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Colfax County, New Mexico facts for kids

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Colfax County
Colfax County
Colfax County Courthouse in Raton
Colfax County Courthouse in Raton
Flag of Colfax County
Map of New Mexico highlighting Colfax County
Location within the U.S. state of New Mexico
Map of the United States highlighting New Mexico
New Mexico's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  New Mexico
Founded January 25, 1869
Named for Schuyler Colfax
Seat Raton
Largest city Raton
 • Total 3,768 sq mi (9,760 km2)
 • Land 3,758 sq mi (9,730 km2)
 • Water 10 sq mi (30 km2)  0.3%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 3.7/sq mi (1.4/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district 3rd
Veterans Monument, Raton, NM IMG 4981
Veterans Monument at Colfax County Courthouse in Raton
Santa Fe Railroad car in Raton, NM IMG 5006
Former Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad car displayed at Raton

Colfax County is a county in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,750. Its county seat is Raton. It is south from the Colorado state line. This county was named for Schuyler Colfax (1823–1885), seventeenth Vice President of the United States under U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant.

Colfax County is the home of Philmont Scout Ranch and the NRA Whittington Center.


Colfax County was originally part of Taos County, one of the original nine counties created by the New Mexico Territory in 1852. In 1859, the eastern part of Taos County, including all of the territory of Colfax County, was split off to form Mora County. Colfax County was established on January 25, 1869 from the northern part of Mora County. The original county seat was the gold mining town of Elizabethtown.

By 1872, when the gold rush in Elizabethtown had died down, the county seat was moved to Cimarron. Cimarron was on the stage coach route along the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail, and was the headquarters of the Maxwell Land Grant. The Colfax County Courthouse in Cimarron is a contributing structure in the Cimarron Historic District, and is still in use as a Masonic lodge.

In 1881, the county seat moved from Cimarron to Springer, on the former Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, since 1996 part of the Burlington Northern Railroad. The Colfax County Courthouse in Springer was the site of one of the last important shoot-outs in the Colfax County War. This former courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places is now a museum devoted to the Santa Fe Trail.

The eastern portions of Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel counties were severed to form Union County in 1893.

After a referendum and a bitter legislative fight, the county seat moved from Springer to Raton in 1897. Raton was an important coal-mining town, and was also a railroad center. The citizens of Raton raised $8000 to pay one third of the costs of a new courthouse. That courthouse was replaced in 1932 by the current Colfax County Courthouse (Raton, New Mexico), an art-deco WPA structure that also is on the National Register of Historic Places.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,768 square miles (9,760 km2), of which 3,758 square miles (9,730 km2) is land and 10 square miles (26 km2) (0.3%) is water.

A large portion of the County lies in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Geography ranges from prairies, to pinon forests, to alpine meadows.

The County contains numerous state parks, ski resorts, national forests, scenic vistas, and outdoor recreational activities.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 16,460
1920 21,550 30.9%
1930 19,157 −11.1%
1940 18,718 −2.3%
1950 16,761 −10.5%
1960 13,806 −17.6%
1970 12,170 −11.8%
1980 13,667 12.3%
1990 12,925 −5.4%
2000 14,189 9.8%
2010 13,750 −3.1%
2019 (est.) 11,941 −13.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2016

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 13,750 people, 6,011 households, and 3,749 families living in the county. The population density was 3.7 inhabitants per square mile (1.4/km2). There were 10,023 housing units at an average density of 2.7 per square mile (1.0/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 83.8% white, 1.5% American Indian, 0.5% black or African American, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 10.3% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 47.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 14.1% were German, 9.7% were Irish, 9.3% were English, 6.1% were Italian, and 3.7% were American.

Of the 6,011 households, 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 37.6% were non-families, and 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.78. The median age was 46.7 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,216 and the median income for a family was $48,450. Males had a median income of $35,849 versus $23,977 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,047. About 11.8% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.8% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.





Census-designated place

  • Ute Park

Unincorporated communities

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Colfax (Nuevo México) para niños

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