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Douglas County, Colorado

Douglas County, Colorado
One of two county buildings for Douglas County in Castle Rock
Map of Colorado highlighting Douglas County
Location in the state of Colorado
Map of the United States highlighting Colorado
Colorado's location in the U.S.
Founded November 1, 1861
Named for Stephen A. Douglas
Seat Castle Rock
Largest community Highlands Ranch
Area
 • Total 843 sq mi (2,183 km2)
 • Land 840 sq mi (2,176 km2)
 • Water 2.6 sq mi (7 km2), 0.3%
Population
 • (2010) 285,465
 • Density 340/sq mi (131/km²)
Congressional districts 4th, 6th
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Website .us.co.douglaswww
Second Douglas County office building in Castle Rock
Douglas County Events Center and Fairgrounds in Castle Rock
The "rock" of Castle Rock, Colorado

Douglas County is the eighth-most populous of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 285,465.[1] The county seat is Castle Rock.[2]

Douglas County is part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located midway between Colorado's two largest cities, Denver and Colorado Springs. Douglas County has the highest median household income of any Colorado county or statistical equivalent. It is ranked eighth nationally in that category, and has the highest of any county or equivalent not in the northeastern US.

Contents

  • Overview 1
  • History 2
  • Geography 3
    • Adjacent Counties 3.1
    • Parks and recreational areas 3.2
  • Demographics 4
  • Politics 5
  • Education 6
    • Libraries 6.1
  • Economy 7
    • Top employers 7.1
  • Recognition 8
  • Communities 9
    • Towns 9.1
    • Census-designated places 9.2
    • Unincorporated communities 9.3
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Overview

Douglas County is lightly wooded, mostly with ponderosa pine, with broken terrain characterized by mesas, foothills and small streams. Cherry Creek and Plum Creek rise in Douglas County and flow north toward Denver and into the South Platte River. Both were subject to flash flooding in the past, Plum Creek being partially responsible for the Denver flood of 1965. Cherry Creek is now dammed.

Most residents commute to workplaces elsewhere in the metropolitan area outside of the county. Suburban development is displacing the ranching economy of the county.

History

Douglas County was one of the original 17 counties created in the Colorado Territory by the Colorado Territorial Legislature on November 1, 1861. The county was named in honor of U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas[3] of Illinois, who died five months before the county was created. The county seat was originally Franktown, but was moved to California Ranch in 1863, and then to Castle Rock in 1874. Although the county's boundaries originally extended eastward to the Kansas state border, in 1874 most of the eastern portion of the county became part of Elbert County.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 843 square miles (2,180 km2), of which 840 square miles (2,200 km2) is land and 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2) (0.3%) is water.[4]

Adjacent Counties

Parks and recreational areas

Three state parks fall within Douglas County, Castlewood Canyon State Park, Chatfield State Park and Roxborough State Park. Parts of the county lie within the Pike National Forest and were crossed by the historic South Platte Trail.

Recreation trails in the county include:

The Rueter–Hess Reservoir, when filled, may provide significant recreation including fishing, hiking, and non-motorized boating. If filled to capacity, surface size would be 1,140 acres, making this a fairly significant reservoir in Colorado and Douglas County's largest body of water.

Demographics

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 175,766 people, 60,924 households, and 49,835 families residing in the county. The population density was 209 people per square mile (81/km²). There were 63,333 housing units at an average density of 75 per square mile (29/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.77% White, 2.51% Asian, 0.95% Black, 0.41% Native American, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.43% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. 5.06% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 60,924 households out of which 47.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.8% were married couples living together, 5.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.2% were non-families. 13.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.88 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the county the population was spread out with 31.6% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 37.9% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 4.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.4 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $82,929, and the median income for a family was $88,482 (these figures had risen to $93,819 and $102,767 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[10]). Males had a median income of $60,729 versus $38,965 for females. The per capita income for the county was $34,848. About 1.6% of families and 2.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and 3.7% of those age 65 or over.

Douglas County had the highest median household income of any Colorado county or statistical equivalent in 2000. In 2008, it ranked #8 in the United States in that category - it was one of two in the top 15 not in the vicinity of New York or Washington.

Politics

Like its adjacent county El Paso County, Douglas County has long been known as a Republican stronghold. In the 2012 election Mitt Romney won 62% of the vote.

Education

Douglas County is served by Douglas County School District RE-1, the third-largest school district in Colorado. In addition to traditional neighborhood schools, the district includes six charter schools, four option schools and an online school . Schools are rated generally high in the area.

The University Center at Chaparral in Parker offers courses through Arapahoe Community College, University of Colorado Denver, University College of the University of Denver, and the Douglas County School District. The University of Phoenix has a campus in Lone Tree.

Libraries

The Douglas County Libraries system has seven branches throughout the county. The library also houses the Douglas County History Research Center, which collects and preserves the history of Douglas County, the High Plains, the Divide area of the Front Range and the State of Colorado in order to provide historical research resources to the public.

Economy

Top employers

Douglas County School District office in Castle Rock

According to the County's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[11] the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Douglas County School District RE-1 6,245
2 EchoStar 1,840
3 CH2M HILL 1,600
4 tw telecom 1,100
5 Western Union 1,090
6 Douglas County 1,061
7 HealthONE: Sky Ridge Medical Center 1,030
8 Centura Health: Parker Adventist Hospitals 840
9 Liberty Media 730
10 IHS 700

Recognition

Douglas County has been recognized by a number of national periodicals:

Communities

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 108. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  10. ^ "Douglas County, Colorado - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  11. ^ Douglas County CAFR
  12. ^ "Best Places to Live 2009 - Top 25: Fastest job growth - from MONEY Magazine". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  13. ^ "Go west for top quality of life". bizjournals. 2004-05-24. Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  14. ^ "Colorado State Districts - CO School District Rankings". Schooldigger.com. Retrieved 2010-07-22. 

External links

  • Douglas County website Douglas County Website
  • Douglas County School Information Douglas County Schools
  • Douglas County Sheriff Department website
  • YourHub.com/DouglasCounty
  • Colorado Historical Society Colorado Historical Society
  • Colorado County Evolution by Don Stanwyck
  • Douglas County Library Douglas County Library
  • Our Douglas County Colorado News and Events

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