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Rural Colorado’s white population is declining, and minorities are transforming the region’s culture and economy

Article subtitle: 
Latino residents were barely a blip on the radar in 1980, but their numbers now approach the white population in some rural Colorado communities
Article publisher: 
Denver Post
Article date: 
November 9, 2017
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 

In a study released this year that looked at 278 rural counties in 11 Western states, Headwaters Economics, a nonprofit research group out of Bozeman, Mont...

“The vast majority have minorities increasing, in many cases either slowing or reversing overall population decline,” says Kelly Pohl, researcher and co-author of the study...

Over the past 35 years, 40 percent of Western counties have seen population declines either slowed or reversed by minority increases, according to the study...

In Colorado, about 40 percent of the under-24 population is non-white...

But there are also places such as Eagle County, the second fastest-growing Western county since 1980, where a burgeoning overall population has been augmented by robust minority growth. Proximity to the Vail resorts, and their accompanying jobs, has fueled much of the expansion as the Lation population spiked from just 849 in 1980 to more than 15,000 in 2015. During that stretch, Latinos accounted for 38 percent of overall growth.

New arrivals often bring with them cultural diversity, with all its attendant enhancements and adjustments. In Morgan County, where the Cargill Meat Solutions beef-processing facility created jobs filled not only by Latinos but also by a surge of refugees from Somalia and other East African nations, the transition — both for white locals and the new arrivals — has not been without its challenges...


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