Colorado, known for its beautiful Rocky Mountain range, has the highest average elevation with more mountains reaching greater than 14,000 feet than any other state. Theodore Roosevelt perceived it as the Switzerland of America. The state was given the Spanish name for red which is the color of the Colorado River. Colorado covers 103,718 square miles, with a 2014 estimated population of 5,355,866 people – 689,445 living in rural Colorado (USDA-ERS). Denver, the capital, is located in the north-central region of the state. Colorado’s largest cities are Denver, Colorado Springs and Aurora. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 87.7% of the state’s population is white, 4.5% is African American/Black, 3.1% is Asian, 1.6% is American Indian and Alaska Native, and 21.2% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (U.S. Census, 2014).

Colorado Rural Healthcare Facilities

Colorado Rural Healthcare Facilities map

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There are 82 hospitals in Colorado (Kaiser, 2014), 40 of which are located in rural areas (Colorado Hospital Association, 2011). Colorado has 29 hospitals identified as Critical Access Hospitals (Flex Team, 12/2015). There are 52 Rural Health Clinics in Colorado (CRHC), and 15 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 153 sites in the state (Colorado Community Health Network).

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural Colorado

Across the state, 11% of Coloradans lack any health insurance (Kaiser, 2014). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Coloradans in 2014 was $48,869 although rural per-capita income lagged at $43,360. The ERS reports, based on 2010-2014 ACS data, that the poverty rate in rural Colorado is 14.8%, compared with 12.8% in urban areas of the state. 11.7% of the rural population has not completed high school, while 9.3% of the urban population lacks a high school diploma according to 2010-2014 ACS data reported by ERS. The unemployment rate in rural Colorado is at 5.2%, while in urban Colorado it is at 5.0% (USDA-ERS, 2014).

For a national comparison, please see an overview of the United States.

Data Sources
Colorado Community Health Network; Colorado Health Institute; Colorado Hospital Association; Colorado Rural Health Center (CRHC); Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets


Colorado Rural Health Center
Phone: 303.832.7493
An independent, non-profit, membership-based organization that serves as the State Office of Rural Health for Colorado. Offers programs and services to ensure that rural communities have access to adequate healthcare.
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