Boom & Bust Decade: A Census Analysis

Boom & Bust Decade: A Census Analysis

In Western Colorado, a Decade of Boom and Bust

In the first decade of the 21st Century, newcomers filled manufactured houses and million-dollar golf course mansions to make New Castle one of Colorado’s biggest boomtowns and Garfield County the state’s fastest-growing county outside the metro suburbs. But after two booming decades, the region staggered under the recession.

After Recession, a Boom in Empty Homes

When the recession ended the boom times of the first decade of the 21st Century, it left the lights out in thousands of unoccupied homes across the region. In western Garfield County, where residents fled due to the recession and vanishing jobs in the gas patch, nearly one in three homes were left empty.

Hispanic Population Booms

The biggest demographic shift in the region is the boom of the Hispanic population. It’s seen most sharply in New Castle, where the Hispanic population grew five times larger over the course of a decade. Two counties are a third Hispanic, and in some towns, Hispanic children outnumber Anglo children.

Hispanics Flex Political Muscle

The region’s growing Hispanic population likely will force county clerks in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties to publish bilingual ballots. As Hispanics make up a larger population of potential voters, Democrats see Latinos, who helped push President Obama to victory in 2008, as a pool of largely untapped voters in this region. Republicans see them as value-based voters they could lure.