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Chaffee County, Colorado facts for kids

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Chaffee County
County of Chaffee
Old Chaffee County Courthouse
Old Chaffee County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
Country  United States
State  Colorado
Established February 10, 1879
Named for Jerome B. Chaffee
County seat Salida
Largest city Salida
Area
 • Total 1,015 sq mi (2,630 km2)
 • Land 1,013 sq mi (2,620 km2)
 • Water 1.6 sq mi (4 km2)  0.2%
Highest elevation
14,421 ft (4,396 m)
Population
19,476
 • Density 19/sq mi (7/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Area code 970 719
FIPS code 08015
GNIS feature ID 198123
Website www.chaffeecounty.org

Chaffee County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 19,476. The county seat is Salida.

History

Chaffee County has a confusing origin. Between February 8 and February 10, 1879, Carbonate County was created by the Colorado legislature out of northern Lake County. On February 10 the two counties were renamed, with the southern part of Lake County becoming Chaffee County, and Carbonate County becoming Lake County. Chaffee County is known as the “Heart of the Rockies”. It was named for Jerome B. Chaffee, Colorado's first United States Senator.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,015 square miles (2,630 km2), of which 1,013 square miles (2,620 km2) is land and 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2) (0.2%) is water.

National protected areas

Recreation area

  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Trails

  • American Discovery Trail
  • Colorado Trail
  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail

Bicycle routes

  • Great Parks Bicycle Route
  • Western Express Bicycle Route

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 6,512
1890 6,612 1.5%
1900 7,085 7.2%
1910 7,622 7.6%
1920 7,753 1.7%
1930 8,126 4.8%
1940 8,109 −0.2%
1950 7,168 −11.6%
1960 8,298 15.8%
1970 10,162 22.5%
1980 13,227 30.2%
1990 12,684 −4.1%
2000 16,242 28.1%
2010 17,809 9.6%
2020 19,476 9.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

At the 2000 census there were 16,242 people, 6,584 households, and 4,365 families living in the county. The population density was 16 people per square mile (6/km2). There were 8,392 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 90.94% White, 1.58% Black or African American, 1.09% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.21% from other races, and 1.69% from two or more races. 8.58% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Of the 6,584 households 25.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.70% were married couples living together, 6.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.70% were non-families. 28.40% of households were one person and 11.20% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.77.

The age distribution was 19.70% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 27.50% from 45 to 64, and 17.00% 65 or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 113.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.20 males.

The median household income was $34,368 and the median family income was $42,043. Males had a median income of $30,770 versus $22,219 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,430. About 7.40% of families and 11.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.30% of those under age 18 and 10.20% of those age 65 or over.

Chaffee County is also home to a source of water that Arrowhead water uses for some water bottles. The source is Ruby Mountain Springs.

Communities

Map of Chaffee County, Colorado
Chaffee County, Colorado
Buffalo Peaks outside of Buena Vista
Buffalo Peaks near Buena Vista

City

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

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