Monday, January 31, 2022

Bennet Still Safe, Unless…

Senator Michael Bennet
Michael Bennet is still listed by the major D.C. pundits as a “likely Democratic hold.” But with the major caveat, how powerful is the downdraft from Washington? As Charlie Cook points out, midterm elections can be a disaster for the presidential party, including lost senate seats.

  • Joe Biden’s approval is lower than Clinton’s at his first midterm (1994) and Obama’s (2010). 
  • Clinton lost 8 Senate seats and 54 House; Obama lost 6 Senate, 64 House.

Although the most competitive seats in the West are in Nevada and Arizona, and Bennet’s seat is listed as safe, he’s near the competitive line. After merging analyses from the University of Virginia’s Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Charlie Cook’s The Cook Political Report, the latest chart from 538 shows Bennet is on the edge of a safe seat. Their comment is:

“Beyond New Hampshire, it’s not hard to imagine Colorado’s blue-leaning seat, held by Sen. Michael Bennet, also becoming competitive if things deteriorate further for Democrats.”

Friday, January 28, 2022

Prediction: The Presidential Ticket in 2024

A frequently asked question in recent Colorado political expert panels is who will be on the presidential ticket in 2024. The most recent opinions from the respective party experts were:

Republican: If Donald Trump wants it, it’s his, but Governor DeSantis is the most frequently mentioned name among Colorado Republican activists. Vice President – a woman or person of color. If Trump’s primary picks for the 2022 midterm fail to win, he will be damaged.

Democrat: History and the odds say Democrats will stay with the 2020 team, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Too much risk and chaos to change.

Some outside observations:

  • Democrat. Biden and Harris will be blamed for the loss of the Senate and House. He will decide on one term and Harris will be beat by Gavin Newsom. Warren would be strongest VP.
  • Fusion ticket. Biden-Cheney
  • Independent conservatives. Manchin-Cheney
  • Trump family. Don Jr. and ? (Noem, Haley, etc.)

Alice Lee Main – SCFD Champion

Alice Lee Main was an important advocate of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) regional arts funding legislation from the first campaign in 1988 to the most recent in 2016. She joined with colleagues from around the metro area to support the SCFD. In Aurora, Alice Lee worked tirelessly to develop, manage and promote cultural venues for all of the city’s residents. She assisted government and economic development officials, such as Mayor Steve Hogan, in support of the arts. Alice Lee represented her city well.

Thank you Alice Lee.

Arvada Mayor Marc Williams, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, Greenwood
Village Mayor Ron Rakowsky and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
with Popsicle at Mayors Launch SCFD GOTV, Oct. 4, 2016

Read The Buzz: SCFD – An Economic Powerhouse

Experts See Year of Political Change and Opportunity for Republicans

Colorado political experts described the difficult national politics creating opportunities for Colorado Republicans if they can focus on winning. In a panel sponsored by the Colorado Water Congress, Republican commentator and former Republican State Chair, Dick Wadhams, joined Mike Dino, consultant with national law and lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, to assess where the political action is most likely in Colorado.

Floyd Ciruli, director of the University of Denver’s Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, moderated and opened the conversation pointing out that 2022 is:

“…going to be a year of high-profile contests with uncertain results, but many expected changes. Control of Congress could change. We’ve already seen a senior congressional retirement with Ed Perlmutter and, of course, we have a new seat to fill in Adams and Weld counties. And, we are still dealing with a wild January with Omicron, inflation, a raging stock market and Russia – that’s a busy first 26 days of the year.”

Some key observations:

  • The national environment could improve, but as of now, it is a major burden for Democrats.
  • Although Governor Polis and Senator Bennet appear safe, Republicans’ ability to find strong opponents will be key to any possible competition.
  • Republicans have the advantage in the 8th Congressional District, Democrats in the open 7th CD, but both could be competitive depending on the results of the primaries.
  • Statewide races that could be competitive are Secretary of State (incumbent controversial) and the State Treasurer (incumbent not known).
  • Modest hope for improvement of Republicans position in State Senate, none in State House. There is even less rural representation post redistricting.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Panel Sees Opportunities for Republicans

It’s been a long time since Colorado Republicans had a playing field tilted in their direction, but President Biden’s and the Democrats’ political difficulties and the deteriorating economy are offering a host of opportunities. Republicans are also benefitting from some homegrown good news from redistricting, with one senior congressperson already retiring and a very competitive new district.

How powerful this downdraft will be in Colorado for the Democrats and if the Republicans can take advantage were explored on a Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research panel on January 13, 2022. See The Buzz: 2022 Colorado Election: Trends and Predictions.

The Democrats problems are illuminated by every major metric watched in political Washington:

  • Biden’s approval rating is at a new low on his one year anniversary in office – negative 14 percent.
  • Republicans are now ahead in the generic ballot test (4%) and the average midterm pick-up for the non-presidential party is 26. They need 4 votes to win the House majority.
  • Inflation is at a two-decade high (7.1%) and the market is in correction territory: Dow (-6%), S&P (-9%), NASDAQ (-13%) and Russell 2000 (-12%). (1-27-22)
  • COVID-19 and Omicron still disrupt getting back to social, school and business routines.
  • The Democratic brand was not helped by the endless public arguments last fall over the BBB package by the left and moderate wings of the party. Republicans at start of 2022 are now ahead in partisan identification by 5 points after being behind by 9 – massive swing to them during the second half of 2021. (Gallup 2022)


Previous The Buzz posts:

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The New 8th Congressional District – Mostly in Adams County, Very Blue Collar

More than 60 percent of the approximately 721,000 residents in the new 8th Congressional District are residents of Adams County (63%), with a third (34%) in Weld County, although the district goes up to Greeley (108,000 residents). The largest city in the district is Thornton (141,000).

It has significant economic activity that reflects the more traditional working class version of the Democratic Party, including its large Hispanic population (39%). Agriculture, construction, trucking, manufacturing, oil and gas, and warehousing are major employers, along, of course, with the usual big government employers of schools, cities and counties. 


Voter registration mirrors the state with a slight edge for Democrats (28%) over Republicans (25%), but the balance of power is held by unaffiliated voters (44%). However, voting performance is different than the state’s. In 2016, while Donald Trump lost the state by 5 points, he carried the voters in the new 8th district by 1.7 percent. In 2018, while George Brauchler was losing statewide by 6 points to Attorney General Phil Weiser, he carried the district’s votes by 1.7 percent.


Democrats do carry the district’s voters, but in close votes, regardless of how they do statewide. In 2016, Michael Bennet won the state by 6 points and the district by 2.3 percent. Jared Polis got 1.9 percent in 2018 while carrying the state by 11 percent, and in 2020 when John Hickenlooper beat Senator Cory Gardner by 10 points statewide, he won the district by 1.7 percent.


Competitive is the definition of the district, with probably a right lean on social issues and a working class orientation toward economics (i.e., protect jobs, increase wages and keep the cost of living under control).

Read The Colorado Sun: A deep dive into the electorate in Colorado’s super competitive new 8th Congressional District

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Face of Colorado Republican Party: Boebert and Hanks

The midterm election provides a huge opportunity for the Colorado Republican Party in 2022. But, the most critical challenge is to disengage their candidates from Donald Trump and his retrospective vision of the 2020 election. Most of the party’s professionals realize this need. Unfortunately for their prospects, it is proving to be difficult as the start of Congress and the Colorado legislature shows. 

The core of Trump’s power in both legislatures is in their respective House caucuses. This week in Washington, D.C., the Liberty Caucus selected first-term Lauren Boebert as part of their leadership. She was made the communication chair. Boebert is a star on social media, an expert at grievance politics and a Donald Trump acolyte – a strong resume for 2022 leadership. She will, of course, be a flashing sign in every competitive House district in the country that Donald Trump owns the new House leadership.

Colorado’s House Republican caucus’ first day opening resolution praised Ron Hanks, one of their most extreme members, for his attendance at the January 6 riot, which he describes as a “peaceful citizens protest.” Mr. Hanks is running in the Republican U.S. Senate primary. The resolution went on to question if Joe Biden was the legitimately elected president and recommended a decertification of election returns to reinstate former President Trump. It was a front-page story in the Denver Post.

Not a good start to disengaging from the “Big Lie” and Donald Trump. House Democratic leader Alec Garnett shouted “holey moley,” reflecting his surprise and, no doubt, sense of good fortune. 

Lauren Boebert speaks at a news conference held by members of the
House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington | Andrew Harnik/AP

Ron Hanks reads a piece of paper in the House of Representatives at the
Colorado State Capitol, Jan. 12, 2022 | AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Friday, January 21, 2022

Bennet Must Deal With Undertow

Barack Obama carried Colorado in 2012 by 5 points against Mitt Romney. But two years later, Obama’s Gallup approval rating in October and November 2014 was in the low 40 percent range, with more than a 10-point negative between approval and disapproval. Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall lost in 2014 by 2 points to Republican Cory Gardner. Although Gardner was a popular incumbent congressman, he was helped by Democrats having a negative national political environment. Harry Reid lost his majority to Mitch McConnell in 2014. Control of the Senate switched to Republicans as Democrats lost seven seats Romney had carried in 2012 and two Obama had carried – Iowa and Colorado.

Bennet must also deal with a powerful national Democratic undertow. Democrats are expected to lose the House. All the major indicators are negative for the incumbent party. Biden’s low approval, the generic ballot test leans Republican, partisan identity has shifted Republican, and twenty-eight Democratic congressmen, including Ed Perlmutter, have retired.

However, the key question is: Can Colorado Republicans find a candidate that donors want to support with millions of dollars, unite Republicans and win a super majority of unaffiliated voters? A tall order, but Biden’s numbers are helping them.

Senator Michael Bennet speaks during the Senate Intelligence Committee,
 Washington, DC | Demetrius Freeman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Thursday, January 20, 2022

April 1968 – MLK and RFK

April 1968 was a tragic, but extraordinary moment in American history when the nation’s two most significant leaders offered elegant statements of belief – Martin Luther King, Jr. as he gave his final speech in Memphis, Tennessee, the evening before he was shot, and Robert F. Kennedy as he spoke to a nighttime crowd in Indianapolis, Indiana, and announced the assassination to the crowd of mostly Black residents.

MLK, April 3, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee, Mason Temple speech before striking sanitation workers:

“And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

RFK, April 4, 1968, Rally at Indianapolis, Indiana, largely Black audience, said:

“I’m only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some very sad news for all of you Could you lower those signs, please? I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.

For those of you who are black considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.”

Two months later, June 5, Kennedy was assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California primary.

Read MLK’s “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech here
Read RFK’s speech of April 4, 1968 here

The Political Landscape for 2022 Sponsored by Colorado Water Congress

Floyd Ciruli, longtime consultant for the Colorado Water Congress, will lead a panel of the state’s leading political experts on national political changes and impact on Colorado in 2022.

Well-known Republican commentator and former Republican Party state chair, Dick Wadhams, joins with Mike Dino, consultant with national lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, who led the host committee for the 2008 National Democratic Convention in Denver. The January 26-27 annual Colorado Water Congress statewide convention is especially interested in the impact of political changes in the federal delegation and state leadership for water infrastructure spending and forest and fire policy in the West.

  • Floyd Ciruli, moderator, director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research
  • Dick Wadhams, Denver Post columnist, CBS4 commentator, consultant, former Republican state chair
  • Mike Dino, commentator with CBS4, longtime principle with Squire Patton Boggs, organized host committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver

Inflation and Crime: Polis is Trying to Get Ahead of It

Voters are saying they are not happy with rising inflation and crime rates. Republicans have made them daily talking points. Democrats know they are vulnerable as the party in power in Washington and here.

Gov. Jared Polis delivers his State of the State address at the Colorado
State Capitol, Jan. 13, 2022 |  AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via AP
Governor Polis also knows it, and to blunt the criticism and slide to the center, he’s taken up lowering the costs of government as a cause. In an online interview with Jesse Paul of the Colorado Sun, he mentioned a myriad of cost lowering proposals, fees, etc. for state government. It was his priority issue. In his State of the State message, he said: “If it isn’t clear, saving Coloradans money and keeping our state affordable is my top priority this session.”

After criticizing TABOR refunds for years, Colorado Democrats are now fans. Inflation and a surfeit of state dollars has made giving money back to taxpayers a political asset.

Crime also made the list in Polis’ speech: “I’ve never been one to shy away from ambitious goals, which is why I want to spend the next five years making Colorado one of the top 10 safest states in the country.” After a spate of laws and rhetoric expressing concern on policing, prosecution and incarceration in the last two legislative sessions, Democrats are moving to the right as crime rates move up and reelection looms.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Predictions and Election 2022

WATCH: Colorado Political Experts Describe Trends and Predictions in Election 2022 

The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research and the Center on American Politics hosted an informed and lively discussion on the major changes expected in Washington and Colorado politics during 2022. One longtime congressperson has already retired. What’s next? Watch the panel review the expected 2022 contests.


The Crossley Center’s public engagement programs aim to attract thought-leaders and policymakers with diverse perspectives and backgrounds to participate in an informed and civil public conversation. The purpose is to give DU audiences and Coloradans an understanding of the major influences affecting their politics and policies.

Market Ends a Roaring Year, Then Turns Down First Quarter

A record stock market year ended with the S&P up 27 percent for the year, its third year of double-digit gains. But mostly due to the variant Omicron. a surging rate of inflation (up 7%), and supply and employment disruptions, the market has receded the first two weeks in what appears to be a weak first quarter.

The outlook improves over the entire year, but there is considerable uncertainty, with some forecasters predicting a down market in 2022 and others a more moderate continuation of the recovery. The politics of 2022 suggest support for higher rates as inflation has gained attention, but D.C. wants to avoid a recession 2023.

Stock Show is Back in the Saddle

As Ron Williams received the Citizen of the West award and Governor Polis worked the tables, 800 guests enjoyed a short rib during the dinner’s return after the 2021 cancellation.

The dinner is an opening event in the Stock Show run, which lasts until January 23. It was off to a strong start.

Cille and Ron Williams, center, cut the ribbon celebrating the opening of
the Cille and Ron Williams Yards at the National Western Center
in Denver. Right to left: Doug Jones, Ron Williams, Cille Willams,
Paul Andrews, Pete Coors | Scott Weiser/The Gazett

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Federal Reserve: Shifting Leaders, New Problems

Jerome Powell was reappointed as Federal Reserve Chair by President Biden, but it is being accompanied by major changes. The focus on employment and recovery has shifted to inflation. The Fed has been slow moving in its reaction to higher inflation. Last fall, it reduced proposed quantitative easing by June, now the end date is March with three rate hikes tossed in during 2022 (some speculate 6 quarter-point increases).

The inflation that was called transitory is now identified as much more sustaining and likely to stay above (likely well above) 2 percent throughout the year. The political impact of inflation may be even greater than that of unemployment. People see it at the gas pump ($5.00 a gallon) and the grocery stores ($15 per lb. bacon). Plus, it’s hard to be concerned about unemployment when jobs are going unfilled and wages are rising rapidly.

The Fed was late, but now the challenge is to brake, but not cause a crash.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Trends and Predictions: Colorado Election Experts Start the New Year

The Crossley Center at DU presents a Zoom conversation on January 13, 2022 at 11:00 am MT with a panel of top political, policy and academic experts discussing the political terrain in Colorado for the 2022 elections. Will the national trends boost local Republicans? Will Senator Bennet or Governor Polis be vulnerable? Which party has the advantage in the new congressional district? 

“Colorado Election 2022: Trends and Predictions” will be presented virtually via Zoom at 11:00 am (MT) on Thursday, January 13, 2022, by the University of Denver’s Crossley Center and the Center on American Politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

Crossley Center Director Floyd Ciruli and the panel will highlight national and local political and public opinion trends and how they will affect the Colorado election. Panel participants:

  • Dick Wadhams, Denver Post columnist, CBS4 commentator, consultant, Republican
  • Sheila MacDonald, Consultant for candidates, local and statewide ballot issues, Democrat
  • Melanie Layton, State legislative lobbyist for more than two decades
  • Seth Masket, Professor and director of DU’s Center on American Politics

Join the Conversation
Thursday, January 13, 2022
11:00 am MT


The Crossley Center’s public engagement programs aim to attract thought-leaders and policymakers with diverse perspectives and backgrounds to participate in an informed and civil public conversation. The purpose is to give DU audiences and Coloradans an understanding of the major influences affecting their politics and policies.

Denver Loves Its Libraries

Denver voters and civic leaders love their libraries. They have invested millions since the 1990s to create one of the largest and most used systems between Chicago and Los Angeles.

DPL Central Library

Ciruli Associates, working with the city’s head librarian Rick Ashton and the Denver Public Library’s (DPL) team of managers, appointed directors, volunteers and donors, directed the campaign. The effort began in the late 1980s and culminated in a successful election in 1990. Denver voters approved a $91 million new central library by 75 percent.

It was completed in 1996. Michael Graves, a leading postmodern designer and architect, incorporated the building from the 1950s by local architect Burnham Hoyt into a new structure that has a unique exterior design and a functional and beautiful interior.

DPL Branch Libraries

But that was just the beginning of supporting the library system. In 2007, a $56 million bond was approved by voters during the Hickenlooper administration and Head Librarian Shirley Amore. The Library’s money went to upgrading its extensive branch system. Ciruli Associates provided research for the overall $550 million citywide infrastructure bond and managed the Library’s campaign. Since then, the DPL has been part of several subsequent bonds and revenue approvals by voters, including one in November 2021.

Ciruli Associates and Libraries

Working with DPL managers and supporters has been one of Ciruli Associates’ most satisfying efforts. The Library is a legacy project that contributes to Denver being a very special city.

DPL Central Library | Photo: City and County of Denver

Economy is Strong, But Americans Pessimistic

As growth surged toward yearend, it’s clear the American economy in 2021 was one of the best performing in the world and as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession of 2008-09. The S&P market index was up 27 percent, the largest gain in 20 years; unemployment fell to 4 percent by year’s end; wages are trending upward, with employees in demand; and the GDP projected to reach 5 percent in 2022, although after a slow start due to the continued pandemic.

But, there still is uncertainty with inflation ending the year at above 6 percent and the newest Covid variant, Omicron, causing record-high hospitalizations and a quarter of the public stubbornly anti-vaccination.

A comparison of Gallup’s economic polling data from late 2021 and February 2020, just before news of the pandemic was broadly reported, is significant. A “poor” rating of the economy grew by 27 percent over the period and “only fair” was up 14 percent. The shift came from “excellent” and “good” ratings that dropped similar amounts from early 2020.

A review of Gallup’s near monthly reporting of the data shows that the shift to the negative view on economic conditions on both measures took place starting in the early summer of 2021 as the Covid Delta variant emerged.

The public’s view of future economic conditions is equally down and reflects a major shift since before the pandemic, with 70 percent of people currently rating the economic conditions as “getting worse” compared to 33 percent in February 2020 and only 26 percent currently saying they are improving versus 61 percent in early 2020.

The pandemic and its affect on the public is shaping the public’s view of the economy more than much of the good end of year economic news.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Protecting Colorado’s Water

Protecting and putting Colorado’s water to beneficial use has been a priority and a challenge since the state’s founding. It continues today in the face of significant growth in the West and the disruption of climate change.

Water Wars in the West

In 1977, my first task in Washington D.C. as a junior member of Congressman Frank Evans’ legislative staff was to organize opposition to newly inaugurated President Jimmy Carter’s budget cuts of Western water projects. Western states banded together to save funding and won the immediate fight, but it was clear that project financing from Congress was declining and regulations from environmental agencies was increasing. The change was reinforced in 1991 when the long-planned Denver metro region Two Forks project was stopped by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

But Western water leaders are adaptable and they focused on developing water storage and conservation projects with in-state financing and commitments to environmental negotiations, management and mitigation.

Water Projects of the 21st Century

The great Colorado drought of 2002-03 highlighted the need for action and launched a creative and collaborative series of projects. Built since were the Southern Delivery System project of El Paso County and adjacent areas, the Prairie Waters project of Aurora, the Northern Water’s Windy Gap Firming and Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) of northwest Colorado, and Gross Reservoir expansion of Denver Water. They are examples of that represent $5 billion in investments, mostly from Colorado tax- and rate-payers.

NISP and Rueter-Hess Reservoir

Rueter-Hess Reservoir
Our firm, Ciruli Associates, has assisted a number of major projects, including NISP in 2008 at the beginning of the project’s supplemental EIS work through the last couple of years, culminating in state and federal permits. In 1998, we joined Frank Jaeger and his team at Parker Water and Sanitation District to bring the Rueter-Hess Reservoir and Jaeger Dam into completion, establishing the primary infrastructure and storage and water management in the South metro area. In addition, the project was designed to collaborate with agriculture in the Logan County area and with the Water, Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) partnership linking together Denver regional water sources and providers.

Colorado Water Congress

Since the 1990s, we have been involved with the state’s primary water association, the Colorado Water Congress, specifically to monitor and educate the public on water ballot issues that could affect water laws and investments in Colorado.

Ciruli Associates and Water

The importance of protecting Colorado’s water and making effective use of it for citizens remains a state priority as it enters a new decade. This work was among our firm’s most valuable contribution to the state and highly professionally rewarding.

Steve Bannon and the January 6 Insurrection

Steve Bannon, pardoned for crimes in the White House, but indicted for refusing Congressional subpoenas, played a key role in spreading the “Big Lie” as reported by the Brookings Institution (1-14-22). Along with nearly nonstop podcasting election misinformation from August to January 202-21, he manned a “war room” (the name of his podcast) from a suite in the Willard Hotel with a group of former President Donald Trump’s political operators, family and friends. He was closely involved with the rally and storming of the Capitol. January 6, 2021 was a Steve Bannon-type of day.

Steve Bannon speaks to reporters after leaving federal court, 
Washington, Nov. 15, 2021 | Alex Brandon/AP

America’s Growth Stops, But People Keep Moving

The Census Bureau population estimates during the height of COVID-19 from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 showed that U.S. growth dropped from an average of 2 million new residents a year to less than 400,000. The population freeze reflects changes in all three of the major components of growth: deaths, births and immigration rates. The major impacts were COVID-19; changes in fertility rates, mostly from an aging population; and much more restrictive international immigration policies. 

Colorado Grows

In spite of the overall slowdown, some states keep gaining population, for example, Texas increased by 310,000 and Florida up more than 200,000, and no surprise, some keep losing, like New York down 319,000 and California losing 215,000 residents. Colorado gained about one percent in population during the COVID-19 year. The fastest growing states in the West were: Idaho (up 3%), Montana (2%), Utah (2%) and Arizona (2%).

Immigration Down

America’s population bust is making at least some contribution to the staffing shortages since international immigration remains low, even with high-profile surges on the Texas border, which so galvanizes the state’s governor and national politics. The new resident total of 245,000 is half the size of the previous year (477,000) and down from more than one million in the pre-Trump era.

With an aging population and limited immigration, lower population growth is likely to be a feature of the next decade.