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

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

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]

Further information: Curse of the Boulder Valley

Recent events

Main article: 2021–2022 Boulder County fires

In late December 2021, the Marshall Fire raged through the parched lands near Boulder, Colorado. Marshall Fire is the most destructive in Colorado's history.[5] The fire impacted City of Superior, City of Louisville and unincorporated Boulder County areas. 991 homes were destroyed with an additional 127 damaged. Over 13,000 people in Superior and 21,000 in Louisville were ultimately evacuated while the fire was spreading due to unusual 100 mile per hour winds. Additionally, one person died and another is missing and presumed dead.[6] The cause of the fire has not been officially announced, pending an investigation.[7] However, an incident report filed by a ranger with Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks identified two ignition points for the fire. The first ignition point was a shed that began to burn at approximately 11:30AM MST, 30 December 2021. The second ignition point was upwind from the first, and started around noon of the same day on "western side of the Marshall Mesa trailhead."[8][9][10]

Geography

View of the eastern and southern borders of Boulder County and adjacent areas in Weld, Broomfield, and Jefferson counties, with north oriented to the left. The city of Boulder is near the lower border. Taken from the International Space Station on July 1, 2022.
View of the eastern and southern borders of Boulder County and adjacent areas in Weld, Broomfield, and Jefferson counties, with north oriented to the left. The city of Boulder is near the lower border. Taken from the International Space Station on July 1, 2022.

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.[11]

Adjacent counties

Major Highways

National protected areas

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

Scenic trails and byways

Historic district

Boulder and the mountains to the west of the city

Demographics

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[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2020[1]

As of the census[16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

Government

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.[19]

Elected officials

Name[20] 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

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.[21]

United States presidential election results for Boulder County, Colorado[22]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 42,501 20.62% 159,089 77.19% 4,521 2.19%
2016 41,396 22.00% 132,334 70.34% 14,415 7.66%
2012 49,981 27.84% 125,091 69.69% 4,427 2.47%
2008 44,904 26.14% 124,159 72.29% 2,700 1.57%
2004 51,586 32.39% 105,564 66.28% 2,109 1.32%
2000 50,873 36.44% 69,983 50.12% 18,770 13.44%
1996 41,922 34.55% 63,316 52.17% 16,116 13.28%
1992 33,553 26.47% 64,567 50.93% 28,651 22.60%
1988 48,174 44.93% 57,265 53.41% 1,784 1.66%
1984 53,535 55.06% 42,195 43.40% 1,493 1.54%
1980 40,698 46.74% 28,422 32.64% 17,949 20.61%
1976 42,830 52.71% 33,284 40.96% 5,139 6.32%
1972 40,766 56.80% 29,484 41.08% 1,520 2.12%
1968 27,671 57.66% 17,422 36.30% 2,895 6.03%
1964 17,373 43.08% 22,737 56.38% 220 0.55%
1960 19,791 61.47% 12,276 38.13% 130 0.40%
1956 16,748 66.89% 8,149 32.55% 142 0.57%
1952 15,069 65.29% 7,767 33.65% 243 1.05%
1948 10,335 52.09% 8,792 44.32% 712 3.59%
1944 10,054 57.09% 7,442 42.26% 114 0.65%
1940 10,525 53.22% 9,039 45.71% 212 1.07%
1936 7,244 41.39% 9,788 55.93% 469 2.68%
1932 7,487 44.81% 8,412 50.35% 808 4.84%
1928 9,457 67.48% 4,363 31.13% 195 1.39%
1924 7,595 58.75% 3,273 25.32% 2,059 15.93%
1920 6,456 57.91% 4,200 37.67% 492 4.41%
1916 3,986 33.02% 7,419 61.46% 666 5.52%
1912 2,445 23.02% 4,330 40.77% 3,845 36.21%
1908 4,856 41.76% 5,772 49.63% 1,001 8.61%
1904 5,483 53.90% 4,030 39.62% 659 6.48%
1900 3,719 40.57% 5,117 55.81% 332 3.62%
1896 1,033 14.33% 6,046 83.87% 130 1.80%
1892 1,338 36.42% 0 0.00% 2,336 63.58%
1888 1,639 54.98% 1,176 39.45% 166 5.57%
1884 1,445 51.59% 954 34.06% 402 14.35%
1880 1,313 54.66% 796 33.14% 293 12.20%


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.[23] In 2012, over 66% of Boulder County voted in favor of Amendment 64, legalizing marijuana in the state of Colorado.

Local courts

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:

Communities

Boulder County, Colorado
Boulder County, Colorado

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Education

School districts serving Boulder County include:[25]

See also

References

  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. ^ "How big was the Marshall Fire? Comparing the Colorado blaze to past destructive events". Sacbee.com. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  6. ^ "Identity of final person missing from Marshall fire confirmed as investigators uncover bone fragments". www.cpr.org. January 22, 2022. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  7. ^ "Colorado Wildfires Burn Hundreds of Homes, Force Evacuations". Dfw.cbslocal.com. December 30, 2021.
  8. ^ "Videos show Marshall Fire started by 2 separate ignition points less than a mile apart". 9news.com. March 7, 2021. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  9. ^ "$12 million donated to Boulder County Wildfire Fund". Kusa.com.
  10. ^ "2 missing, 991 homes destroyed in Marshall Fire". KUSA.com. December 30, 2021. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  14. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  18. ^ Vincent Del Giudice, Wei Lu, and Agnel Philip (October 10, 2017). "The Smartest Americans Are Heading West". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved October 11, 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  19. ^ "Boulder County Board of County Commissioners". Boulder County. Archived from the original on December 10, 2007. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  20. ^ "Elected Officials". Boulder County. Retrieved October 22, 2021.
  21. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  22. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  23. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  24. ^ "20th Judicial District/Boulder County". Colorado State Courts. Archived from the original on January 27, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  25. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Boulder County, CO" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 19, 2022. - Text list