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Denver by the Data, Vol. 8: Population & Demographics


This is the eighth installment of Denver by the Data, a quasi-monthly, data-driven belly flop into different topics of importance, inevitability and infamy to the city. For the first edition of 2017, we're delving into the city's ever-growing population and ever-changing demographics.
Historical population: City and County of Denver

1870: 4,759
1890: 106,713
1910: 213,381
1930: 287,861
1950: 415,765
1970: 514,678
1990: 467,610
2010: 600,158
2015: 682,545

The 2015 tally landed Denver at 21st of all cities in the U.S., right below Seattle and above El Paso.

The year-over-year growth rate has generally been in the 2 to 3 percent range since 2010. The 2015 population was up 18,582 over 2014, or 2.8 percent. That same rate will push the city past 720,000 in 2017.

Modern and historical trends: City and County of Denver

Total number of housing units in city limits

2010: 285,797
2015: 304,037

While the city's population was up 13.7 percent in this five-year period, the number of housing units increased by less than half of that, just 6.4 percent.

Population by gender

2010: 50.0 percent male, 50.0 percent female
2015: 50.1 percent male, 49.9 percent female

Population by age

2010: 21.5 percent under 18; 68.1 percent 18 to 64; 10.4 percent 65 and over
2015: 20.6 percent under 18; 68.4 percent 18 to 64; 11.0 percent 65 and over

The median age of the city's population is about 34, as opposed to 37.4 in the U.S.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and State of Colorado


Racial composition by year

In 1900, Denver's population was 96.8 percent white.

More recently . . .

White (non-Hispanic) / African American / Asian American / Hispanic or Latino

1970: 74.5 percent / 9.1 percent / 1.4 percent / 15.2 percent
1990: 61.4 percent / 12.8 percent / 2.4 percent / 23.0 percent
2010: 52.2 percent / 10.2 percent / 3.4 percent / 31.8 percent

If the annual rate of change held the same as it did from 1990 to 2010, the city's non-Hispanic white population dipped below 50 percent in 2015.

Historic population: Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Area

Population (1970): 1,116,226
Population (1980): 1,450,768
Population (1990): 1,650,489
Population (2000): 2,179,476
Population (2010): 2,543,482
Population (2015): 2,814,330

At last count, that's 19th in the U.S. (sandwiched between Tampa and St. Louis), 26th in North America and 179th worldwide, in the same league as Tel Aviv, Sapporo and Birmingham, U.K.

Based on recent growth trends, the metro area's population should hit about 3.1 million by 2020.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and Wikipedia

The City and County of Denver's population as percentage of the entire metro area

1970: 46.1 percent
1980: 34.0 percent
1990: 28.3 percent
2000: 25.4 percent
2010: 23.6 percent
2015: 24.3 percent

After a steady decline for four decades running, Denver's growth has outpaced that of the metro area in recent years.

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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