Redistricting Process: Legislative Population Change (since 2000): 727,935
Legislature: Democratic Seats: 7
Governor: John Hickenlooper (D) Members of Congress: 4R, 3D
Party Control: Democratic 2012: 51.2% Obama, 46.5% Romney

Map Instructions:

Three maps are available for each state. Each has new district outlines in bold.
Click on each district on the map to see more information.
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New Districts by Party Representation

Redistricting Analysis: Colorado, Significant Population Growth but No New Seats

2010 Redistricting Changes:

Old Districts by Partisan Voting Index with New District Outlines
Old Districts by Party Representation with New District Outlines

Between 2000 and 2010, Colorado experienced growth of approximately 16.9%, bringing the total population to 5,029,196 from 4,301,261. Despite being the ninth fastest growing state, Colorado did not add a congressional district, though there was much discussion about the possibility of an eighth seat. Most of the population remains concentrated in northeastern Colorado, near its capital, Denver.

Colorado did not experience significant demographic changes, but there are a few trends to note. The population appears to be aging, as the percentage of persons over age 65 rose from approximately 9.7% in 2000 to 11.3% in 2010. Perhaps more significantly, Colorado experienced large growth in the size of its Hispanic population. That growth accounted for a large amount of the total population increase in the state as the number grew by 4.3% from 2000, bringing the percentage of the total population to approximately 21%. Unchanged from 2000, however, is an extremely small population of African-American individuals living in Colorado, just 4.3% of the total population, up from 3.8% in 2000. The overwhelming majority of the population is White; roughly 70%.

Like in many other states, redistricting in Colorado is performed by the state legislature, the Colorado General Assembly. The legislation must be passed by both chambers. If it is not able to receive approval by both bodies, a special session may be convened after the conclusion of regular session. Once the legislation is passed, it must either be approved or vetoed by the governor. If it is vetoed, it goes back to both chambers. If the legislature fails to enact a redistricting plan, the matter will be decided by the state court.

The General Assembly introduced a number of new Congressional maps in 2011, but none were adopted. When the session ended, two lawsuits were filed in Denver District Court. Both cases were consolidated into a single case, Moreno et al v. Gessler. The court ruled in favor the “Moreno/South” map on November 10, 2011 On December 5, 2011, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Denver District Court.

Colorado Congressional Redistricting Final Plan

First District

Colorado’s First District did not change significantly with the outcome of the 2011 redistricting process. It remains the smallest geographically, but the most densely populated as it includes all of Denver County and the nearby suburbs of Englewood, Glendale, Ken Caryl, Stapleton, and Northfield. The population of Denver County is approximately 600,000, nearly 15% of the state’s total population. The First District is, on average, more diverse than many other districts in Colorado, with roughly 10% African American, 31% Hispanic, and 50% White. Denver County, however, does have an extremely high percentage of persons living below the poverty level at 18.8%, over 6% higher than that of the state and nearly 4% higher than the national average.

The First District has been Democratic for nearly all of the elections since the Great Depression. A Republican candidate has only won the seat twice since then.

Second District

Colorado’s Second District includes some of the northwest suburbs of Denver as well as a number of mountain towns. Although not the most substantially changed district in Colorado, the redistricting process in 2011 moved Larimer County and the cities Loveland and Fort Collins to the Second District from the Fourth. Boulder and Larimer Counties are also fairly densely populated with a combined population of nearly 600,000. Both counties lack in diversity with approximately 80% of the population comprised of Whites. Boulder, however, does have a slightly larger Asian population at 4.3% over two percentage points higher than the statewide percentage of 2.1%.

Third District

Colorado’s Third District consists of the entirety of the sparsely populated western Colorado. The 2011 redistricting process removed the western portion of La Junta and a portion of Trinidad, but added a portion of Vail. Although district three lost two cities with largely Hispanic populations, others with majority Hispanic populations, such as Alamosa, remain. Supporters of the “Moreno/South” map argued that the new District 3 allowed for better representation of the Hispanic population in determining who represents them in the United States Congress.

Election outcomes in District 3 have been fairly inconsistent in recent years. 2010 saw a shift to voting in favor of Republican candidates after six years of a Congressional seat held by a Democrat. However, even after the redistricting process, the incumbent, Republican Scott Tipton, won re-election in 2012, proving that the redrawing of boundaries did not have as much of an effect as the drawers and proponents of the “Moreno/South” map had desired.

Fourth District

Colorado’s Fourth District is in the largely rural, eastern part of the state. It includes over 20 counties, though much of the district’s population is concentrated in the Larimer and Weld Counties.

Before redistricting, the district was over-populated by 6,584, while the total population increased from 748,228 to 725,041 between 2000 and 2010. The district’s demographics remained relatively similar, with approximately 85% of the population being white, only a little over 1% being black or African-American, and just under 2% Asian.

Fifth District

Colorado’s Fifth District is in the center of the state and includes El Paso, Teller, Fremont, Chaffe, Lake, and most of Park County. The total population of the district is around 726,000, though most of the population is concentrated in El Paso County and its metropolitan areas of Colorado Springs, with a total population for the county of approximately 622,000. The district is 81.4% White, 5.6% Black or African-American, 2.4% Asian, and 1.0% American Indian.

The Fifth District is one of the most conservative-leaning districts in Colorado, and has been held by the GOP since its creation in 1973. The district has experienced only marginal changes in the latest redistricting cycle. Republicans still hold a two to one margin according to voter registration with 169,696 Republicans, 84,941 Democrats, and 122,093 Independents.

Sixth District

Colorado’s Sixth District underwent significant changes in the latest redistricting cycle, going from a safe Republican seat to a competitive district. The district is located in central Colorado and now includes much of the southern Denver-Aurora metropolitan area, including portions of Aurora. The latest redistricting measures took out a large part of Republican Douglas County, and the district now encompasses Democratic north Aurora. The district currently has a population of about 797,800, compared to a population in 2000 of approximately 654,000. The district was 85% white, 4.8% Black or African-American, and 3.0% Asian in 2000. The white population has increased to 90% and the Asian population to 5.1%, while Black or African-American populations has declined by 1%.

Seventh District

The Seventh District is in central Colorado and encompasses the northern Denver-Aurora Metropolitan area as well as portions of Adams, Arapahoe, and Jefferson Counties. It is Colorado’s newest congressional district, created following the 2000 Census. The 2011 redistricting corrected for the district’s under-population by 40,047 by removing portions of the more densely populated northern Denver suburbs and gaining portions of less-populated, unincorporated Jefferson County. The Seventh District currently has a population of approximately 678,400. It is comprised of 73.4% White, 7.2% Black or African-American, and 3.2% Asian populations. The district was designed to be more competitive, but has leaned Democratic in the past elections.