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Fewer people are moving to Colorado, and the state demographer says we need to plan for that

Colorado reached a new low of new people moving here in 2021.

COLORADO, USA — The number of people moving to Colorado is slowing down, according to Census records analyzed by the state demography office.

In 2020, 27,337 people moved to the state, and in 2021, data shows that number dropped even further to 14,731. That's compared to 68,844 people who moved here in 2015.

“I think it’s something we need to get ready for," State Demographer Elizabeth Garner said. "To me, it makes a little bit of sense. We’ve seen the whole U.S. slow down in terms of growth." 

Overall population growth in Colorado has slowed down as well. Garner said net migration, a slowdown in births and an increase in people dying have contributed to a decrease in population growth. 

“So it’s really just thinking more strategically of 'how do we compete when things start slowing down?' And then there’s going to be some states, and some parts of states, that are already slowing down where we need to just think of this idea of strategic shrinkage. How do we slow down gracefully? Still fund all of the things that we love, yet with slower-growing tax base or declining tax base," she said.

Garner said there are "parts of Colorado that should think about strategic shrinkage and make plans for what it means." 

But an economics professor at Metropolitan State University doesn't put too much weight on movement during the pandemic.

"I see that is not a major problem," Kishore Kulkarni said. "It is just a blip in the usual trend of a high inflow of population in Colorado." 

Credit: Michael Ryno

But Garner said they have taken the pandemic into account when they analyzed the data. 

“So we know that it was a tough year," she said. "However, the results from 2020 weren’t that much different than what we were forecasting, so I don’t know if 2020 was that off."

Garner's office forecasts Colorado's population to increase by 1.8 million people between now and 2050. It's still growth, but not as much as the state has seen historically. 

"I think what makes it odd is that people don’t feel it," she said. "And that’s because we have what I would call a lot of visitors."

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