El Paso County, Colorado

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El Paso County
El Paso County Justice Center by David Shankbone.jpg
El Paso County Justice Center
Map of Colorado highlighting El Paso County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
Colorado in United States.svg
Colorado's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 38°50′N104°31′W / 38.84°N 104.52°W / 38.84; -104.52
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of Colorado.svg  Colorado
FoundedNovember 1, 1861
Named for Spanish name for The Pass
Seat Colorado Springs
Largest cityColorado Springs
  Total2,130 sq mi (5,500 km2)
  Land2,127 sq mi (5,510 km2)
  Water2.7 sq mi (7 km2)  0.1%%
  Density329/sq mi (127/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
  Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district 5th
Website www.elpasoco.com
An isolated rural house next to a mountain in northern El Paso County. House in the mountains, El Paso County, CO IMG 5162.JPG
An isolated rural house next to a mountain in northern El Paso County.
Summer greenery of El Paso County Greenery of El Paso County, CO IMG 5163.JPG
Summer greenery of El Paso County

El Paso County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. The 2010 Census recorded its population of 622,263 for El Paso County. [1] The Census Bureau's 2018 estimate indicates it is the second-most populous county in Colorado, after the City and County of Denver. The county seat is Colorado Springs, [2] the second most populous city in Colorado. El Paso County is included in the Colorado Springs, Colorado, Metropolitan Statistical Area.


El Paso County is located in Colorado's 5th congressional district. Since its creation in 1871, El Paso County has typically voted for the Republican presidential candidate in presidential elections; the last Democratic nominee to win the county was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The Democratic Party won El Paso County four additional times prior, and the Populist Party won in 1892, with General James B. Weaver.

In 2004, the voters of Colorado Springs and El Paso County established the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) and adopted a 1% sales tax dedicated to improving the region's transportation infrastructure. Together with state funding for COSMIX (2007 completion) and the I-25 interchange with Highway 16 (2008 completion), significant progress has been made since 2003 in addressing the transportation needs of the area. In 2012, the county voted to legalize marijuana. [3] On March 12, 2019, the county commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to become a Second Amendment sanctuary. [4]


In July 1858, gold was discovered along the South Platte River in Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory. This discovery precipitated the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. Many residents of the mining region felt disconnected from the remote territorial governments of Kansas and Nebraska, so they voted to form their own Territory of Jefferson on October 24, 1859. The following month, the Jefferson Territorial Legislature organized 12 counties for the new territory including El Paso County. El Paso County was named for the Spanish language name for Ute Pass north of Pikes Peak. Colorado City served as the county seat of El Paso County.

The Jefferson Territory never received federal sanction, but on February 28, 1861, U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act organizing the Territory of Colorado. [5] El Paso County was one of the original 17 counties created by the Colorado legislature on November 1, 1861. Part of its western territory was broken off to create Teller County in 1899. Originally based in Old Colorado City (now part of Colorado Springs, not today's Colorado City between Pueblo and Walsenburg), El Paso County's county seat was moved to Colorado Springs in 1873.


El Paso County Fairgrounds in Calhan, Colorado El Paso County Fairground.jpg
El Paso County Fairgrounds in Calhan, Colorado

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,130 square miles (5,500 km2), of which 2,127 square miles (5,510 km2) are land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) (0.1%) are covered by water. [6]

Adjacent counties

Major highways

National protected area

Pikes Peak dominates the county's skyline. Pikes Peak from Colorado Springs by David Shankbone.jpg
Pikes Peak dominates the county's skyline.

State protected area

Historic sites



Historical population
1870 987
1880 7,949705.4%
1890 21,239167.2%
1900 31,60248.8%
1910 43,32137.1%
1920 44,0271.6%
1930 49,57012.6%
1940 54,0259.0%
1950 74,52337.9%
1960 143,74292.9%
1970 235,97264.2%
1980 309,42431.1%
1990 397,01428.3%
2000 516,92930.2%
2010 622,26320.4%
2019 (est.)720,403 [7] 15.8%
U.S. Decennial Census [8]
1790-1960 [9] 1900-1990 [10]
1990-2000 [11] 2010-2015 [1]

As of the census [12] of 2000, 516,929 people, 192,409 households, and 133,916 families resided in the county. The population density was 243 people per square mile (94/km2). The 202,428 housing units at averaged 95 per square mile (37/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 81.19% White, 6.51% Black or African American, 0.91% Native American, 2.53% Asian, 0.24% Pacific Islander, 4.70% from other races, and 3.91% from two or more races. About 11.30% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 192,409 households, 36.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.60% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.40% were not families. Around 23.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.11.

In El Paso county, the population pyramid was distributed as there being a slight surplus of males ages 0 to 45 and there after a slight surplus of females which is typical of most US populations. The greater than normal surplus of males between 18 and 35 are mainly due to the presence of five military installations located within the county. [13]

El Paso County Colorado Population Pyramid El Paso County Colorado Population Pyramid.png
El Paso County Colorado Population Pyramid




Census-designated places

Peyton, Colorado. Peyton Colorado by David Shankbone.jpg
Peyton, Colorado.

Other unincorporated communities


El Paso County Justice Center in Colorado Springs El Paso County Justice Center by David Shankbone.jpg
El Paso County Justice Center in Colorado Springs

El Paso County is governed by a board of county commissioners. Its current members are Holly Williams in district 1, Carrie Geitner in district 2, Stan VanderWerf in district 3, Longinos Gonzales Jr in district 4, and Cami Bremer in district 5.

The Colorado Department of Corrections has its headquarters in an unincorporated area in the county. [14] [15]

Elected Officials

PositionElected Official
County Commissioner District 1Holly Williams
County Commissioner District 2Carrie Geitner
County Commissioner District 3Stan VanderWerf
County Commissioner District 4Longinos Gonzalez Jr.
County Commissioner District 5Cami Bremer
County AssessorSteve Schleiker
County Clerk and RecorderChuck Broerman
County CoronerDr. Leon Kelly
District AttorneyMichael Allen
County SherriffSheriff Bill Elder
County SurveyorRichard Mariotti
County TreasurerMark Lowderman

Top employers

According to the city's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [16] the top employers in the city are:

#Employer % of County Employment (increase/decrease/flat)
1 Fort Carson 10.38% (+)
2 Peterson Air Force Base 3.89% (−)
3 Schriever Air Force Base 2.50% (−)
4 United States Air Force Academy 2.48% (−)
5 Colorado Springs School District 11 1.30% (−)
6 Academy School District 20 1.05% (+)
7Memorial Health Services1.03% (−)
8 Penrose-St. Francis Health Services 0.93% (=)
9City of Colorado Springs0.75% (−)
10El Paso County0.69% (−)


The Pikes Peak Library District provides library services through its 15 branches and bookmobiles to the residents of El Paso County, with the exception of Widefield School District 3. The mission of the District is "Providing resources and opportunities that impact individual lives and build community. Seek. Engage. Transform." [17]


El Paso is somewhat conservative for a large urban county. It is by far the most populous reliably Republican county in Colorado. The county's Republican tilt predates the evangelical Christian influence in the area. It has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1920, except for the Democratic landslides of 1936 and 1964. In 2020, Joe Biden became the first Democrat to garner 40 percent of the county's vote since Lyndon Johnson's landslide of 1964, and only the third to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Dick Lamm in 1982 remains the last Democrat to win the county in a gubernatorial election. Eight years later, the county was one of only four in the state to back governor Roy Romer's opponent John Andrews. [18] [19] The last Democrat to win the county in a Senate election was Gary Hart in 1974. [20]

Presidential election results
El Paso County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Republican Democratic Others
2020 53.5%202,82842.8% 161,9413.7% 14,082
2016 56.2%179,22833.9% 108,01010.0% 31,730
2012 58.9%170,95238.5% 111,8192.6% 7,404
2008 58.7%160,31839.9% 108,8991.5% 3,958
2004 66.7%161,36132.1% 77,6481.2% 2,779
2000 63.9%128,29430.8% 61,7995.3% 10,664
1996 59.0%102,40332.2% 55,8228.8% 15,216
1992 51.5%86,04427.4% 45,82721.1% 35,298
1988 70.0%96,96528.9% 39,9951.1% 1,506
1984 75.0%88,37723.9% 28,1851.0% 1,210
1980 63.7%66,19926.4% 27,4639.9% 10,328
1976 59.1%50,92938.2% 32,9112.7% 2,290
1972 69.1%53,89227.2% 21,2343.7% 2,859
1968 53.8%32,06635.6% 21,23210.7% 6,357
1964 46.0% 23,82253.8%27,8440.3% 141
1960 64.9%31,62534.9% 17,0180.1% 61
1956 58.5%27,28240.5% 18,8791.1% 505
1952 68.7%25,27230.5% 11,2030.8% 303
1948 55.3%15,70543.3% 12,2911.5% 423
1944 58.2%16,39241.4% 11,6790.4% 115
1940 55.3%16,76643.9% 13,3200.8% 229
1936 39.8% 10,96556.8%15,6523.3% 920
1932 49.4%12,01746.6% 11,3534.0% 980
1928 75.3%16,24323.5% 5,0691.2% 266
1924 55.7%10,21522.6% 4,14021.8% 3,989
1920 62.8%9,53533.4% 5,0733.8% 581
1916 43.6% 7,15951.0%8,3815.5% 897
1912 18.7% 2,81637.0%5,55944.3% 6,671 [lower-alpha 1]
1908 53.2%8,02239.7% 5,9956.9% 1,048
1904 62.0%9,58934.1% 5,2813.7% 579
1900 53.7%7,75543.1% 6,2303.0% 439
1896 25.7% 6,24872.8%17,6721.4% 340
1892 47.3% 2,65752.6%2,950
1888 60.5%2,16435.8% 1,2813.5% 127
1884 65.7%1,20929.0% 5345.2% 97
1880 65.3%1,15132.9% 5801.7% 30

Military installations

El Paso County is home to both Army and Air Force bases. These military installations border the city, to the north, south, and east, aside from Schriever Air Force Base, which is located about 10 miles east of Peterson AFB. [22] [ circular reference ]

Fort Carson

Fort Carson, "The Mountain Post", is located just south of Colorado Springs at the base of the Rocky Mountains. It was established in 1942, following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The city of Colorado Springs purchased land south of the city and donated it to the War Department. Construction began immediately and the first building, the camp headquarters, was completed January 31, 1942. Camp Carson was named in honor of the legendary Army scout, Gen. Christopher "Kit" Carson, who explored much of the West in the 1800s. Camp Carson became Fort Carson in 1954. An additional training area was purchased in September 1983 and is called Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS).

Currently, Fort Carson is the home of 4th Infantry Division and several other units, including 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), the Colorado National Guard Regional Training Institute and PCMS, which is a maneuver training site for Fort Carson located near Trinidad, Colorado. The installation totals about 137,000 acres and PCMS is roughly 236,000 acres. Fort Carson has around 3,000 family housing units and 66 soldier barracks with 8,132 rooms. Services on the installation include four elementary schools, one middle school, a commissary, an exchange, and Evans Army Community Hospital, as well as Army Community Service facilities to include child development centers and youth centers and family morale, welfare, and recreation facilities to include a bowling alley, golf course, and numerous parks.

Fort Carson's economic impact on Colorado Springs and the surrounding communities was approximately $2.3 billion during fiscal year 2014. Fort Carson has about 24,300 soldiers on the installation, with 44,700 family members. The installation also has around 8,000 veterans and 3,300 civilians. [23]

AFSPC Headquarters, Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs. PetersonAFB.jpg
AFSPC Headquarters, Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs.

Peterson Air Force Base

The Air Force has critical aspects of their service based at Colorado Springs, which carry on missile defense operations and development. The Air Force bases a large section of its national missile defense operations here, with Peterson Air Force Base set to operate large sections of the program. Peterson AFB is currently the headquarters of the majority of the Air Force Space Command and the operations-half of Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Strategic Command.[ citation needed ]

Peterson is also headquarters for the United States Northern Command, one of the Unified Combatant Commands, which directs all branches of the U.S. military operations in their area of responsibility, which includes the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico. In the event of national emergencies, the President or Secretary of Defense can call upon the command for any required military assistance. Service members from every branch of the US military are stationed at the command.[ citation needed ]

Schriever Air Force Base (formerly Falcon AFB)

Schriever Air Force Base is home to the 50th Space Wing, responsible for the operation and support of 175 Department of Defense satellites and installation support to 16 major tenant units, with a workforce of more than 7,700 personnel. [24] It is the location of the Global Positioning System (GPS) master control station and GPS Operations Center [25] and the US Naval Observatory Alternate Master Clock, [26] used to synchronize GPS satellite time. Schriever is also developing parts of national missile defense and runs parts of the annual wargames used by the nation's military.[ citation needed ] The base indirectly contributes an estimated $1 billion to the local Colorado Springs, CO area annually. [27]

Cadets in front of the Academy Chapel Air Force Academy Oath of Office.jpg
Cadets in front of the Academy Chapel

United States Air Force Academy

Bordering the northwestern side of the city are the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy, where cadets train to become officers in the Air Force. The campus is famous for its unique chapel, and draws visitors year round. Most of the Air Force Academy's sports programs participate in the Mountain West Conference. [28]

NORAD and Cheyenne Mountain Air Station

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a component of America's missile defense system, is located in Cheyenne Mountain Air Station. When it was built at the height of the Cold War, NORAD caused some anxiety for the residents in and around Colorado Springs, who believed the installation would be a primary target during a nuclear attack. Although NORAD still operates today, it is primarily given the task of the tracking of ICBMs, and the military has recently decided to place Cheyenne Mountain's NORAD/NORTHCOM operations on warm standby and move operations to nearby Peterson Air Force Base. [29]

See also


  1. The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 5,332 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 928 votes, Prohibition candidate Eugene Chafin received 394 votes, and Socialist Labor candidate Arthur Reimer received 17 votes.

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Peterson Space Force Base US Air Force base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

Peterson Space Force Base, previously Peterson Air Force Base, Peterson Field, and Army Air Base, Colorado Springs, is a U.S. Space Force Base that shares an airfield with the adjacent Colorado Springs Municipal Airport and is home to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Space Force's 21st Space Wing, elements of the Space Force's Space and Missile Systems Center, and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) headquarters. Developed as a World War II air support base for Camp Carson, the facility conducted Army Air Forces training and supported Cold War air defense centers at the nearby Ent Air Force Base, Chidlaw Building, and Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The base was the location of the Air Force Space Command headquarters from 1987 to 20 December 2019 and has had NORAD/NORTHCOM command center operations since the 2006 Cheyenne Mountain Realignment placed the nearby Cheyenne Mountain Complex centers on standby. On 26 July 2021, the installation was renamed Peterson Space Force Base to reflect its prominent role in the new space service.

Schriever Space Force Base U.S. Space Force base near Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

Schriever Space Force Base, previously Schriever Air Force Base, Falcon Air Force Base, and Falcon Air Force Station, is a base of the United States Space Force located approximately 10 mi (16 km) east of Peterson Space Force Base near Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States.

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History of Colorado Springs, Colorado Place in Colorado, United States

Before it was founded, the site of modern-day Colorado Springs, Colorado, was part of the American frontier. Old Colorado City, built in 1858 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush was the Colorado Territory capital. The town of Colorado Springs, was founded by General William Jackson Palmer as a resort town. Old Colorado City was annexed into Colorado Springs. Railroads brought tourists and visitors to the area from other parts of the United States and abroad. The city was noted for junctions for seven railways: Denver and Rio Grande (1870), Denver and New Orleans Manitou Branch (1882), Colorado Midland (1886-1918), Colorado Springs and Interurban, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (1889), Rock Island (1889), and Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek Railways. It was also known for mining exchanges and brokers for the Cripple Creek Gold Rush.

Geography of Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs geography describes geographical topics regarding the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado in El Paso County, Colorado. With 194.87 sq mi (504.7 km2) of land, it is the state's largest-sized city. Denver is the most populated city.

The recent politics of Colorado, United States, are that of a state considered a swing state.

Outline of Colorado Overview of and topical guide to Colorado

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Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station

Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station (CMSFS) is located on Cheyenne Mountain on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in unincorporated El Paso County, Colorado, USA, next to Colorado Springs, The Cheyenne Mountain Complex, an underground facility on Cheyenne Mountain SFS, was first built for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Combat Operations Center, though NORAD moved day-to-day operations to its headquarters on Peterson AFB in 2006. However, day-to-day operations were moved back in 2011 after a major overhaul and renovation. The location now supports U.S. Space Command's Missile Warning Center, other strategic warning and survivable capabilities, and provides a ready alternative operating location for NORAD's command center.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Peak Military Care Network (PMCN) is a nonprofit based in Colorado Springs Colorado. Founded in 2004, PMCN’s mission is to connect military service members, veterans and their families to community resources in the Colorado.


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Coordinates: 38°50′N104°31′W / 38.84°N 104.52°W / 38.84; -104.52