The Facts Behind the Changing Face of Denver

It's not only millennials who've been moving to Denver.EXPAND
It's not only millennials who've been moving to Denver.
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A flood of fresh data from the U.S. Census Bureau has provided plenty of insights about how Colorado has been changing, as we've revealed in recent posts about the states that have provided the most transplants and the ways the population has changed from 2010 to 2018.

If anything, the metamorphosis in Denver has been at least as profound, if not more so, as the latest facts and figures collected by the agency make abundantly clear.

We've pulled together statistics about age, race, housing costs, education, employment and income levels and the like in an effort to capture a snapshot of Denver at this moment in time.

Continue to learn more about the place you call home.
Number 1: Denver is experiencing a mini-baby boom

Of Denver's 716,492 residents circa July of last year, 6.4 percent of them were less than five years old. The total is above the national average of 6.1 percent and half a point more than the 5.9 percent registered by Colorado as a whole.

This number stands out even more given that the 20.4 percent of Denver dwellers under eighteen years of age is actually lower than the numbers for Colorado (22.24 percent) and the U.S. overall (22.4 percent). That means the total of pre-adults in Denver is tilted toward the very young.

On the other end of the scale, Denver boasts fewer citizens over 65 years old (11.2 percent) than either Colorado (14.2 percent) or the U.S. (16.0 percent), on average. The Mile High City is aging, but less rapidly than the state or the country.

Number 2: More than white people

Folks in Denver who identify as Caucasian often include other elements in their personal mix. White Denver residents make up 76.9 percent of the populace, as compared to 87.1 percent in Colorado and 76.5 percent nationwide. But the digits slide to 53.6 percent when those who are part Hispanic or Latino are subtracted. (The state and U.S. numbers in this category also tumble, to 67.9 percent and 60.4 percent, respectively.) As for people who qualify as Hispanic or Latino, and often other groups, too, they represent 30.5 percent of Denver — more than the 21.7 statewide and 18.3 percent across America.

In other respects, Denver's diversity is wanting. The 9.5 percent of city residents who are black or African-American may be more than double the Colorado sum (4.6 percent), but it's significantly below the 13.4 percent for the United States. And Denver's percentages for American Indians and Alaska natives (1.0 percent), Asians (3.6 percent) and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders (0.1 percent) fall short of the country's figures (1.3 percent, 5.9 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively).

An exception to this rule: There's a higher percentage of foreign-born Denver residents (15.8 percent) than there are in Colorado (9.8 percent) and the U.S. (13.4 percent) generally.

Number 3: Denver rents more, and pays more

Just over half (50.1 percent) of people who live in Denver own the place they call home. That's a lot less than in Colorado (64.7 percent) and the U.S. (63.8 percent).

The median value of these homes from 2013 to 2017 was $322,900 — considerably higher than the Colorado figure ($286,100) and way more than in the United States ($193,500). Likewise, the monthly costs are higher for those with a mortgage ($1,647 for Denver, $1,623 for Colorado, $1,515 for the U.S.) — although prices for people in Denver who don't have a mortgage are a little bit lower than the national average ($453 versus $474).

As for median gross rent from 2013 to 2017, Denver, at $1,131, beats Colorado ($1,125) and the U.S. ($982). Big surprise.

New places for new residents.EXPAND
New places for new residents.

Number 4: People in Denver like to move

The average household size in Denver from 2013 to 2017 was 2.31 persons — a smaller digit than Colorado's (2.55 persons) or America's (2.63 persons). But only about 79 percent of Denver residents age one or older were still in the same house where they lived the previous year during that span, as opposed to 81.3 percent in Colorado and 85.4 percent in the United States.

More than a quarter of these people five years or older spoke a language other than English in these homes during the period: 26.7 percent. In Colorado, that number was 16.9 percent; in the U.S., it was 21.3 percent.

Number 5: An education anomaly

Denver has long had a reputation for having a very educated citizenry — so it comes as a surprise that the percentage of residents with a high school degree or higher from 2013 to 2017 (86.7 percent) was actually lower than the averages in Colorado (91.1 percent) and the U.S. (87.3 percent).

This unexpected data gets a twist, however. The percentage of people in Denver with a bachelor's degree or higher during these years was 46.5 percent, which easily exceeds the number for Colorado (39.4 percent) and completely swamps the one for the U.S. (30.9 percent). The takeaway: Inhabitants of Denver are much less likely to stop at high school than are those in Colorado or the U.S.

Number 6: It's a good thing Denver is known for being healthy

From 2013 to 2017, the percentage of Denver residents under 65 classified as disabled stood at 6.5 percent. That's better than in Colorado (7.3 percent) or the U.S. (8.7 percent).

Unfortunately, Denver's rate is much worse when it comes to health insurance. Of all Mile High locals under 65, those without such a policy stood at 12.8 percent. Both Colorado (8.6 percent) and the U.S. (10 percent) have less problematic stats.

Number 7: Denver works

The bureau calculates that 71 percent of folks age sixteen or older in Denver were part of the civilian labor force as of 2013-2017 — more than in Colorado (67.4 percent) or the U.S. (63.0 percent). Similar but slightly lower percentages are seen for female members of the work force over sixteen: 65.8 percent in Denver, 62.4 percent in Colorado, 58.2 percent around the country.

Regarding the time it takes us to get to these jobs, the estimates aren't nearly as egregious as anticipated. The mean travel time to work for Denver employees sixteen years or older from 2013 to 2017 was 25.3 minutes — only a little more than the 25.2 minutes for Colorado and better than the 26.4 minute U.S. average.

It's probably worse now....

Number 8: A poor showing

The median household income for people in Denver from 2013-2017 came in at $60,098, as calculated in 2017 dollars — less than the Colorado amount ($65,458), but more than the U.S. calculation ($57,652). And Denver's per capita income for 2017, at $38,991, substantially topped Colorado's ($34,845) and the United States' ($31,177).

Nonetheless, the members of our Denver family in poverty is a stunning 15.1 percent; it was 9.6 percent in Colorado and 11.8 percent nationwide. That's an achievement for which Denver should take absolutely no pride.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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