Arvada has grown by nearly 18,000 residents over the last decade, spelling demographic changes that will impact education, labor force and the home market, according to Colorado State Demographer Elizabeth Garner.
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Garner gave a presentation at the Feb. 7 Arvada City Council meeting outlining the forecasted trends and discussing data collected between 2010 and 2021. She said that between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. experienced its second slowest growth rate on record, behind the Great Depression.
“The population is growing at a slowing rate. Births are down, deaths are up – pre-Covid – and that’s slowing population growth. Likewise, migration is slowing. It’s harder and harder to attract the best and the brightest. We’re seeing concentrated growth along the I-25 corridor, and we’re aging,” Garner said.
Between 2010 and 2020, Arvada’s population grew from a total of 106,433 to 124,402; a change of 16.9%.
“(Arvada’s population growth is) faster than the U.S. definitely, faster than Colorado slightly. It’s important to see that change, so Arvada is growing faster than the state as a whole,” Garner said.
However, Garner cautioned that a slowdown in births will lead to an aging population across the board. From 2010 to 2020, Arvada’s 18-and-under population grew 4.6%, compared to a 5% growth rate statewide and 1.4% decline nationally.
The younger population has a larger share of people of color, according to Garner. In 2019, over 40% of people under the age of 18 in Colorado were people of color. The state as a whole saw growth in diversity; between 2010 and 2020, 67% of Colorado’s population growth was comprised of people of color. In Arvada, that total was 53%.
“As we age, we’re going to see it very gradually aging and then becoming more racially and ethnically diverse because it’s our young folks who are going to be aging into our homebuying, our labor force, who are going to be creating this diversity from that young end,” Garner said.
Garner cautioned that will all demographic forecasting, there are variables that are difficult to account for. In this case, she mentioned uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, international immigration, housing and water availability as concerns around the projects.
She said that as the population ages and folks remail in place, the demand for housing within the $300,000 to $500,000 range will outpace the availability of those homes. Garner said that trend might impact Arvada more so than other Colorado municipalities because the city is older on average – Arvada has a median age of 40.2, compared to Colorado’s 36.7.
Garner said that one thing that’s become apparent is that changing labor conditions have put the onus on employers to make themselves attractive to applicants.
“I think employers are going to have to fight for people like they never have – they really haven’t had to do this in about 40 years – they’re going to have to prove to the workers ‘what I can give to you to earn you as an employee,” Garner said.
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