Colorado Sprawl: state population only getting bigger

Colorado Sprawl Study shows state growth.
Colorado Sprawl Study shows state growth.(Jesse James / CC BY 2.0)
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 5:48 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Colorado has seen enormous population growth since 1982 and it’s only getting bigger.

A poll conducted by Rasmussen and commissioned by NumbersUSA found Colorado had the 7th fastest population growth in the nation. Mesa County saw a population growth of about 50 to 60 thousand over a 35-year period.

As a direct result of the population boom, the state has lost roughly 1200 square miles of open space.

Leon Kolankiewicz, the scientific director of NumbersUSA, said the latest Colorado Sprawl Study shows the direct correlation between urban sprawl and the loss of open space, natural habitats, and agricultural lands.

“Wildlife is paying a heavy price for the human Juggernaut as it was.” Kolankiewicz said.

Kolankiewicz said the World Wildlife Fund conducted a study last year that found there’s about a 70% decline in wildlife around the world since 1970.

“This is basically humanity, replacing wildlife, humanity, and our stuff. It’s not just the number of human beings, it’s everything else that we have.” Kolankiewicz said.

The increase in populations state and countrywide is creating somewhat of a cyclical problem. An influx in population is seen as a way to boost the economy, but in turn you create a housing shortage and drive out wildlife from their natural habitats with urban development.

Kolankiewicz said, “I think both Colorado and the country as a whole and the world as a whole have to find a way, and this may be a magic elixir here, but find a way to have prosperity without endless population and economic growth.”

The poll conducted by Rasmussen also found Coloradans view the state as overpopulated, making it hard to enjoy outdoor recreation and ski areas.

Colorado is projected to continue growing by another 1.5 to 1.8 million people by the year 2050.