Census shows population outpaced housing growth

Granby, Fraser see largest number of new residents

Figures depict population growth and losses in Grand County from 2010 to 2020 by town. Grand Lake was the only Grand County town that saw a decrease in population over the 10-year period.
Graphics by McKenna Harford /

In the past decade, Grand County’s population got older and more diverse, while housing has struggled to keep up with the new growth.

According to the 2020 Census, the county added 874 residents for a 5.9% increase in population, which falls behind Colorado’s overall population growth at 15%, but is in line with surrounding counties.

For comparison, Routt County grew by 5.6% and Eagle County grew by 6.8%, while Summit saw one of the largest population increases in the area with 10.9% growth. Jackson and Moffat counties both shrunk in population, losing 1.1% and 3.6% of their residents, respectively.

Though Grand gained in population, it lost a chunk of its youngest residents with the number of residents ages 0-17 dropping by 13% or 391 people. Meanwhile, residents over 18 increased by 10.7% or 1,265 people.

Since 2010, Grand has also seen more residents identifying as Hispanic, Latino, an unlisted race or two or more races. Black and African-American residents grew by 15.7%, Native Americans grew by 7.7%, and Hispanics and Latinos grew by 37.4%.

Race and ethnicity in Grand County in 2020.

At the same time, residents identifying as an unlisted race exploded by 630% and those identifying as two or more races increased by 166.5%. Overall, the non-white population grew from 10.3% in 2010 to 14.5% in 2020.

Grand’s new residents are spread out across the county with every town except Grand Lake gaining people. Over 60 people left Grand Lake in the past decade, leaving the population of the town at 410 people. Of the municipalities, Granby and Fraser saw the highest population growth with 215 and 176 new residents, respectively.

Winter Park Fraser Chamber of Commerce Director Catherine Ross said the growth in the Fraser area is reflected in the towns’ recent healthy tax revenues.

“Especially in Fraser, we’ve seen year-round increases in sales taxes,” Ross said. “I’d love to see if some of (the new residents) are people that moved to their mountain homes full-time during COVID.”

Population by age in Grand County.

Census data did measure a slower growth rate of housing units in the county compared to Grand’s population increase. In total, the county has 16,633 housing units, but just 572 of those were added in the last 10 years.

Of the total housing units, less than half are occupied and 9,627 units are considered vacant. The Census defines housing as vacant if no one lives in the unit or if the owners have a primary residence elsewhere.

From 2000 to 2010, Grand County added 5,167 housing units, more than nine times the amount of housing units added between 2010 and 2020.

According to Grand County Communications Director Christine Travis, the census results will help inform a number of county actions moving forward, including budgeting, discussions on short-term rentals, county precincts and more.

Travis added the participation rate for the census doubled between 2010 and 2020, with 60% of residents responding. The higher response rate is important because many federal and state programs use the data to allocate funding to counties and municipalities.

County Manager Ed Moyer is planning a presentation before county commissioners to discuss the results and potential impacts to the county.

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