Rio Blanco County
Entering the county from the south on State Highway 13.
Entering the county from the south on State Highway 13.
Map of Colorado highlighting Rio Blanco County
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
Map of the United States highlighting Colorado
Colorado's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 39°59′N 108°12′W / 39.98°N 108.2°W / 39.98; -108.2
Country United States
State Colorado
FoundedMarch 25, 1889
Named forWhite River
SeatMeeker
Largest townMeeker
Area
 • Total3,223 sq mi (8,350 km2)
 • Land3,221 sq mi (8,340 km2)
 • Water1.9 sq mi (5 km2)  0.06%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2020)
6,529
 • Density2.0/sq mi (0.8/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district3rd
Websitewww.rbc.us

Rio Blanco County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 6,529.[1] The county seat is Meeker.[2] The name of the county is the Spanish language name for the White River which runs through it.

History

Rio Blanco County was created on March 25, 1889, when it was split from Garfield County. The town of Meeker became the county seat.[3]

On May 17, 1973, Rio Blanco County became one of two counties in Colorado to have a peaceful nuclear explosion as a part of Operation Plowshare. There were three nearly simultaneous explosions targeted at fracking oil, all detonated as Project Rio Blanco.[4] The other county is Garfield County under Project Rulison.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,223 square miles (8,350 km2), of which 3,221 square miles (8,340 km2) is land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) (0.06%) is water.[5]

Adjacent counties

Major Highways

National protected areas

Scenic byways

State parks and wildlife areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
18901,200
19001,69040.8%
19102,33238.0%
19203,13534.4%
19302,980−4.9%
19402,943−1.2%
19504,71960.3%
19605,1509.1%
19704,842−6.0%
19806,25529.2%
19905,972−4.5%
20005,9860.2%
20106,66611.4%
20206,529−2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2020[1]

At the 2000 census there were 5,986 people, 2,306 households, and 1,646 families living in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile (1/km2). There were 2,855 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (0/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.01% White, 0.18% Black or African American, 0.77% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 2.02% from other races, and 1.74% from two or more races. 4.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[10] Of the 2,306 households 35.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.10% were married couples living together, 7.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% were non-families. 24.80% of households were one person and 8.70% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.98.

The age distribution was 26.50% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 11.20% 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.60 males.

The median household income was $37,711 and the median family income was $44,425. Males had a median income of $38,125 versus $19,940 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,344. About 6.70% of families and 9.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.60% of those under age 18 and 10.40% of those age 65 or over.

Politics

Rio Blanco is an overwhelmingly Republican county in Presidential elections. It was along with Clark County, Idaho and Kane County, Utah one of only three counties west of the Continental Divide to vote for Alf Landon over Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936. In that election Rio Blanco was Landon's strongest county in the eleven western states, marginally shading normal Republican “banner county” Kane. Since that time only two Democrats – Harry S. Truman in 1948 and Lyndon Johnson who narrowly carried the county in 1964 – have obtained over forty percent of the county's vote. In fact, since 1968 only one Democratic presidential candidate, Michael Dukakis in 1988, and him only very marginally, has topped thirty percent of Rio Blanco County's ballots.

United States presidential election results for Rio Blanco County, Colorado[11]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 3,061 82.93% 561 15.20% 69 1.87%
2016 2,791 80.90% 436 12.64% 223 6.46%
2012 2,724 80.85% 568 16.86% 77 2.29%
2008 2,437 77.44% 655 20.81% 55 1.75%
2004 2,403 80.02% 566 18.85% 34 1.13%
2000 2,185 76.53% 543 19.02% 127 4.45%
1996 1,697 62.50% 731 26.92% 287 10.57%
1992 1,231 43.19% 778 27.30% 841 29.51%
1988 1,821 68.41% 803 30.17% 38 1.43%
1984 2,131 80.81% 484 18.35% 22 0.83%
1980 1,971 74.46% 462 17.45% 214 8.08%
1976 1,439 67.24% 627 29.30% 74 3.46%
1972 1,586 77.25% 414 20.17% 53 2.58%
1968 1,294 64.60% 502 25.06% 207 10.33%
1964 1,015 47.17% 1,134 52.70% 3 0.14%
1960 1,391 63.57% 794 36.29% 3 0.14%
1956 1,593 71.47% 635 28.49% 1 0.04%
1952 1,612 71.42% 633 28.05% 12 0.53%
1948 981 56.03% 752 42.95% 18 1.03%
1944 881 65.89% 451 33.73% 5 0.37%
1940 1,021 65.49% 530 34.00% 8 0.51%
1936 830 55.78% 587 39.45% 71 4.77%
1932 687 44.47% 826 53.46% 32 2.07%
1928 860 65.50% 429 32.67% 24 1.83%
1924 766 60.84% 407 32.33% 86 6.83%
1920 793 62.24% 455 35.71% 26 2.04%
1916 468 39.46% 702 59.19% 16 1.35%
1912 372 33.24% 538 48.08% 209 18.68%


In other statewide elections, Rio Blanco County also leans Republican, although it was carried by Democrat Roy Romer in 1990[12] – when he carried all but four counties statewide – and by Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo in 2010.[13] Rio Blanco County was also carried by Democratic Senatorial candidate “Nighthorse” Campbell in 1992,[14] although since then no Democratic candidate for this office has surpassed thirty percent since.

Communities

Towns

Unincorporated communities

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Rio Blanco County, Colorado Genealogy Guide". Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. July 5, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  4. ^ "Rio Blanco, Colorado, Site". Energy.gov. Department of Energy. Archived from the original on February 27, 2021. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  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 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  11. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  12. ^ Dave Leip’s U.S. Election Atlas; 1990 Gubernatorial General Election Results – Colorado
  13. ^ Dave Leip’s U.S. Election Atlas; 2010 Gubernatorial General Election Results – Colorado
  14. ^ Dave Leip’s U.S. Election Atlas; 1992 Senatorial General Election Results – Colorado
  15. ^ "White River City". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. December 31, 1981.

Coordinates: 39°59′N 108°12′W / 39.98°N 108.20°W / 39.98; -108.20