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Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

Photos and more below.
Photos and more below.

Colorado hasn't been immune from the economic challenges of recent years -- but what communities are doing the best when it comes to shaking off the doldrums? "Cities on the Rise in Colorado," a post on the website NerdWallet, attempts to answer that question -- and many of the communities on its list will come as a surprise. Count down the photo-illustrated top ten below, complete with excerpts from NerdWallet text and stats, as well as the methodology used to determine the rankings.

See also: Photos: Ten best places to see the wild beauty of Colorado

Number 10: Fort Collins

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

Fort Collins, about an hour north of Denver, is a vibrant college town and home to Colorado State University. One of the largest cities in the state, the working-age population in Fort Collins increased 7% to 120,197 from 2009 to 2012. The city is committed to helping small businesses grow by working with Colorado State University's Institute for Entrepreneurship to support early-stage startups and encourage students to start businesses in Fort Collins....

Nearest Big City: Fort Collins

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth: 7 percent

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth: 0.4 percent

2009-2012 Median Income Growth: 7.5 percent

Overall Growth Score: 52.2

Number 9: Aurora

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

Just like the other Denver metro areas on our list, Aurora saw gains in population and median income, according to census data crunched by NerdWallet. Aurora, on the east side of the Denver metro area, is the state's third-largest city, with 251,072 working-age residents in 2012. City officials reported that economic development efforts in Aurora since 2001 have created and sustained 21,225 jobs. Aurora is home to offices of aerospace companies such as the Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon....

Nearest Big City: Denver

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth: 5.5 percent

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth: 1.1 percent

2009-2012 Median Income Growth: 11.5 percent

Overall Growth Score: 59.3

Continue to keep counting NerdWallet's list of Colorado's ten fastest-growing cities.

 

Number 8: Littleton

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

Littleton is just five miles east of Columbine and another thriving metro Denver suburb. Income for full-time workers grew 12.4% to $50,431 from 2009 to 2012. The city, which focuses on sustainable growth, is working to recruit businesses, so residents can live and work in town. Littleton promotes conservation by implementing environmental initiatives such as tree-planting campaigns, hazardous waste recycling and Christmas tree recycling services....

Nearest Big City: Denver

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth:1.8 percent

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth:3.8 percent

2009-2012 Median Income Growth:12.4 percent

Overall Growth Score: 61.7

Number 7: Castle Rock

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

Castle Rock, which straddles the stretch of Interstate 25 south of Denver and north of Colorado Springs, saw its working-age population increase 13.4% to reach 35,953 residents in 2012. The county seat of Douglas County is named for the castle-shaped rock formation that looms over the town. Douglas County was the nation's fastest-growing county from 2000 to 2010, and although the growth has slowed, Castle Rock still attracts hundreds of new residents each year....

Nearest Big City: Denver

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth: 13.4 percent

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth: 3.2 percent

2009-2012 Median Income Growth: 4.1 percent

Overall Growth Score: 62.7

Continue to keep counting NerdWallet's list of Colorado's ten fastest-growing cities.

 

Number 6: Wheat Ridge

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

Wheat Ridge, which is slightly west of downtown Denver, saw the state's second-fastest income increase, up 17% to $45,025, from 2009 to 2012. In addition to jobs in Denver, the largest employers in Wheat Ridge are Exempla Healthcare, Rocky Mountain Bottle Co. and UTI Star Guide Corp., a manufacturer of wire and tubing for medical devices and electronics....

Nearest Big City: Denver

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth: (4.6 percent)

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth: 5.8 percent

2009-2012 Median Income Growth: 17 percent

Overall Growth Score:

Number 5: Denver 65.3

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

Denver, the state's capital and largest city, is booming. Income for full-time, nonseasonal workers increased 14.3% from 2009 to 2012, and the population grew to 497,431 working-age adults. The Denver metro area is home to about 2.7 million people, but planners estimate that the region will grow to nearly 4 million residents by 2030, and gain 800,000 jobs. With its close connection to the outdoors, entrepreneurial spirit and moderate cost of living, Denver is a destination for young urbanites and seasoned professionals....

Nearest Big City: Denver

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth:5.8 percent>

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth: 1.6 percent

2009-2012 Median Income Growth: 14.3 percent

Overall Growth Score: 66.6

Continue to keep counting NerdWallet's list of Colorado's ten fastest-growing cities.

 

Number 4: Northglenn

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

On the opposite side of the Denver metro area, Northglenn experienced similarly strong income and population growth from 2009 to 2012, according to census data crunched by NerdWallet. At least 34 new storefronts have opened in the past year in the city that is home to 871 businesses, according to economic development officials....

Nearest Big City: Denver

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth: 7.3 percent

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth: 1.5 percent

2009-2012 Median Income Growth: 13.6 percent

Overall Growth Score: 67.2

Number 3: Columbine

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

Income in this southwestern Denver suburb increased 15.8% from 2009 to 2012, earning this census-designated place a top spot on our list. The median income for full-time workers in Columbine was $62,398 in 2012, making it one of the top- earning places in the state. Columbine is surrounded by the prosperous suburbs of Littleton and Centennial, and residents commute to jobs in Denver and nearby areas....

Nearest Big City: Denver

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth: 4.2 percent

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth: 2.3 percent

2009-2012 Median Income Growth: 15.8 percent

Overall Growth Score: 68.6

Continue to keep counting NerdWallet's list of Colorado's ten fastest-growing cities.

 

Number 2: Security-Widefield

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

Just north of Fountain on Interstate 25, Security-Widefield, a census-designated place, is experiencing the same rapid growth that put Fountain at the top of our list. Along with an income increase, Security-Widefield's working-age population grew 16.1% to 41,221 in 2012. Most residents work in management, business or sales, and many make the 10-mile drive north to jobs in Colorado Springs, according to census data....

Nearest Big City: Colorado Springs

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth: 16.1 percent

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth: (1.7 percent)

2009-2012 Median Income Growth: 14.3 percent

Overall Growth Score: 75.2

Number 1: Fountain

Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

The city, located south of Colorado Springs, saw a 17.2% increase in median income, the state's biggest rise, for full-time workers from 2009 to 2012. This increase is likely because of the construction boom in the area: new restaurants and retail centers have popped up to serve local residents who previously had to drive to Colorado Springs for shopping and recreation....

Nearest Big City: Colorado Springs

2009-2012 Working-Age Population Growth> 8.7 percent

2009-2012 Employment Growth in Colorado: (4.5 percent)

2009-2012 City Employment Growth Relative to Statewide Growth:1.9 percent

2009-2012 Median Income Growth: 17.2 percent

Overall Growth Score: 77.6

Methodology:

1. Population growth from 2009 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the working-age population (16+) comes from the 2009 and 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 3-year estimates for all places in the state, Table CP 03.

2. Employment growth from 2009 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. We evaluated growth in the percentage of employed residents from 2009 to 2012 relative to the statewide employment growth over the same period. Data for the percent of employed residents comes from the 2009 and 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 3-year estimates for all places in the state, Table CP 03.

3. Income growth from 2009 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the median earnings for full-time, nonseasonal workers comes from the 2009 and 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 3-year estimates for all places in the state, Table S2409.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.


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