The population of the Denver metro area was expected to exceed 3 million last month, according to state estimates.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs uses the month of July to forecast population numbers annually. The department estimated that the Denver metro area's population on July 1 would have been 2,994,534 and would have passed the 3 million mark in August.
Elizabeth Garner, a state demographer, said the average monthly increase in population in the Denver metro area is 3,551, meaning its population reached 3 million in mid-August.
Garner said the growing population can be attributed to a healthy economy in the Denver area.
“There is a high correlation between job growth and population change,” she said. “We're toward the top in the U.S. in terms of recovery and growing jobs.”
Garner said population numbers in Larimer and Weld counties are growing at an even faster rate than the Denver metro area, thanks to high job growth in the oil and gas industry there.
But other parts of the state, such as the Western Slope and parts of the southeast, are losing residents.
Garner said that can attributed to jobs leaving those parts of the state and not coming back.
“If you don't have a job, it's hard to stay,” she said.
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