had grown steadily by more than 36,000 people.

An aging population and housing costs have made Boulder County — which is home to the University of Colorado Boulder — an outlier among similar counties across the country.

“Many counties with large universities saw their populations fully rebound this year as students returned,” said Christine Harley, assistant division chief for estimates and projections in the Census Bureau’s Population Division, in the report. 

Meanwhile, Weld County, which has lower housing costs than Boulder County, saw its population grow by more than 18,700 since 2020 — from 331,427 to 350,176, the census data shows.

Between July 2021 and July 2022, there were 2,533 births and 2,264 deaths in Boulder County. Weld County had 4,505 births and 2,465 deaths in that timeframe.

Colorado’s population of 5.8 million residents grew by more than 28,600, or 0.5%, between mid-2021 and mid-2022, according to the census data. In the decade before the pandemic, our state’s population had grown by 14.8% — almost twice the rate of the rest of the nation.

Although Denver saw an uptick in its population between 2021 and 2022, the city remains down by nearly 2,300 residents from 2020. In the decade before the pandemic, Denver saw the largest population growth in our state — gaining more than 115,000 residents.

The population in Jefferson County dropped by nearly 6,800 from 2020 to 2022, and Arapahoe County dropped by just over 600 people. Adams and Broomfield counties grew by 7,096 and 1,637, respectively.

Across the country, the fastest-growing counties in 2022 were in the South and West, where “many impacts experienced during the pandemic are either reverting to near pre-pandemic levels or making a full recovery,” the census report reads.

Amber Fisher

About the Author: Amber Fisher

I'm thrilled to be an assistant editor with the Longmont Leader after spending the past decade reporting for news outlets across North America. When I'm not writing, you can find me snowboarding, reading fiction and running (poorly).
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