Aspenites among the valley’s most shifty |

Aspenites among the valley’s most shifty

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Aspen residents tend to be among the most shifty in the Roaring Fork Valley.

It might be a little more shocking that residents of the El Jebel area tend to stay put longest among the valley’s flock.

The migration patterns of residents from each town in the valley are among the sea of data available in the 2000 U.S. Census. The census examined how many people in each town were living in the same house where they resided five years prior, in 1995.

Carbondale had the lowest number by far, followed by Aspen, Basalt, Glenwood Springs and the El Jebel area. The census Web site didn’t recognize the Snowmass Village zip code, so data for that town couldn’t be retrieved.

Carbondale: People on the move

In Carbondale, only 29 percent, or 1,384, of 4,749 residents who lived in town at the turn of the century lived in the same house five years prior. However, that doesn’t mean everyone else was a newcomer. About 1,100 residents, or 23 percent, lived elsewhere in Carbondale or Garfield County in 1995, the census showed.

But Carbondale also had the valley’s greatest number of people coming from outside the country among the towns in the valley. Nearly 11 percent of the town’s population lived outside the United States in 1995. Many newcomers came from Mexico and Latin American countries.

Another 20 percent of the town’s population came from somewhere in America other than Colorado. And 17 percent of residents moved to the town from another part of the state outside of Garfield County. That figure included people who moved downvalley from Aspen and Basalt.

Carbondale’s population has always been mobile. The 1990 Census showed that only 28 percent of Carbondale’s residents were living in the same house in 1985. It also showed that only 31 people, or 1 percent of the town, lived in a different country in 1985.

Aspen: Always shifty

Aspen always experiences a huge turnover in population. College graduates come for a couple of years to enjoy life as ski bums before joining the real world. People accept jobs only to find they cannot deal with the high cost of living. And the middle class started fleeing downvalley in the mid-1980s.

Nevertheless, the town had more people in 2000 who had lived in the same house for five years than it did in 1990, according to census data.

In the latest census, about 38 percent or 2,122 of the town’s 5,578 residents lived in the same place in 1995. In the 1990 census, that figure was only 32 percent.

The number of residents who lived in a different country climbed only marginally, from 3 percent to 5 percent, in the decade between the censuses.

The 2000 data showed that 31 percent of Aspen’s population had lived in another house in Aspen or elsewhere in Pitkin County five years before. That’s consistent with the musical house game many renters face while searching for affordable digs.

It might be somewhat of a surprise that only 18 percent of Aspen’s population had moved from elsewhere in the U.S. in the last five years, and 7 percent moved in from elsewhere in the state.

Basalt becomes rock solid

Basalt, like El Jebel, saw a surge in its population’s stability between 1990 and 2000.

In 1990, only 24 percent of the small, sleepy town’s residents had lived in the same house five years prior, the census showed. By 2000 that figure climbed to 42 percent ” despite, or perhaps thanks to, a quadrupling of the population.

In 1990, only 67 residents or 6 percent of Basalt’s population said they lived in a different country five years prior. By 2000, that figure swelled to 394 or 8 percent of the population.

The town was a popular destination between 1995 and 2000 for people moving both from outside the state and from within Colorado. Nearly 16 percent of residents lived outside of the state in 1995. Another 18 percent lived elsewhere in Colorado and 16 percent of the town’s population moved since 1995 from somewhere else within the same county. (Basalt is located within both Pitkin and Eagle counties.)

El Jebel comes of age

El Jebel grabbed the title of stability in 2000 thanks to more than half its residents staying put in their homes.

About 56 percent, or 2,294 of 4,493 residents of the area, said in 2000 that they were in the same house they lived in five years prior. That was up from 26 percent in 1990.

The growth in that figure coincides with build-out of subdivisions like Blue Lake and Summit Vista, where year-round residents live.

The number of residents who had settled in El Jebel from a foreign country in the last five years increased from 2 percent in 1990 to 6 percent in 2000.

Among El Jebelians at the turn of this century, 10 percent lived somewhere else in the same county in 1995; 15 percent came from elsewhere in the state; and 13 percent came from out of state, the census showed.

Glenwood remains steady

Glenwood Springs mirrored the midvalley’s increase in stability during the 1990s. The number of residents who had lived in the same house five years before the censuses climbed from 37 percent in 1990 to 44 percent in 2000.

The town’s residents who moved in from out of the country went from less than 1 percent in 1990 to 5 percent in the latest census.

Glenwood was a popular draw for people who lived elsewhere within Garfield County. About 26 percent of the town’s 7,819 residents said in 2000 that they had lived some place else in Glenwood or Garfield County five years before. Another 12 percent came from somewhere else in Colorado.

The town attracted 14 percent of its population from out of state between 1995 and 2000, according to the census.

Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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