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Region-wide Issues

Welcome to Northwest Colorado! All five counties in the Northwest Colorado region share similarities, yet each has unique social, economic and environmental challenges and opportunities. Each county has written a profile to describe their communities, interests and unique aspects to help you understand the place we call home. The counties of Grand, Jackson, Moffat Rio Blanco and Routt comprise the area of Northwest Colorado. The social, economic and environmental components of each county vary greatly and demonstrate the unique qualities of their communities including citizens, jobs, wages, recreation, environment, geography, and civic aspects. 


The economic opportunities in Northwest Colorado include significant natural resources for recreation, tourism and energy exploration and development.  Energy exploration and development and agriculture have long been part of our economy, while the recreation and tourism are a newer and growing industry. The construction industry fluctuates with the economic shifts and changes in the incoming population and demographics.  In the past twenty years, the healthcare and education sectors have also grown to be able to care for and educate the region’s residents. Our community colleges of Colorado Mountain College and Colorado Northwestern Community College provide a transition to four year college education and a variety of technical and trade certificate programs, which assist workforce development.


In our region, there is a great deal of interdependence between counties, noted by the movement of people to live, work and play. The economic sectors may rely on neighboring counties for workforce. Often workers in the region’s smaller towns or counties may not possess the appropriate skills necessary to fill the jobs within their own county. This impacts transportation on our highways.  Families may also feel the effects of this because caregivers, parents and wage-earners are living and working miles apart.

Regional Challenges

Our regional challenges include a higher cost of living, especially in the resort areas, long commuter travel times due to the distance between jobs and an “affordable community,” and the fact that we might live in one community and work elsewhere.  Access to healthcare is a challenge related to income and cost of living and the ability of communities to provide important services. Another regional challenge—and opportunity—is the population shifts in each county, such as the influx of the baby boomer generation and the out migration of our population ages 18 - 40. Each of our communities is challenged by the ability to adapt to these changes.

Northwest Colorado’s nonprofit organizations are a community asset. They provide services for people and promote the overall “health” of our communities in the areas of social, recreation, education, healthcare and general well-being. Our continued ability to communicate and cooperate will determine the future of our corner of Colorado. 


For additional information, please go to the regional needs assessments and community indicator reports below.

Yampa Valley Data Partners: 2012-2013 Community Indicator Report

The Grand Foundation: 2009 Grand County Needs Assessment

Jackson County Nursing Services: 2006 County Needs Assessment