Continued growth in Garfield County
Updated information from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) State Demography Office, shows many population-related trends affecting Garfield County. According to a report presented to the Board of County Commissioners in April by state Demographer Elizabeth Garner, Garfield County has experienced an estimated increase in population of 3,017 between 2010 and 2017. The U.S Census Bureau estimated the county’s overall population at 59,118 in 2017.
Since 2010, Carbondale saw an increase in net population of 431; Glenwood Springs 406; Rifle 329; New Castle 326; Silt 206; Parachute 29; and 1,290 in unincorporated Garfield County. The state of Colorado’s overall average growth rate since 2010 is 1.5 percent. Like Garfield, neighboring Pitkin, Eagle, and Mesa counties also saw growth over the same time frame. Those adjacent counties increased in population by 700, 2,700, and 5,100 people, respectively.
Colorado is home to more than 5.6 million people, with 77,049 new residents between 2016 and 2017, placing the Centennial State eighth in total U.S. growth.
Garfield County still hasn’t rebounded back to peak employment numbers from prior to the Great Recession. The county has 2,721 fewer jobs than it did before the national economic downturn in 2008, though the unemployment rate was down to 2.9 percent in 2017.
In Garfield County, 38 percent of residents are in the low-wage earning group ($21,700 to 37,800); 33 percent are in the mid-wage range ($44,000 to $56,800); and 29 percent are considered high-wage earners ($58,500 to $96,500). According to the presentation, the largest employers in the county are Valley View Hospital (859), followed by Grand River Health (520), and the Grand River Hospital District (440).
Figures presented to the BOCC show 69 percent of Garfield County residents are Caucasian; 28 percent Hispanic; and three percent other nationalities.
Overall, the study found that Western Slope is the state’s fastest growing region. Garfield County’s estimated population by 2030 is 77,404, and 105,711 by 2050.
While the demographics are based solely on collected data and not projections. The current data shows that Garfield County will experience sustained and continuous growth over the next 25 years.
The Garfield County Economic Profile is a compilation of demographic and financial data, and analysis, designed to provide a snapshot of the Garfield County economy. It includes information on population, income levels, educational attainment, labor force and employment, industry sectors, real estate and Garfield County’s own operating indicators. This profile is updated every year in the first quarter as new information becomes available.