Population and Demographics
Colorado’s fifth largest county by population
Adams County has a total population of 441,603 residents (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010) and is Colorado’s fifth largest county by population. Of those five most populous counties, Adams County has experienced the greatest population growth since 2000 with the total population increasing 21.4% in the last decade (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).
Second highest proportion of youth to adults with preschoolers making the largest age group
Of Colorado’s 64 counties, Adams County has the second highest proportion of youth to adults. In 2009, 128,059 out of 442,971 Adams County residents (29%) were youth – nearly 9 percent higher than the state average. Along with a large proportion of youth overall, Adams County has a very large number of young children – with 37,669 (8.5%) of residents under the age of 5 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010), making preschoolers the largest age group of citizens in the county.
Birthrate of 82.8 births per 1,000 women
The total population of Adams County is also increasing rapidly; gaining 18,592 residents in the past two years alone. And along with population growth overall, Adams County has seen a drastic increase in the number of young children. In 2010 alone, there were 7,212 live births in Adams County – a rate of 82.8 births per 1,000 women (much higher than the Colorado average of 67.7).
In addition to a higher-than-average proportion of children in Adams County, the area is more ethnically diverse than most other areas of the state. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Adams County’s population is 38 percent Hispanic/Latino – nearly twice the statewide proportion. The proportions of American Indian, Asian, and Multi-Race people are also higher than that of Colorado as a whole. Also, more than one-fourth of Adams County children age 5 and older speak a language other than English at home – a proportion that is ten percent higher than the rest of the state (2005- 2009 American Community Survey). County demographic breakdowns, compared to Colorado, are displayed in Graph 1.
Adams County is also among the most ethnically diverse areas in the state. While the population is predominantly White (73.3%), however thirty eight percent of persons are of Hispanic or Latino descent (much higher than the Colorado average of 20.7%), and people of one or more other races account for another 8% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).
Adams County residents are, on average, characterized by lower levels of educational attainment compared to other Colorado counties. In 2010, 25 percent of Adams County residents age 18-25 were non-high school graduates, compared with only 15 percent statewide. Among Adams County residents 25 years and older, nearly 9 percent had not finished ninth grade, and another 11.5 percent had finished some high school, but not graduated. Each of these rates is roughly twice the statewide average (2010 U.S. Census). Among Adams County adults who did not graduate from high school, 14 percent are unemployed, and nearly 20 percent live below the poverty line. These alarmingly low rates of graduation and high rates of poverty result in a high-risk environment for the children of Adams County; as family poverty has been called the “fundamental driver of low graduation rates” (Balfanz & Legters, 2006).
Poverty and need
How does Adams County compare to other counties in Colorado? Demographic data show that Adams County is home to many families living in poverty, and the poverty rate has increased rapidly from 2003-2011 (graph below). In 2009, the average per-capita income of residents was roughly 25 percent lower than the state average, and by 2012 nearly half of Adams County students (48.3%) qualified for free or reduced-price lunches; a proportion that has increased steadily in each of the past 5 years. Adams County also has a higher rate of births to single women (27% vs. 24% for the state), teen birth rate (43.5 vs. 27.8, per 1,000 births), and uninsured children (13.3 vs. 9.7%) (2013 Kids Count in Colorado Annual Report).
Please note, all graphs are also available for viewing in our annual Partnership Report