Colorado’s population has shifted north since 2010, and the east end of Conifer is the state’s new population center.
According to census data, the exact coordinates of Colorado’s current population center is +39.534747, -105.185361. It is along the western edge of Deer Creek Canyon Park.
The population center of Jefferson County lies at +39.723690, -105.130309. It is near Sixth Avenue and the Denver Federal Center.
To compute the population center, the census uses the point whose latitude and longitude can successfully solve two complex equations. According to Elizabeth Garner, Colorado’s state demographer, we can think about it in a simpler way.
“Think about it as everyone is sprinkled throughout the state, and if each person is equally weighted geographically, where would that center be? Where would you put that dot down?” she said.
Garner said this northern shift since 2010 is due to growth around the Interstate 25 corridor, especially in Weld, El Paso and Adams counties. According to census data, Colorado is among the fastest growing states in the last decade.
The northern shift also can be attributed to fewer people living in the southeastern part of the state, according to Garner.
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Garner expects similar patterns in the next 10 years.
“Our forecast for the state is very similar to what we’ve seen for the past 10 years. Very concentrated around the I-25 corridor. Continued movement north a little bit, and potentially a smidge east, but not much, if any,” she said.
Britni LeRoux, executive director of the Conifer Area Chamber of Commerce, thinks that Conifer being the population center for the state is an interesting fact for the area.
“Given the size of Colorado, it was a little bit surprising, but in a good way,” she said.
LeRoux has noticed trends in movement around Colorado over the 10 years she has lived here.
“One of the biggest trends I’ve seen in the last five years has been people moving from out of state into Colorado,” she said.
One of the draws to Conifer, LeRoux said, is being able to get out of the densely populated city. However, she recognizes that this mentality can cause a shift in population that leads to some residents feeling weary about their space being encroached on.
“People are very protective of their mountain towns,” she said.
The population of Jefferson County has gone up 9% in the last 10 years, coming in as the fourth most populated county in the state.
Garner and LeRoux agree that Conifer being the population center probably will not have much of an effect on the area. LeRoux thinks, though, that it’s a fun fact.
“It’s kind of a cool bragging right to have,” she said, laughing.