Surrounding cities lift Denver’s population
L.A. and Chicago trail when it comes to revving the Colorado capital city’s migration motor
Complaints about overcrowding in metro Denver tend to center on “those out-of-staters.” What is often missed is that most of the newcomers came from places much closer.
Lawnstarter, an online landscape scheduling service, dug into the migration numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey between 2010 to 2014.
Boulder sent metro Denver 9,084 new residents a year on average during that time frame, while Colorado Springs sent 6,274, Greeley sent 4,478 and Fort Collins sent 4,217, according to the analysis.
So how does that compare to the megametros? Los Angeles, with a population of 18.6 million, sent an average of 3,815 residents a year during the period studied, while the Dallas-Forth Worth area, population 6 million, sent 3,045. Chicago, population 2.7 million, sent 2,824.
State demographer Elizabeth Garner said Colorado has one of the highest rates of net migrants per capita of any state.
“Colorado has ranked fifth, seventh, fourth, fifth and third since 2011 in its net migration per resident population,” Garner said.
But metro Denver ranks second in the country for the share of newcomers who come from within state borders.
“A larger share of its growth comes from within state compared to other metro areas,” she said.
With migration, it is also important to look at the people moving out of an area and not just moving in. About an equal number of people moved to Denver from Atlanta as moved from Denver to Atlanta during the four years studied.
Phoenix was another city where the migration with Denver was a wash, and Houston, while slightly in Denver’s favor, was somewhat balanced.
Then there are the two cities that stand out for lopsided flows. New York City sent 1,684 more residents than it took back per year from Denver. Chicago was another big net sender, sending 2,824 people a year while taking back 1,190, resulting in a net gain of 1,634 residents for Denver.
Denver takes three residents for every two it loses in the migration tug-ofwar with San Francisco, Dallas and Washington, D.C., and won when pitted against major metros except for one.
Seattle beat Denver for net migration, attracting five Denver residents for every four of its own who moved the other way, or 449 people a year on average in its favor.