Denver Metropolitan Area

Denver Metropolitan Area

The Denver metropolitan area is a conurbation in the U.S. state of Colorado centered around the city of Denver. There are several formal and informal definitions for the metropolitan area, ranging from the continuously urbanized area within the six central counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson[which?] to the entire Front Range Urban Corridor that extends from Colorado Springs in the south to Fort Collins in the north.

The United States Office of Management and Budget has delineated the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area consisting of ten Colorado counties: the City and County of Denver, Arapahoe County, Jefferson County, Adams County, Douglas County, the City and County of Broomfield, Elbert County, Park County, Clear Creek County, and Gilpin County.[1] The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population was 2,645,209 as of July 1, 2012, an increase of +4.00% since the 2010 United States Census, and ranking as the 21st most populous metropolitan statistical area of the United States.[2]

The Office of Management and Budget also delineated the more extensive Denver-Aurora Combined Statistical Area comprising the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area, the Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the Greeley Metropolitan Statistical Area.[1]

The central part of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) includes Denver and three immediately adjacent counties: Jefferson County to the west, Adams County to the north and east, and Arapahoe County to the south and east. The continuously urbanized area extends northwest into the City and County of Broomfield, bordering Jefferson and Adams counties, and south into Douglas County, adjoining Arapahoe County. Also included in the federally defined MSA are four rural counties that are not popularly regarded as "metropolitan": Elbert County on the southeastern prairie and Clear Creek, Gilpin, and Park counties in the Rocky Mountains.


The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area comprises ten counties.[2] The sortable table below includes the following information:

  1. The official name of the county,[3]
  2. The county population as of July 1, 2011, as estimated by the United States Census Bureau,[4]
  3. The county population as of April 1, 2010, as enumerated by the 2010 United States Census,[4]
  4. The percent population change from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2011.[4]
The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area

County 2011 Estimate 2010 Census Change
DenCity and County of Denver !B1085889660 619,968 !B1410638759 600,158 !D000-249677437 +3.30%
Arapahoe County !B1667338754 584,948 !B1891125936 572,003 !D000-770359435 +2.26%
Jefferson County !B-1825942015 539,884 !B-1726520761 534,543 !D00-1184647508 +1.00%
Adams County !B-36890189 451,443 !B183488117 441,603 !D000-615149891 +2.23%
Douglas County !B19378140 292,167 !B251439409 285,465 !D00-1137571261 +2.35%
BroCity and County of Broomfield !B-879312644 57,352 !B-620911287 55,889 !D0002069046219 +2.62%
Elbert County !B-407479676 23,174 !B-369433802 23,086 !D000-138126472 +0.38%
Park County !B-1053495453 16,089 !B-1125952807 16,206 !H-748853715 −0.72%
Clear Creek County !B447325112 9,012 !B363346718 9,088 !H721007161 −0.84%
Gilpin County !B1150627843 5,467 !B1198299367 5,441 !D0001896608532 +0.48%
Total !B-363289180 2,599,504 !B-145422688 2,543,482 !D000-499257498 +2.20%

Metropolitan area cities and towns

Places with over 100,000 inhabitants

Places with 10,000 to 100,000 inhabitants

Places with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants

Communities previously part of the Denver metro area

Former Denver metro communities now part of the separate Boulder metropolitan area due to being located in Boulder County

Former Denver metro communities now part of the separate Greeley metropolitan area due to being located in Southwestern Weld County

Regional cooperation

The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG, pronounced Doctor Cog) is a regional planning and inter-governmental coordination organization in a nine-county region. The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) provides funding for scientific and cultural facilities in a seven-county region including:

In addition, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) provides mass transit, including a light rail system. In 2005 the RTD developed a twelve-year comprehensive plan, called "FasTracks", to build and operate rail transit lines and expand and improve bus service throughout the region.


The most prosperous parts of the area are in the south, while the most industrialized areas are in the northeast, specifically in the northern part of Denver proper and extending to areas such as Commerce City in Adams County. Changes in house prices for the area are publicly tracked on a regular basis using the Case–Shiller index; the statistic is published by Standard & Poor's and is also a component of S&P's 10-city composite index of the value of the residential real estate market.

Electricity is provided by Xcel Energy. Cable television is provided by Comcast.

Air quality

The center of the metropolitan area sits in a valley, the Denver Basin, and suffers from air pollution known colloquially as the brown cloud, building up if the air is stagnant as it often is in the winter. Severity of pollution in this area has varied enormously over the years. In the late 1980s the area was frequently in violation of multiple National Ambient Air Quality Standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) was formed in 1989 to create plans to address the problem. Through a variety of measures the area's air quality was improved and in 2002 the EPA designated the area in compliance with all federal health-based air quality standards. Denver was the first major city in the United States to reach compliance with all six of these standards after previously violating five of them[5] Since then the EPA introduced a new standard for small particulates and made the existing ozone standard stricter. In 2003 the new ozone standard was frequently exceeded in the area and was occasionally exceeded as far away as Rocky Mountain National Park. The RAQC hopes to implement plans enabling the area to comply with the new standards by 2007.

Sister cities

Though Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Brighton, Broomfield, Denver, Lakewood and Longmont have their own individual sister city relationships, the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) as a whole has a sister city relationship with the Iraq Baghdad Governorate of Iraq.[6]

See also

Colorado metropolitan areas


External links

  • Denver Regional Council of Governments
  • International Migration
  • Regional Air Quality Council
  • Regional Transportation District
  • Science & Cultural Facilities District
  • United States Census Bureau
    • U.S. population estimates