People born in Colorado make up less than half of the state’s population

Denverite’s Chart of the Week looks at native vs. transplant Coloradans.
2 min. read
The map shows the percentage of people living in Colorado born in each state and uses 2015 U.S. Census Data. (Adrian D. Garcia/Denverite)

It's not their imagination, Colorado natives really are outnumbered.

For today's Chart of the Week, we looked at native versus transplant Coloradans and where people living in the Centennial State were born.

The majority of people who call Colorado home can't honestly slap those ubiquitous "native" stickers on their bumpers. Fifty-seven percent of residents are transplants who were born in other states and countries, according to data released this month from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The 2015 data shows people born in another country made up the largest share (11 percent) of non-natives residing in the Centennial State. That's followed by the 6 percent — 328,627 people — from California and 3 percent — 182,716 people — from Texas.

True natives number 2.3 million — almost 43 percent of the population. There's reason to believe the share of people born and living in the state is on the decline, though Colorado has been a destination for transplants for a long time.

According to this Voronoi treemap map — that's right, chart geeks, it's a brand new type of map — from the New York Times, 46 percent of residents were native in 1950. The Times' map also shows that Colorado is sort of middle of the pack in terms of the size of its native population. We have fewer transplants than states like Florida and Nevada but more than much of the South, Midwest and Northeast.

Perhaps it's worth noting that being one of the Centennial State's chosen people doesn't get you much besides being able to complain more vocally about the direction the state is headed and boast about what generation of Coloradan you are (especially while running for office). Hailing from a long line of people with "Colorado" on their birth certificates isn't even worth fancy license plates anymore.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia is a native and sixth-generation Coloradan (he checked). He can be reached via email at [email protected] or

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