Boulder County, Colorado

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Boulder County
Boulder County Courthouse
Boulder County Courthouse
Official seal of Boulder County
Map of Colorado highlighting Boulder County
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
Map of the United States highlighting Colorado
Colorado's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 40°05′N 105°22′W / 40.09°N 105.36°W / 40.09; -105.36
Country United States
State Colorado
FoundedNovember 1, 1861
Named forlarge granite boulders in area
SeatBoulder
Largest cityBoulder
Area
 • Total740 sq mi (1,900 km2)
 • Land726 sq mi (1,880 km2)
 • Water14 sq mi (40 km2)  1.9%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2020)
330,758[1]
 • Density460/sq mi (176/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional districts2nd, 4th
Websitewww.bouldercounty.org

Boulder County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado of the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 330,758.[1] The most populous municipality in the county and the county seat is Boulder.[2]

Boulder County comprises the Boulder, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the DenverAurora, CO Combined Statistical Area.[3]

History[edit]

Boulder County was one of the original 17 counties created by the Territory of Colorado on November 1, 1861. The county was named for Boulder City and Boulder Creek, so named because of the abundance of boulders in the creek which hampered early gold prospecting efforts. Boulder County retains essentially the same borders as in 1861, although a 27.5 square miles (71.2 km2) of its southeastern corner and its approximate population of 40,000 became part of the City and County of Broomfield in 2001.

Before the arrival of the first US settlers, the area was occupied by Native Americans led by Chief Niwot on the plains and seasonally by Utes in the mountains to the west. The first European American settlers were gold prospectors led by Captain Thomas Aikins. His group of about twenty settled at the mouth of Boulder Creek Canyon on October 17, 1858. Chief Niwot told them not to stay and it is said they promised to move into the mountains to prospect in the spring. However in February 1859, they founded the town of Boulder. At about the same time, they also founded the first Gold Mining town in what would become Colorado, Gold Hill which is about 10 miles west from Boulder. Gold Hill was founded because of the placer gold discovered there. The area was the site of the first commercial scale placer mine in Colorado, producing over 5,500 ounces of gold in the first year of operations (1859).[4]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 740 square miles (1,900 km2), of which 726 square miles (1,880 km2) is land and 14 square miles (36 km2) (1.9%) is water.[5]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major Highways[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Rocky Mountain National Park is in Boulder County, Larimer County, and Grand County. Longs Peak, the park's highest summit at 4,345 meters (14,255 feet) elevation, is located in Boulder County.

State protected area[edit]

Scenic trails and byways[edit]

Historic district[edit]

Boulder and the mountains to the west of the city

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18701,939
18809,723401.4%
189014,08244.8%
190021,54453.0%
191030,33040.8%
192031,8615.0%
193032,4561.9%
194037,43815.4%
195048,29629.0%
196074,25453.7%
1970131,88977.6%
1980189,62543.8%
1990226,37419.4%
2000271,65120.0%
2010294,5678.4%
2020330,75812.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2020[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 271,651 people, 114,680 households, and 68,808 families residing in the county. The population density was 392 people per square mile (151/km2). There were 119,900 housing units at an average density of 162 per square mile (62/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.54% White, 0.88% Black or African American, 0.61% Native American, 3.06% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 4.67% from other races, and 2.18% from two or more races. 10.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 114,680 households, out of which 30.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.90% were married couples living together, 7.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.00% were non-families. 26.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.90% under the age of 18, 13.40% from 18 to 24, 33.60% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.70 males.

In 2014, the median income for a household in the county was $69,407, and the median income for a family was $94,938.[11] Males had a median income of $65,489 versus $48,140 for females. About 7.0% of families and 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.6% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.

In 2017 Bloomberg ranked the Boulder metropolitan area as the top "brain" area in the US.[12]

Government[edit]

Boulder County is divided into three districts each represented by a commissioner elected county-wide. The three commissioners comprise the county Board of Commissioners and represent the county as a whole. Each commissioner must reside in their respective district and may be elected to a maximum of two four-year terms.

The Board of County Commissioners are full-time public servants and approve the budget for the entire County government. The Board also oversees the management of 10 County departments and the daily operations of the county, work that is done by a county manager or a chief administrative officer in some counties.

Boulder County has seven other county-wide elected officials, including the District Attorney, who represents the 20th Judicial District.[13]

Elected officials[14][edit]

Name Office Year Term Began Year Re-Elected
Claire Levy County Commissioner 2020
Marta Loachamin County Commissioner 2020
Matt Jones County Commissioner 2018
Cynthia Braddock Assessor 2017 2018
Molly Fitzpatrick Clerk and Recorder 2018
Emma R. Hall Coroner 2011 2014, 2018
Michael Dougherty District Attorney 2018
Joe Pelle Sheriff 2003 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018
Lee Stadele Surveyor 2015 2018
Paul Weissmann Treasurer 2015 2018

Politics[edit]

Boulder County went Republican in all but three presidential elections from 1920 to 1984, the exceptions being the national Democratic landslides of 1932, 1936 and 1964. However, it has swung heavily to the Democrats since the late 1980s, and has supported Democrats at every election since 1988. Since the 1990s, it has become one of the most liberal counties in Colorado; in most years, it is the second-strongest Democratic bastion in the state, behind only the City and County of Denver. The GOP has not crossed the 40% mark in the county since 1988. This tracks closely with the Democratic trend in other counties dominated by college towns.

In recent years, the GOP has turned in some of its worst showings in the county in memory. Republicans took less than 28% of the vote in Boulder County in both 2008 and 2012, only 22% in 2016, and just over 20% in 2020.

In 2000, Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader took 11.82% of the vote in Boulder County, more than twice the 5.25% he took statewide in Colorado, and more than four times his 2.73% nationwide vote share.[15]

Presidential election results
Boulder County vote
by party in presidential elections
[16]
Year Republican Democratic Others
2020 20.6% 42,501 77.2% 159,089 2.2% 4,521
2016 22.0% 41,396 70.3% 132,334 7.7% 14,415
2012 27.8% 49,981 69.7% 125,091 2.5% 4,427
2008 26.1% 44,904 72.3% 124,159 1.6% 2,700
2004 32.4% 51,586 66.3% 105,564 1.3% 2,109
2000 36.4% 50,873 50.1% 69,983 13.5% 18,770
1996 34.6% 41,922 52.2% 63,316 13.3% 16,116
1992 26.5% 33,553 50.9% 64,567 22.6% 28,651
1988 44.9% 48,174 53.4% 57,265 1.7% 1,784
1984 55.1% 53,535 43.4% 42,195 1.5% 1,493
1980 46.7% 40,698 32.6% 28,422 20.6% 17,949
1976 52.7% 42,830 41.0% 33,284 6.3% 5,139
1972 56.8% 40,766 41.1% 29,484 2.1% 1,520
1968 57.7% 27,671 36.3% 17,422 6.0% 2,895
1964 43.1% 17,373 56.4% 22,737 0.6% 220
1960 61.5% 19,791 38.1% 12,276 0.4% 130
1956 66.9% 16,748 32.6% 8,149 0.6% 142
1952 65.3% 15,069 33.7% 7,767 1.1% 243
1948 52.1% 10,335 44.3% 8,792 3.6% 712
1944 57.1% 10,054 42.3% 7,442 0.7% 114
1940 53.2% 10,525 45.7% 9,039 1.1% 212
1936 41.4% 7,244 55.9% 9,788 2.7% 469
1932 44.8% 7,487 50.4% 8,412 4.8% 808
1928 67.5% 9,457 31.1% 4,363 1.4% 195
1924 58.8% 7,595 25.3% 3,273 15.9% 2,059
1920 57.9% 6,456 37.7% 4,200 4.4% 492
1916 33.0% 3,986 61.5% 7,419 5.5% 666
1912 23.0% 2,445 40.8% 4,330 36.2% 3,845
1908 41.7% 4,856 49.6% 5,772 8.6% 1,001
1904 53.9% 5,483 39.6% 4,030 6.4% 659
1900 40.5% 3,719 55.8% 5,117 3.6% 332
1896 14.3% 1,033 83.8% 6,046 1.8% 130
1892 36.4% 1,338 63.5% 2,336
1888 54.9% 1,639 39.4% 1,176 5.5% 166
1884 51.5% 1,445 34.0% 954 14.3% 402
1880 54.6% 1,313 33.1% 796 12.2% 293

Boulder County has also demonstrated its progressive leanings in referenda on social issues, such as in 2006, when nearly 2/3 of Boulder County voters voted to reject Amendment 43, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Although the amendment passed statewide with 55% of the vote, only 33% of Boulder County supported it.[17] In 2012, over 66% of Boulder County voted in favor of Amendment 64, legalizing marijuana in the state of Colorado.

Local courts[edit]

The 20th Judicial District of Colorado, the state trial court of general jurisdiction, serves and is coextensive with Boulder County. As of 2009 the 20th Judicial Circuit has eight District Court judges. The Boulder County Court, the state trial court of limited jurisdiction, consists of five judges and six magistrates.

Boulder County has two combined courthouses:

  • The Boulder County Justice Center is located in the City of Boulder and is headquarters to the 20th Judicial District of Colorado. The office of the district attorney is also here, as is the Juvenile Assessment Center, the county's combined assessment and detention facility.
  • The Longmont Courthouse in the City of Longmont acts as an extension of the County Court and the District Attorney's Office.[18]

Communities[edit]

Boulder County, Colorado

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. ^ "OMB Bulletin No. 10-02: Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses" (PDF). Office of Management and Budget. December 1, 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 21, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2012 – via National Archives.
  4. ^ Jerome Constant Smiley (1913). Semi-centennial History of the State of Colorado. Brookhaven Press. pp. 219–. ISBN 978-1-4035-0045-8.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  11. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  12. ^ Vincent Del Giudice, Wei Lu, and Agnel Philip (October 10, 2017). "The Smartest Americans Are Heading West". Retrieved October 11, 2017 – via www.bloomberg.com.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Boulder County Board of County Commissioners". Boulder County. Archived from the original on December 10, 2007. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  14. ^ "Elected Officials". Boulder County. Retrieved October 22, 2021.
  15. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  16. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  17. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  18. ^ "20th Judicial District/Boulder County". Colorado State Courts. Archived from the original on January 27, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2009.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°05′N 105°22′W / 40.09°N 105.36°W / 40.09; -105.36