Census survey shows high education level in Routt County

More than 95 percent of those 25 and older in have finished high school

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By the numbers

Per capita income from 2005 to 2007

Pitkin: $93,465

Routt: $49,890

Eagle: $49,635

San Miguel: $49,604

Summit: $43,452

La Plata: $38,263

Garfield: $37,453

Grand: $36,247

Gunnison: $32,426

Chaffee: $29,453

Sources: 2009 Routt County Livability Index, Routt County Economic Development Cooperative

By the numbers

Year — Population — Percent change over a decade

1910 — 799,024 — 48.0 percent

1920 — 939,629 — 17.6 percent

1930 — 1,035,791 — 10.2 percent

1940 — 1,123,296 — 8.4 percent

1950 — 1,325,089 — 18.0 percent

1960 — 1,753,947 — 32.4 percent

1970 — 2,207,259 — 25.8 percent

1980 — 2,889,964 — 30.9 percent

1990 — 3,294,394 — 14.0 percent

2000 — 4,301,261 — 30.6 percent

2010 — 5,029,196 16.9 percent

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

— Routt County is one of 10 counties nationwide in which more than 95 percent of its 25-and-older population has completed high school, according to results from the five-year American Community Survey estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau announced Tuesday that the nation’s population, as of April 1, 2010, had increased to 308,745,538, a nearly 10 percent jump from the 2000 Census. Colorado’s population increased 16.9 percent — the seventh-fastest in the country — to nearly 5.03 million.

Jared Ewy, a media specialist with the Denver regional Census office in Lakewood, said local 2010 population data wouldn’t be available until February or March. The 2009 Census estimates, released in July, indicated that Steamboat Springs’ population increased more than 2,300 residents, or 24 percent, to 12,180 from 2000 to 2009.

The American Community Survey estimates — based on an annual sample survey mailed to millions of Americans during a five-year period to generate statistics for smaller areas — include social, economic, housing and demographic data for every community in the country.

One of those data sets is education.

Colorado counties Douglas and Hinsdale also made the list with more than 95 percent of their 25-and-older populations having completed high school.

Three Colorado counties also appeared on a list of 17 in which more than 50 percent of the 25-and-older population had earned bachelor’s degrees: Boul­der, Douglas and Pitkin.

Routt didn’t make that list but was close at 46.9 percent.

Kate Nowak is executive director of Yampa Valley Partners, which produces the Community Indicators Project, data sets that evaluate social, economic, civic and environmental trends in Northwest Colorado. She said the high levels of education achieved by Routt County residents likely have contributed to the cultural offerings available locally, including museums, art galleries and live music.

Nowak added that of the 122 public nonprofit groups in Routt County, as of 2008, 20 were dedicated to the promotion of local arts and culture. She said that’s an increase from four in 1990.

But more so, Nowak said the county’s educated population contributes its high per capita income. She said, as of 2008, the county’s per capita income was $52,106. Nowak said that’s the seventh-highest of Colorado’s 64 counties and higher than nearby Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.

According to the 2009 Routt County Livability Index, only Pitkin County’s per capita income was higher than Routt’s, among similar resort counties surveyed. That information, measured from 2005 to 2007, puts Routt’s per capita income at $49,890 and Pitkin’s at $93,465. Routt’s per capita income exceeded Eagle, San Miguel, Summit, La Plata and Gunnison counties, among others.

“Education has a direct correlation to income,” Nowak said. “The median income in Routt County is higher than some neighboring counties. There are more professional jobs, more technical jobs.”

Ewy said after local population data is released in February or March, full demographic profiles would be released in May.

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