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Colorado ( or ) is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of Americamarker. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Northwesternmarker regions of the United States. In many cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyomingmarker, to the south by New Mexicomarker and Oklahomamarker, at the southwest corner by Arizonamarker, to the east by Nebraskamarker and Kansasmarker and to the west by Utahmarker.

The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes and plainsmarker. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 4,939,456 in 2008, a 14% increase since the U.S. Census 2000. Denvermarker is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans", although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.


An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado

The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian). Colorado, Wyomingmarker, and Utahmarker are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.

The summit of Mount Elbertmarker at elevation in Lake Countymarker is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains. Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Coloradomarker, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.

Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains.East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plainsmarker within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly . This is also the part of Colorado that is usually considered part of the Midwest. The states of Kansasmarker and Nebraskamarker border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from annually. The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.

The bulk of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.

To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peakmarker, Mount Evansmarker, Pikes Peakmarker, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburgmarker in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized.During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.

Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than from any road.

The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortezmarker via the Colorado Rivermarker.

Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyomingmarker. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grandemarker, which drains into New Mexicomarker. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.

The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are or higher elevation, known as fourteeners. The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about in southern Colorado to about in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Bouldermarker and Central Citymarker on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.

The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utahmarker. Grand Junctionmarker is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspenmarker, Vailmarker, Crested Buttemarker, and Steamboat Springsmarker. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.

From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peakmarker is just west of Colorado Springsmarker. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansasmarker border on clear days.

Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizonamarker, New Mexicomarker and Utahmarker. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.


The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.

Eastern Plains

The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States . In summer, this area can have many days above and sometimes , although is the maximum in the front range cities above . In the plains, the winter extremes can be from to and . The all time low in the area was . About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of or higher in the winter. The average July temperature is in the morning and in the afternoon. The average January temperature is in the morning and in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be .

West of the plains and foothills

West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around to , although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.

Extreme weather

Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.

Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America. Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limonmarker F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsormarker EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week. Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought. The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.


The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was on July 11, 1888, at Bennettmarker, while the lowest was on February 1, 1985, at Maybellmarker.
Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15


The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Sitemarker in Larimer Countymarker contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.

The United Statesmarker acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahuamarker, and expelled from Méxicomarker the following July.

The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas Rivermarker as part of the U.S. purchase of Floridamarker from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. Méxicomarker finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utahmarker) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado Rivermarker. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraskamarker organized in 1854.

Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or Californiamarker avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyomingmarker. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexicomarker, settled the village of San Luismarker, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.

The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Unionmarker as the free State of Kansasmarker on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.

Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado. The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado Rivermarker originated in the territory.Early explorers identified the Gunnison River in Colorado as the headwaters of the Colorado Rivermarker. The Grand River in Colorado was later identified as the headwaters of the river. Finally in 1916, E.C. LaRue, Chief Hydrologist of the United States Geological Survey, identified the Green River in Wyomingmarker as the proper headwaters of the Colorado River. Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains. In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand Rivermarker to the Colorado Rivermarker on July 25, 1921.

Colorado state history plaque
The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state. On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Unionmarker as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial Statemarker". The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadvillemarker in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.

Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.

Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado Rivermarker. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.


Colorado Population Density Map
The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denvermarker. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.

As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.

The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglasmarker and Weldmarker. Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from Californiamarker, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson Countymarker.

Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home. Colorado, like New Mexicomarker, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.

Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.

According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains. Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).

There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births. The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents). Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.

Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.


Colorado's most popular relegion is Christian, and it's most popular denomination of Christianity is Catholic. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springsmarker, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Familymarker is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.

Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.


Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US. As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.


Fine arts



The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.
[[File:Denver CO DT WTC AMH 322.JPG|thumb|upright|right|Denver World Trade Centermarker.

The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.]]

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation. The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.

The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORADmarker, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Basemarker in Colorado Springsmarker; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Bouldermarker; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewoodmarker; the Denver Mintmarker, Buckley Air Force Basemarker, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prisonmarker and other federal prisons near Cañon Citymarker. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state. Denver is an important financial center.

A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brightonmarker in 1864. From Goldenmarker came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&Imarker railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblomarker in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeleymarker evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrosemarker in 1958. Fort Collinsmarker has been the home of Woodward Governor Companymarker's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Bouldermarker since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durangomarker in 1981.

Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions. Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.

Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.


Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million each year from approximately $7 billion of assets.


Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.

Special tax districts

Some of the special tax districts are:
  • The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
  • The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    • It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    • According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    • As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
      • Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
      • Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
      • Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    • An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
  • The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile Highmarker
  • Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
  • Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
  • Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    • If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    • In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    • In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    • It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.


Colorado state welcome sign
Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado

Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado

Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado

Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
Alamosamarker, Auroramarker, Bouldermarker, Brushmarker, Colorado Springsmarker, Deltamarker, Denvermarker, Durangomarker, Englewoodmarker, Friscomarker, Fort Collinsmarker, Fort Morganmarker, Glenwood Springsmarker, Grand Junctionmarker, Greeleymarker, Lamarmarker, Limonmarker, Longmontmarker, Montrosemarker, Pueblomarker, Rocky Fordmarker, Springfieldmarker, Sterlingmarker, Trinidadmarker, Vailmarker, and Walsenburgmarker

Government and politics

State government

Gubernatorial election results
Year Republican Democratic
2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032

Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Courtmarker is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..

Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).

Federal politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453

Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.

Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collinsmarker and Bouldermarker, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springsmarker, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.

Colorado is represented by two United States Senators: The State of Colorado is represented by seven Representatives to the United States House of Representatives:

Cities and Towns

Colorado has 271 incorporated municipalities and 83 active United States Census Designated Places.


Colorado is divided into 64 counties, including two counties with consolidated city and county governments.

The fifteen most populous Colorado counties as of July 1, 2008, were:
  1. City and County of Denvermarker
  2. El Paso Countymarker
  3. Arapahoe Countymarker
  4. Jefferson Countymarker
  5. Adams Countymarker
  6. Boulder Countymarker
  7. Larimer Countymarker
  8. Douglas Countymarker
  9. Weld Countymarker
  10. Pueblo Countymarker
  11. Mesa Countymarker
  12. Garfield Countymarker
  13. City and County of Broomfieldmarker
  14. Eagle Countymarker
  15. La Plata Countymarker


Colleges and universities in Colorado:

Metropolitan Areas

The United States Census Bureau has defined seven Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), seven Micropolitan Statistical Areas (μSAs), and one Combined Statistical Area (CSA) in the State of Colorado.

Military Installations

Protected areas

Nationally Protected Areas in Colorado:


Professional sports teams

Colorado is the least populous state with a franchise in each of the major professional sports leagues. The state is able to support the teams because it contains a large metropolitan area with a higher population than any other city within . Therefore, many of the residents in the surrounding states support the teams in Denver, as shown by the reach of the Broncos' radio network.

Club Sport League
Colorado Rockies Baseball Major League Baseball
Denver Broncos Football National Football League
Colorado Avalanche Ice hockey National Hockey League
Denver Nuggets Basketball National Basketball Association
Colorado Rapids Soccer Major League Soccer
Colorado Mammoth Lacrosse National Lacrosse League
Denver Outlaws Lacrosse Major League Lacrosse
Colorado Chill Basketball National Women's Basketball League
Colorado Crush Arena football Arena Football League
Aurora Cavalry Basketball International Basketball League
Colorado 14ers Basketball NBA D-League
Colorado Crossover Basketball International Basketball League
Colorado Springs Sky Sox Baseball Minor League Baseball (AAA)
Colorado Eagles Ice hockey Central Hockey League
Rocky Mountain Rage Ice hockey Central Hockey League
Colorado Rapids U23's Soccer USL Premier Development League
Colorado Springs Blizzard Soccer USL Premier Development League
Colorado Springs Sabers Soccer Women's Premier Soccer League
Denver Diamonds Soccer Women's Premier Soccer League

Former professional sports teams

Club Sport League
Colorado Rockies (moved to Newark, New Jerseymarker and are now the New Jersey Devils) Ice Hockey National Hockey League
Colorado Xplosion (won the Western Conference Championship in inaugural season) Women's Basketball American Basketball League
Denver Grizzlies (moved to Salt Lake City, Utahmarker, later moved to Cleveland, Ohiomarker and became the Lake Erie Monsters) Ice Hockey International Hockey League
Denver Spurs (moved to Ottawa, Ontariomarker and became the Ottawa Civics for the rest of the team's existence) Ice Hockey World Hockey Association/Central Hockey League/Western Hockey League
Denver Dynamite (Inaugural member of the Arena Football League, folded after four seasons) Arena Football Arena Football League
Denver Gold (United States Football League member, 1983-1985) Football United States Football League
Denver Bears/Denver Zephyrs (moved to New Orleans, Louisianamarker and became the New Orleans Zephyrs) Baseball American Association/Pacific Coast League

State symbols

Prominent Coloradans

See also


  1. Colorado, Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  2. Rectangular States and Kinky Borders
  3. [1] Western Regional Climate Center. Last accessed 2006-10-24.
  4. A History of Drought
  7. Language Map Data Center
  8. talking about Colorado in "nada"
  9. Map of Latitude: 39.500656 Longitude: -105.203628, by MapQuest
  10. [2]
  11. CDPHE: COHID Birth Data Request
  12. U.S. Religion Map and Religious Populations - U.S. Religious Landscape Study - Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
  17. Colorado Department of Agriculture: Land Ownership
  18. Colorado rides on Fat Tire to beer heights. Rocky Mountain News 11/24/2007 Accessed November 29, 2007
  19. Colorado individual income tax return (2005), retrieved September 26, 2006
  20. U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (2005) online copy, retrieved 2006-09-26
  23. Denver International Airport was the ninth busiest airport on Earth in 2006.
  24. Colorado Bill Ritter appointed Michael Bennet to serve the remaining two years of United States Senator Ken Salazar term of office which was left vacant on 2009-01-20, when new United States President Barack Obama appointed the Colorado Senator to serve in his Cabinet as United States Secretary of the Interior.
  25. Managed by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Forest Service.
  26. Managed by the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management.
  27. Jointly managed by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Forest Service, and the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management.
  28. – Official Website Of The Denver Broncos

Further reading

  • Explore Colorado, A Naturalist's Handbook, The Denver Museum of Natural History and Westcliff Publishers, 1995, ISBN 1-56579-124-X for an excellent guide to the ecological regions of Colorado.
  • The Archeology of Colorado, Revised Edition, E. Steve Cassells, Johnson Books, Boulder, Colorado, 1997, trade paperback, ISBN 1-55566-193-9.
  • Chokecherry Places, Essays from the High Plains, Merrill Gilfillan, Johnson Press, Boulder, Colorado, trade paperback, ISBN 1-55566-227-7.
  • The Tie That Binds, Kent Haruf, 1984, hardcover, ISBN 0-03-071979-8, a fictional account of farming in Colorado.
  • Railroads of Colorado: Your Guide to Colorado's Historic Trains and Railway Sites, Claude Wiatrowski, Voyageur Press, 2002, hardcover, 160 pages, ISBN 0-89658-591-3

External links

State government Federal government Other

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