Demographer: Big Changes Coming to Northern Colorado
Colorado has a wonderful State Demographer by the name of Elizabeth Garner. Every time I hear her present, I learn something. So it was recently during her presentation at a regional meeting of the Economic Development Council of Colorado at The Ranch.
Among the nuggets gleaned from her presentation are these:
- Colorado’s population is 5,540,500.
- Colorado ranks 7th fastest in population growth at 1.7 percent behind UT, NV, ID, FL, WA, OR, respectively.
- Colorado ranks 8th in absolute population growth with 91,700 net behind TX, FL, CA, WA, AZ, NC, GA, respectively.
- From 2010 through 2016 the population of Larimer County has grown from 300,523 to 339,993 and Weld County went from 254,161 to 294,932. Combined, the two-county region has a population of 634,925.
- The largest component of growth in both counties is in-migration of new residents rather than natural internal growth.
- The largest 3 employment sectors in Larimer County are Health Care and Social Assistance (21,111), Retail Trade (18,582) and Accommodation and Food Services (18,175). In Weld County they are Manufacturing (13,420), Retail Trade (10,062) and Construction (9,410).
- Larimer County has 153,103 jobs and Weld County has 100,215 for a two-county labor force of 253,318.
- Base industries in Larimer County are Regional Service (24%), Government (21%) and Retirees (13%) and in Weld they are Agriculture (21%), Regional Service (18%) and Commuter (14%).
- Colorado is aging fast. Currently we have few people over 65. In fact, we have the 6th lowest share of all states of people over 65 at 13 percent. However, we have a large Baby Boomer population (born between 1946-1964) aging in place and moving in. We currently have 1,360,000 Boomers, a quarter of the state’s population. The 65+ population will be 77 percent larger in 2030.
- The two-county region has the lowest unemployment in the lowest unemployment state.
- Boomers are aging out of the workforce but staying longer. The labor participation rate of 65+ increased from 14 percent in 1990 to 19 percent in 2010.
- 1,000,000 workers will age out of the Colorado workforce in the next 20 years with the largest part of that group leaving 2015-2025.
- The oldest aged industries are education, health care, utilities, mining, government and transportation.
- A lot of workers leave the two-county area for work. In Larimer County, 46,614 commute into the county but 54,658 commute out. In Weld County, 41,197 people commute in while 80,888 leave.
Some of Garner’s conclusions:
- The two-county region has a workforce challenge. Will we be able to compete to keep and attract the best and brightest?
- The area is a fast aging area in a fast aging state.
- Ethnic and racial diversity will increase and be reflected in the labor force.
- The region will continue to grow over the next 20 years but the rate of growth will slow.
- The economy will change as retail consolidates and there is significant automation in the manufacturing, transportation and construction sectors.
You can find her presentation here.