Boulder County is changing in ways we can’t help but notice, according to 2015-2016 TRENDS report by the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County.
We’re getting grayer, more ethnically diverse, and more of us are living outside of Boulder city limits, the 20th annual review of key community indicators shows.
“Municipalities outside the City of Boulder have seen enormous growth,” says Josie Heath, president of Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. “At the same time, we have a population that is growing older – 13 percent of the county is 65 or older. By 2030, it will be more than 20 percent.”
Today, 1 in 10 of our residents is a senior citizen. By 2030, seniors will grow to be 1 in 5 of our total population.
Now Boulder County has just over 40,000 residents 65 and older. By 2040, the number is expected to more than double with an expected 88,889 seniors aging in place or moving here to be near family or enjoy the Boulder County lifestyle.
This major demographic shift points to potential gaps in housing and transportation to meet the needs of our communities’ aging Baby Boomers, notes the report.
Substantial growth in East County
While Boulder is still the county’s largest municipality, Longmont and East County suburbs are growing quickly. From 2000 to 2013, Boulder grew by 4 percent, while the Town of Erie grew 200 percent, Superior 38 percent, Longmont 25 percent, and Lafayette 14 percent.
Countywide the population increased by nearly 10,000 from 2011 to 2013 alone. During the same period, Boulder grew by less than 2,600.
Demographically, diversity is on the rise in Boulder County as our make-up is becoming more similar to the nation as a whole. Today, Longmont and Lafayette have a percentage of residents who speak a language other than English at home that is comparable nationwide.
The 2015-2016 TRENDS report presents data that show that Latino children, and kids who are economically disadvantaged, are falling behind their peers academically; and that low-income families and Latinos are less likely to have health insurance – even after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
While “this diversity presents an enormous cultural gift” the report notes that with higher rates of poverty in communities of color and an achievement gap in our schools between Anglos and Latinos, “we are also presented with a major community challenge.”
Top earners and poverty rate outpace the nation
About 26 percent of Boulder County’s families earn a median income of more than $150,000 a year, compared with just 12 percent nationwide.
Meanwhile, the local poverty rate is growing. Seven percent of the county’s families with children living in poverty in 2,000 increased to 11 percent in 2013. For Latino children, the statistics grew from a dismal 23 percent in 2000 to a much-worse 39 percent in 2013, which is higher than the nation’s poverty rate for Latino children.
Boulder County’s unemployment rate continues to be lower than Colorado’s. In the first quarter of 2015, the county’s unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, compared to 4.2 percent for the state.
The TRENDS report also decodes a national ranking of how much Boulder County residents give or donate as a percentage of adjusted gross income (among 64 Colorado counties, we rank 44th).
But, it’s not all gloom – the comprehensive report also highlights the county’s many strengths.
“I continue to be impressed by how high we rank in terms of art, creativity and innovation,” says Heath. “As I look at the new data, I’m encouraged, too, by the decline in our teen birth rate, and the resources and opportunities available to our young women.”
To access the 2015-2016 TRENDS report online, visit www.commfound.org/trendsmagazine; to schedule a presentation on its key findings, contact TRENDS Director Erika Stutzman.
You can donate to local non-profits and your contribution will be leverage by pro-rated matching contributions through a contribution through Colorado Gives Day made by Dec. 8.
Images courtesy of Community Foundation Serving Boulder County
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