Colorado’s Economy and the Role of Federal Protected Lands

This report summarizes Colorado's economy and the role of federal protected lands, including how the state has performed, and Colorado's ability to attract people, investment, and businesses.

This report summarizes Colorado’s economy and the role of federal protected lands. It analyzes how the state has performed, what is driving economic growth, and how protected lands play a positive role in attracting people, investment, and businesses to Colorado communities.
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Colorado’s economy is growing and outperforming the broader U.S. economy.

Growth measures, Colorado 1970-2010

Chart: Growth measures, Colorado 1970-2010
From 2000 to 2010, Colorado’s population grew by 17% and employment 8%. Over the same time period, real personal income grew by 15%, driven both by labor earnings and investment and retirement income.


Colorado vs U.S., Percent change 2000-2010

Chart: Colorado vs U.S., Percent change 2000-2010

Text: From 2000 to 2010, Colorado's real personal income grew by 15%


Colorado’s prosperity depends on protecting the natural environment that is part of our special quality of life. Protected public lands play an important role by providing recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, and amenities that attract and keep creative people in Colorado.

—Dr. Daphne Greenwood
Department of Economics
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs