Berthoud ranks as the fastest-growing community in the Boulder Valley/Northern Colorado region since the 2010 Census, growing 74.12 percent in that time, with a July 1, 2017, population estimate of 8,889.
The town’s one-year growth rate was also impressive, at 18.69 percent, the highest one-year growth rate of any municipality in the region.
That’s according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, which estimates population as of July 1 each year. The 2016 numbers reflect revisions made by the Census Bureau from what was released a year ago.
“I think it’s great in what it’s doing for the town in terms of our future retail and commercial growth,” said Walt Elish, business development manager for the town of Berthoud. “It’s making us more attractive to the retail, commercial and industrial businesses now. We’re getting inquiries especially from retail establishments.”
Elish said growth has enabled town trustees to begin conversations about building a recreation center, something that was impossible to contemplate with a lower population.
He said a number of residential developments are bringing in new residents, projects that had languished during the Great Recession.
“The recession hit, and it pretty much stopped everything,” he said, adding that development started to pick up again in after 2012.
Last year, Berthoud’s planning department processed 435 residential building permits, up from 264 in 2016 and 111 in 2015. The town has upgraded its wastewater-treatment capabilities and implemented water policies that are more-favorable to developers.
Additionally, Berthoud boasts ample land for development, Elish said.
Berthoud also boasts a brand-new 18-hole, TPC Colorado championship golf course community at Heron Lakes, which has opened for play to members.
“It’s going to be a considerable positive impact,” Elish said, with some tournaments expected to bring in 20,000 visitors to the town.
“We’re excited about what’s going on with the golf course and the rest of the residential around it,” Elish said.
Berthoud sits atop all Boulder Valley/Northern Colorado communities in terms of its growth rate, but all but three communities in Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties grew year over year, with one of the region’s most-prominent cities actually losing population from 2016 to 2017. Boulder, which grew 10 percent since 2010, saw its population decline year over year by 0.67 percent, to 107,125 from 107,844 in 2016.
The slight decline in Boulder’s population from 2016 to 2017 comes as the city’s housing costs soar. The city twice last year saw the median housing price exceed $1 million, and the median price for April 2018 set a new peak, at more than $1.2 million. That could be causing some residents to look elsewhere for more-affordable options.
Jay Kalinski, broker/owner with Re/Max of Boulder, said, "I have no doubt that the higher housing prices and the combination of ever-increasing rents," as well as lack of inventory, contributed to the population decline.
He said that city policies such as growth limits, height restrictions, zoning restrictions and other policies could be additional factors.
"I would say it’s mildly surprising, but I think it’s to be expected, if you keep putting in place new policies that drive people out and make it unaffordable," Kalinski said. "You should’t be surprised when fewer people can afford to be here. The city policies may be coming home to roost a little bit. It’s interesting to see the effect of these policies that have started to play out."
Like Boulder, Estes Park and Superior lost population from 2016 to 2017, with Estes Park declining slightly, by 0.16 percent, to 6,339. That number still represented an 8.21 percent gain since 2010. Superior’s population declined 0.83 percent from 2016 to 2017, to 12,951, but was still up 3.75 percent since 2010.
But the overall trend remains rapid growth, especially compared with the 2010 Census. The region’s largest community remains Fort Collins, at 165,080, followed by Boulder at 107,125, Greeley at 105,448, Longmont at 94,341, Loveland at 76,701 and Broomfield at 68,341.
Other fast-growing communities include:
- Johnstown, which grew 56.55 percent since the 2010 Census. The community’s 2017 population of 15,478 represented a one-growth rate of 3.98 percent.
- Wellington, which saw a population increase of 51.49 percent since 2010. Its 2017 population of 9,527 represented a one-year increase of 13.12 percent.
- Frederick, which grew 46.18 percent since 2010 and 5.51 percent year over year, with a 2017 population of 12,687.
- Firestone, with a 2017 population of 13,825 and a growth rate of 36.25 percent since 2010 and 7.3 percent since 2016.
- Windsor, with a 35.86 percent growth since 2010 and 4.19 percent since 2016. The community’s population grew to 25,330 in 2017.
- Lochbuie, along the Interstate 76 corridor in Weld County, grew by 34.43 percent since 2010 and 9.27 percent since July 1, 2016, with a 2017 population of 6,353.
- Mead grew by 34.36 percent since 2010, with a 2017 population of 4,575, up 1.42 percent year over year.
- Erie’s population increased by 33.63 percent since 2010, to 24,234. That represents a one-year gain of 5.22 percent.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include comments from Jay Kalinski of Re/Max of Boulder.