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Douglas County, Colorado facts for kids

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Douglas County
One of two county buildings for Douglas County in Castle Rock
One of two county buildings for Douglas County in Castle Rock
Map of Colorado highlighting Douglas County
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
Map of the United States highlighting Colorado
Colorado's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Colorado
Founded November 1, 1861
Named for Stephen A. Douglas
Seat Castle Rock
Largest community Highlands Ranch
 • Total 843 sq mi (2,180 km2)
 • Land 840 sq mi (2,200 km2)
 • Water 2.6 sq mi (7 km2)  0.3%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 426/sq mi (164/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional districts 4th, 6th
Second Douglas County, CO, county building IMG 5196
Second Douglas County office building in Castle Rock
Douglas Co., CO, Events Center and Fairgrounds IMG 5187
Douglas County Events Center and Fairgrounds in Castle Rock
The rock of Castle Rock IMG 5189
The "rock castle" of Castle Rock, Colorado

Douglas County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 357,978. The county seat is Castle Rock.

Douglas County is part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado, metropolitan statistical area. It is located midway between Colorado's two largest cities, Denver and Colorado Springs, and contains a portion of Aurora, the state's third-largest city. Douglas County has the highest median household income of any Colorado county or statistical equivalent. It is ranked seventh nationally in that category.


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.


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 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.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 844 square miles (2,190 km2), of which 841 square miles (2,180 km2) is land and 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2) (0.3%) is water.

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.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,388
1880 2,486 79.1%
1890 3,006 20.9%
1900 3,120 3.8%
1910 3,192 2.3%
1920 3,517 10.2%
1930 3,498 −0.5%
1940 3,496 −0.1%
1950 3,507 0.3%
1960 4,816 37.3%
1970 8,407 74.6%
1980 25,153 199.2%
1990 60,391 140.1%
2000 175,766 191.0%
2010 285,465 62.4%
2020 357,978 25.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

As of the census of 2000, 175,766 people, 60,924 households, and 49,835 families were residing in the county. The population density was 209 people per square mile (81/km2). The 63,333 housing units averaged 75 per square mile (29/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.77% White, 2.51% Asian, 0.95% African American, 0.41% Native American, 1.49% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 5.06% of the population.

Of the 60,924 households, 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 not families. About 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 distribution was 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 for a family was $88,482 (these figures had risen to $93,819 and $102,767, respectively, as of a 2007 estimate). 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 eighth 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.


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

  • Money magazine ranked Douglas County No. 5 in the United States for “Job Growth over the Last Eight Years”. (Towns include Castle Rock, Parker, Stonegate, Lone Tree, and Highlands Ranch), 18 August 2009
  • American City Business Journals (ACBJ) ranked Douglas County No. 4 in the nation for “Quality of Life,” May 2004




Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities


Top employers

Douglas County, CO, School District office IMG 5629
Douglas County School District office in Castle Rock

According to the county's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Douglas County School District RE-1 5,563
2 Charles Schwab Corporation 2,400
3 EchoStar 2,010
4 CH2M Hill 1,660
5 HealthONE: Sky Ridge Medical Center 1,220
6 Western Union 1,210
7 Douglas County Government 1,146
8 Centura Health: Parker Adventist Hospital 1,110
9 Information Handling Services 980
10 Specialized Loan Servicing 940


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.

The University of Colorado offers courses from both its Boulder campus and its Denver campus at the CU-South Extension in Lone Tree.


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, to provide historical research resources to the public.

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