Who’s Moving Into and Out of Colorado?

According to a new report from the State Demography Office, “each year between 2011 and 2016 between 235,000 and 250,000 people moved into Colorado, and between 160,000 and 190,000 people moved out of Colorado.” That means our state’s population grows by about 60,000 to 75,000 people per year! The report also notes that most migrants, both into (41%) and out of (33%) Colorado, tend to be in their twenties. This is to be expected, as less-settled young people seek new opportunities. Other interesting insights include:

  • The states that have the largest numbers of people moving to Colorado are California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Illinois, followed by New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, and New Mexico. Arkansas, West Virginia, Vermont, and Maine had the fewest migrants into Colorado.
  • California, Arizona, and Texas were also three of the states that people moving out of Colorado were most likely to head to. Washington was also one of the top states for Colorado out-migrants. They were followed by Kansas, Nebraska, and Florida. Coloradans were least likely to move to Mississippi, the Dakotas, West Virginia, and some of the New England states.
  • The average household income for in-migrants was lower than that of out-migrants. “This income difference is likely related to age, as in-migrants are younger than out-migrants,” the report notes.
  • On the reverse side, in-migrants were more likely to have received a bachelor’s degree or higher than out-migrants were.
  • Not surprisingly, the vast majority of in-migrants are moving to the Denver metropolitan area.
  • The report also examines people who were born in Colorado and return after leaving. About 14 percent of Colorado in-migrants are returning Colorado residents, perhaps those returning after leaving to seek higher education or work experience.

The report concludes that “Colorado is not experiencing either a period of expanded in-migration or a period of extreme out-migration.” With the data only going through 2016 however, and with two years of rapid growth behind us, it will be interesting to see if the data changes the next time the Demography Office issues such a report. In the meantime, you can find many resources on population and demography by searching our library’s online catalog and by visiting the Demography Office’s website.

This graph from the State Demography Office shows that while the number of in-migrants to Colorado has remained fairly steady, the number of out-migrants is actually increasing.