Here's Where All Those Colorado Transplants Are Coming From

Here's Where All Those Colorado Transplants Are Coming From
Among the questions asked most frequently by Coloradans is this one: "Where the hell did all these new people come from?"

We've got the answer — or at least the U.S. Census Bureau does.

The agency has been in the news during recent months because of the Trump administration's now-abandoned effort to put a question about citizenship status on the 2020 census, allegedly to help Republicans gain an advantage when it comes to redistricting, which is scheduled to get under way the following year. But most of the counting done by the agency is apolitical.

An example is released-this-week 2018 data that reveals where residents of each state were born. And the information about our fair state is fascinating even as it confirms plenty of suspicions about which American places are churning out the most transplants to Colorado.

The figures show that fewer than half of the folks currently living in Colorado have original roots. Of the total population, 5,695,564 (an increase of 88,410 from 2017), only 2,388,284 million started out here.

A far lower number, 635,176, hail from foreign countries (the assorted nations aren't specified — and the total includes those "born at sea"). There are just shy of 15,000 from Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories. So the remainder came here from one of the other 49 states or Washington, D.C.

Which ones? We've broken them into seven brackets: fewer than 10,000, between 10,001 and 20,000, between 20,001 and 30,000, between 30,001 and 40,000, between 40,001 and 50,000, between 50,001 and 100,000, and more than 100,000. The ones in the last category are unlikely to surprise you, but try to resist getting pissed. Here in Colorado, we're all about love!


Delaware (4,213)
Maine (9,320)
New Hampshire (7,413)
Rhode Island (4,737)
Vermont (5,787)
West Virginia (8,724)

As you can see, four of these six entries are New England states of modest size, and one the small, nearby state of Delaware, which likely explains the comparatively low numbers. The exception is West Virginia, which is regularly listed among the handful of the country's poorest states. We're guessing that more West Virginians would get here if they possibly could.


Alabama (17,673)
Alaska (13,500)
Arkansas (16,907)
Hawaii (16,118)
Idaho (18,438)
Kentucky (16,959)
Mississippi (13,071)
Nevada (17,712)
South Carolina (12,707)
Washington, D.C. (14,064)

Like West Virginia, five of these nine states (plus Washington, D.C.) are in the South. But also grouped here are Alaska and Hawaii, plus two states in the western section of the continental U.S., Idaho and Nevada, that share some geographical similarities with Colorado but aren't as good. Obviously.


Connecticut (25,501)
Maryland (25,943)
Montana (23,647)
North Dakota (20,986)
Oregon (29,827)
Tennessee (25,362)

Even more folks are fleeing the South! Additional New Englanders are splitting! The West is best, but some parts of it are better!


Georgia (34,600)
Louisiana (33,600)
North Carolina (31,557)
South Dakota (32,739)

The exodus continues in more populous states around the country, plus South Dakota, which has less than one-third the residents (882,235) of the Denver metro area (2,932,415). As such, the 32,739 South Dakotans who now live in Colorado represent nearly 4 percent of their old state's population. Sorry, Pierre and Sioux Falls.


Indiana (48,595)
Massachusetts (43,656)
Utah (44,759)
Virginia (40,644)
Washington (47,350)
Wyoming (40,645)

The most interesting entries here are Utah and Wyoming, a pair of neighboring states with smallish populations — yet more than 40,000 people from each wound up here.


Arizona (57,999)
Florida (65,910)
Iowa (78,211)
Michigan (93,910)
Minnesota (72,835)
Missouri (70,746)
Nebraska (88,400)
New Jersey (58,004)
New Mexico (79,706)
Ohio (88,122)
Oklahoma (57,575)
Pennsylvania (80,406)
Wisconsin (60,908)

The huge numbers of transplants from these thirteen states speak volumes about the wide appeal of Colorado. There are more neighboring states (Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma), where lotsa folks realize that the grass is greener on our side of the fence. Add in Arizonans and Floridians sick of their particular brand of heat and lots of ex-Midwesterners who've had more than enough of the humidity, and the result is an even longer line to get into Colorado.


California (365,982)
Kansas (101,329)
Illinois (155,086)
New York (135,248)
Texas (200,481)

More than 135,000 New Yorkers. Over 155,000 Illinois natives who reached their limit. A whopping 200K from Texas. And so many Californians that if they all lived in one place, it would instantly become the fourth-largest city in the state. If that doesn't put Colorado's incredible growth into perspective, nothing will.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts