Our Communities

Northeast County Profiles

Cheyenne County Profile

History and Geography

The towns of Cheyenne Wells and Kit Carson are incorporated, and the communities of Arapahoe and Wild Horse are unincorporated. Out of Colorado’s 64 counties, Cheyenne County is the sixth least dense. The town of Cheyenne Wells was the site of the first radio wave telephone system in the nation, strategically placed to connect isolated frontier families with the rest of the world. The town of Kit Carson is named for an American Frontiersman, and although Cheyenne County is named for its original inhabitants, most were forced out over a hundred years ago by state politicians. In 1864, Colorado Governor John Evans issued a proclamation that all “peaceful Indians” living in eastern Colorado must report directly to Sand Creek, and that white settlers could indiscriminately kill any “hostile Indians” that did not comply. Of the native tribes that reported to Sand Creek, nearly all (mostly women and children) were murdered in November of 1864 by Colorado state militia during the Sand Creek Massacre.

Demographics

The 2013 population of Cheyenne County was 1,887 individuals, over 800 of whom live within the incorporated town and county seat of Cheyenne Wells. The majority of residents identify as white (84.3%) and Hispanic or Latino (12.7%). The county has extraordinarily low rates of violent crime, at just 0.36 violent incidences per 1,000 residents.

Economy

The economy is historically rooted in agriculture and railroads, and today is one of the highest producing regions for oil, gas, and petroleum production and export. The labor force and the number of companies are the smallest in the region, at just 1,144 workers and 305 firms. Although 96.5% of the workforce is employed, the poverty rate is 13.4%. Nearly a fifth (19.4%) of housing units are vacant, and the median home price ($84,200) is significantly lower than surrounding counties. There is only one newspaper in Cheyenne County: a locally owned weekly publication, the “Range Ledger.”

Education

Nearly two thirds of kindergarteners (64.3%) enrolled in a full day program, however the Colorado Office of Early Childhood has defined the county as a “child care desert,” with a capacity to serve less than 50% of the county’s young children. There are 5 public schools in the county, with an enrollment of 293 students and a high school graduation rate of 83.3%.

Health

Cheyenne has a deficit of qualified medical professionals, with just 1 pharmacist and 21 registered nurses comprising their entire suite of medical care. Given the lack of qualified medical professionals, they are ranked 43rd in terms of Colorado County clinical care.

A quarter of residents (25%) have an obese BMI, and 23% of adults report they do not incorporate any physical activity into their leisure time.

Transportation

The Outback Express is a public transit system composed of 19 wheelchair accessible buses and vans, which serves the Colorado counties of Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson and Lincoln. While these vehicles are intended for local trips, they are available to transport residents to Denver or Colorado Springs for necessary medical appointments. The Outback Express is a program of the Prairie Development Corporation, a nonprofit economic development group of Eastern Colorado.

Kit Carson County Profile

History and Geography

The first ranchers arrived to the county in the 1870’s, as the native inhabitants were forcibly relocated by the Colorado state government. Kit Carson County was established in 1889 and named for the American frontiersman of the same name. The town of Burlington grew around a station for the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific railroad, which began running in 1888. Today, Burlington is the most populous municipality and the county seat of Kit Carson.

Demographics

The population of Kit Carson is 8,052 with over 50% of the population living in the county seat of Burlington. Two thirds of inhabitants are white and 19.1% identify as Hispanic or Latino. Over a sixth (16.3%) of residents speak a language other than English at home.

Economy

Growing and harvesting wheat, sunflowers, beans, and corn is the primary economic activity in Lincoln County. The unemployment rate (4.2%) is lower than the Colorado state average, however the poverty rate (15.5%) is higher than the Colorado state average. The Kit Carson average hourly wage and median household income are both lower than the Colorado state averages.

Education

Kids Count reported that 100% of Kit Carson kindergarteners are enrolled in a full day preschool, but a report by the Colorado Office of Early Education highlighted that childcare capacity for youth under the age of 5 is strongest in the center of the county (58% licensed capacity), and starkly lower in the western and eastern thirds of the county (35% capacity, 41% capacity, respectively). Over half of Kit Carson students (56.9%) qualify for free or reduced lunch and nearly a third (32.0%) of resident 4th graders are not proficient in reading. 19.5% of youth under the age of 18 are living in poverty. Kit Carson has the lowest proportion of residents who have achieved a bachelor’s degree or higher (13.9%) than the surrounding eastern plains communities.

Health

Nearly a quarter of adult Kit Carson residents do not incorporate any physical activity into their leisure time (24%) and a similar proportion of the adult population has a BMI that qualifies them as obese (26%). The prevalence of diabetes (9% of Kit Carson residents) is higher than the state average of 6%. There are no pharmacists or psychologists in Kit Carson County and there is a shortage of mental health care providers (2009 residents to 1 qualified mental health care provider).

The County Health Rankings rates Kit Carson in the lower 15th percentile for clinical care (54 out of 64 counties) and physical environment (56 out of 64). The Kit Carson Memorial Hospital offers cardiac care, surgical services, hospice care, delivery rooms, pharmacy, and physical therapy services.

Transportation

Within the city of Burlington the “Bus for Us” provides limited route services and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) operates in both Kit Carson and Lincoln counties.

The Outback Express is a public transit system composed of 19 wheelchair accessible buses and vans, which serves the counties of Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson, and Lincoln. While these vehicles are intended for local trips, they are available to transport residents to Denver or Colorado Springs for necessary medical appointments. The Outback Express is a program of the Prairie Development Corporation, a nonprofit economic development group of Eastern Colorado.

Lincoln County Profile

History and Geography

Lincoln County, named in remembrance of late President Lincoln, is home to historic ranching communities as well as modern adaptations to the I-70 corridor. During the Great Depression President Franklin Roosevelt targeted Eastern Colorado for New Deal projects, because in addition to the economic depression, the communities of eastern Colorado in the 1930’s were faced with drought, dust storms, and grasshopper infestations. In Lincoln County, the Hugo Municipal Pool represents one of these projects.

The town of Hugo was founded as a stagecoach stop and today retains its roots in western ranching. The City of Limon was named for a railroad construction supervisor, and Limon today serves as the interchange between the Kyle Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad.

Demographics

Lincoln County has 5,420 residents, the majority of whom live in the City of Limon. The population is relatively stable, having decreased only .8% from 2010 to 2013. The majority of Lincoln residents identify as white (79.5%) or Hispanic or Latino (12.5%). Nearly one in ten (9.6%) residents speak a language other than English at home. The median age of a Lincoln County resident is 38.7, and the 2013 American Community reported that 60% of county residents identify as male.

Economy

The largest employers in Lincoln County are the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Lincoln Community Hospital, and the county government. The economy of Lincoln is primarily focused on ranching, however the nexus of I-70 and 6 other state and federal highways at the community of Limon facilitate the city’s effort to capitalize on the needs and desires of travelers. At 16.3%, the poverty rate in Lincoln is higher than both the state average and the surrounding eastern plains communities. The average hourly wage is a full $9 less than the state average of $24. Two thirds of homes are owned, and 19.5% are considered vacant.

Education

Nearly a quarter of all Lincoln County children (24.5%) are living below the poverty line, which is higher than both the state average and the average of surrounding Colorado counties. Only 29.2% of kindergarteners are enrolled in a full day program. The high school graduation rate for Lincoln county students is 74.6%. The proportion of students receiving free and reduced lunch (43.5%) is higher than the state average.

Health

Lincoln County demonstrates high rates of diabetes (9%) and adult obesity (24%). In terms of alcohol abuse, Lincoln County reports low rates of binge drinking and vehicular deaths involving alcohol (9% and 14%, respectively) than the surrounding counties and the state at large.

Lincoln Community Hospital is a 15 bed Rural Critical Access hospital located in central Hugo, serving the counties of Lincoln, Kit Carson, Cheyenne, Elbert, and Washington. Lincoln Community is defined as a level IV trauma center with imaging services, community clinics, and behavioral health services. There are no psychologists or social workers in Lincoln County, and only one dentist. There are no community mental health centers and no rural health clinics.

Transportation

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is an on-demand service that operates in both Kit Carson and Lincoln counties.

The Outback Express is a public transit system composed of 19 wheelchair accessible buses and vans, which serves the Colorado counties of Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson, and Lincoln. While these vehicles are intended for local trips, they are available to transport residents to Denver or Colorado Springs for necessary medical appointments. The Outback Express is a program of the Prairie Development Corporation, a nonprofit economic development group of Eastern Colorado.

Logan County Profile

History and Geography

The county was formerly a part of Weld County and citizens from the eastern part of the state were required to travel to Greeley, the county seat, to conduct official business. Citizens petitioned the state legislature to form the new county. The county was named for John Alexander Logan, who was a Union general, congressman, U.S. senator and vice presidential candidate. Later on, Phillips and Sedgwick counties were created from the original Logan County.

Located 125 miles from Denver, 90 minutes from Denver International Airport and 40 minutes from I-80, Logan County is a rapidly growing agriculture and industry-based community. Logan County’s original development as an agricultural community has gifted it with a heritage rich in “small town” atmosphere with a beautiful downtown and friendly neighbors.

Sterling, the county seat, serves as the commercial hub for approximately 60,000 people in the county. Downtown Sterling was listed on the National Register in 2013 with 47 sites which contribute to historical significance. The Overland Trail and Museum is the home of the most heavily traveled highway that led to the goldfields of California and Colorado.

Demographics

Logan County grew at a rate of 16.7% between 1990 and 2000. Despite this high growth, the population began to stagnate in the early 2000’s. Between 2010 and 2014 the county saw a downturn by .8% or 185 people.

With 12.4 persons per square mile, the county is primarily white (80.6%), with an increasing Hispanic or Latino (16.1%) population, and nearly 6% of the population having been born outside of the U.S. The median age is 37.2 with nearly 20% of the population under the age of 18, and over 15% 65 and older. The county is also recognized as 17th in the state for overall quality of life.

Economy

With over 600 businesses located in the county the industrial and commercial sector continues to grow and diversify. Logan County has 527 wind turbines in production or planned. The wind energy and re- emergence of oil & gas production has generated new job growth and service opportunities. The largest industries in Logan County are: retail trade, construction, and heath care & social assistance. In Logan County the median household income is $40,637, and the average home price is $119,800.

Education

Logan County currently shares an Early Childhood Council with Phillips and Sedgwick Counties, whom have limited to no early childhood care available. The county has two school districts: Merino and Valley, with 14 public schools and an enrollment of 3,054. Nearly 20% of the children enrolled are experiencing poverty, 43% are on free or reduced lunch, and 27.8% of Logan County fourth graders are not proficient in reading.

Despite these struggles, Logan continues to have a high graduation rate of 87.4%. There continues to be a push for higher education with only 15.8% of the current permanent population having attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Health and Human Services

Currently, 87.3% of children are enrolled in Medicaid, while 11.2% of children remain uninsured. Of the adult population, 12.8% are uninsured and only 19.9% are enrolled in Medicaid. There are only 29 health physicians in the county, and the closest hospital is the Sterling Regional Medical Center. This facility is a 25-bed, acute care, regional hospital serving many of the counties in northeastern Colorado.

Transportation

County Express is a demand-response public transportation service within Northeastern Colorado in the counties of Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma. Meanwhile, Prairie Express buses operate on a fixed route and schedule in the Sterling area. They also provide Route-Deviation Service Monday through Friday within the Sterling area in which they are able to accommodate demand-response trips.

Morgan County Profile

History and Geography

Morgan County was formed in 1889 from part of Weld County. Morgan County is located on the high plains of Northeastern Colorado, 85 miles from Metro Denver on Interstate Highway 76 and within an hour’s drive from the Denver International Airport. Measuring 36 miles long and 36 miles wide, the county encompasses 1,296 square miles. Morgan County is abundantly rich agriculturally with many irrigation and dry land farms as well as beef, sheep and dairy ranches.

The county seat is Fort Morgan. Camp Wardwell was established along the Overland Trail in 1865 in order to protect emigrant and supplies going between Denver and Colorado mining districts. The camp was renamed in 1866 after Colonel Christopher A. Morgan, one of General John Pope’s valued staff members. In 1868 the fort closed after being used by 19 different companies from about 11 cavalry and infantry regiments. Glenn Miller grew up here and is honored each year at the Glenn Miller Swing Fest. The City of Brush offers a rich history that began in the late 1800’s as a supply station and cattle shipping point beginning on the Texas Montana Trail. This quiet town is full of tradition. Smaller towns in the county include Wiggins, Weldona and Snyder.

Demographics

The population of Morgan County was 26,308 in 2013, which is a +6.5% change since 2010. Morgan is primarily white (61.2%), and the next largest ethnic group is Hispanic or Latino (34.2%). The majority of Morgan County residents (73.5%) speak English at home.

Economy

The economy of the county is based largely on ranching, farming and other agricultural industry. Morgan County is ranked third among Colorado counties for value of crops and livestock produced. Major crops include dairy, beef, corn, sugar beets and hay. Manufacturing, education and health care are also among the highest employing industries. The largest employers in the county include the Cargill Beef Plant, with 2,112 employees; Leprino Foods, with 200 employees; Western Sugar, with 200 employees; and the Colorado Plains Medical Center with 180 employees.

Leaders in Morgan County are working to develop a state of the art broadband system and infrastructure that will provide Morgan County users with options for quality voice, high-speed Internet, video conferencing, and data transmission capabilities that are reliable and affordable. This will allow more Morgan County residents to do business with partners located outside of the region and the state.

The largest industries in Morgan County are manufacturing, health care & social assistance, and education services. In Morgan County the median household income is $43,209, and the average home price is $137,000.

Education

Morgan County has four school districts: Brush, Fort Morgan, Weldon, and Wiggins, with 18 public schools and an enrollment of 5,460. Morgan County has an Early Childhood Council located in Fort Morgan. 38.0% of Morgan County fourth graders are not proficient in reading. The high school graduation rate is 77.8%, and 15.1% of the population has attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Health and Human Services

12.8 percent of Morgan County residents are uninsured, and 25.2% of the population is enrolled in Medicaid. East Morgan County Hospital, located in Brush, offers 25 beds and a number of patient services. Colorado Plains Medical Center is a 50-bed acute-care hospital, fully accredited by The Joint Commission. With a Level III Trauma Center, a 24-hour Emergency Room and many other services, the hospital chiefly serves a two-county area of 35,000 and is located in Fort Morgan.

Transportation

County Express is a demand-response public transportation service within Northeastern Colorado in the counties of Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma.

Phillips County Profile

History and Geography

In March of 1889 the state legislature created Phillips County, named in honor of R.O. Phillips, the secretary of the Lincoln Land Co. After surviving early challenges due to the Panic of 1883 and the Great Depression, Phillips County remains rooted in the Colorado prairie, among the undulating sandhills with buffalo grass. Phillips County is located in the far northeast corner of the state and has a total area of 688 square miles.

The Town of Haxtun is in the western part of Phillips County and offers a host of interesting amenities including the National Historic Town Hall, great restaurants, the historic and lush town park, beautiful churches and unique stores.

Holyoke is proud of the wonderful quality of life and cost of living it offers, along with providing all of the essential services. There are numerous community activities, which entertain all age groups and its many visitors. A walking tour of Holyoke showcases the lively downtown with its rebuilt historic movie theatre and various shopping opportunities. Only a block away, the Phillips County Museum houses a rich collection of Indian and pioneer artifacts, farm equipment and restored buildings. Every town has a grain elevator and in Amherst you’ll find one of the largest concrete style grain elevators west of the Mississippi. All across the county you will see examples of a deep appreciation for history.

Demographics

Between 2010 and 2014 Phillips County saw a decline of 1.8% in their total population to 4,363. Nearly a quarter of the population is under 18 and over 6% under the age of 5. The senior population is also fairly high with over 20% of the population 65 and older.

Phillips County is fairly diverse in comparison to its neighbors with nearly three-fourths of the population white (72.9%), and the remaining population mainly Hispanic or Latino (24.8%). The county excels in the region, ranking 4th for quality of life and 12th in social economic factors.

Economy

Phillips County continues to be a leader in agricultural production. Agriculture is a main focus and is 40% of the counties income is derived from this industry. Phillips County continues to be ranked in the top 10 in Colorado for inventory of hogs and pigs, corn for grain, wheat and other crops.

The county is proud of the number three ranking it receives for corn and grain acres. The commodity sales of grains, oilseeds, dry beans and dry peas ranked 3rd in Colorado. These numbers show a dedication to a technology driven workforce in agriculture production. This is largely attributed to the development of irrigation during the past 40 years for the production of cash crops such as beans, sugar beets, corn and wheat.

The water in Phillips County comes from the Ogallala Aquifer. There is a sizable amount of irrigation throughout the county and all of the water is of very good quality. Among Phillips County’s manufacturing and processing facilities are Jack’s Bean Company, a dry bean processing plant, and Speer Cushion Co., a manufacturer of seats for agricultural and industrial equipment.

The largest industries in Phillips County are agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting, health care & social assistance, and public administration. The median household income is $44,064, and the average home price is $132,700.

Education

Phillips County has two school districts; Haxtun and Holyoke, with 4 public schools and an enrollment of 922. Students receive close instruction by teachers with a student teacher ratio of 13:1. This type of close instruction has led to 86.6% of the student population graduating, and 70% of fourth graders who are proficient in reading – more than the state average. Currently, only 16.8% of the population has attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Health and Human Services

Phillips County has decreased the gap in uninsured residents from 12.8% in 2013 to 5.6% in 2015. Despite this increase in medical coverage, over 23% of the population find themselves in underinsured plans. Another 22% of the population are enrolled in Medicaid, which is 8.3% higher than the state average.

Phillips County has 6 health physicians in the area, while neighboring Logan County has 23. The county does have two regional hospitals in the county. The Melissa Memorial Hospital is a 15 bed Critical Access Hospital with acute care services, swing bed services, 24-hour emergency services and a wide array of diagnostic and therapeutic services provides to inpatients and outpatients, including various specialty services. Meanwhile, Haxtun Hospital District is a 25 bed facility that provides inpatient, outpatient, and emergency medical services.

Transportation

County Express is a demand-response public transportation service within Northeastern Colorado in the counties of Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma.

Sedgwick County Profile

History and Geography

Sedgwick County is tucked away in the farthest northeast corner of Colorado. Bordered on the north and east by the Nebraska border, Sedgwick County and the City of Julesburg offer easy access to both I-76 and I-80 which lend to its nickname, “Gateway to Colorado.”

The community is steeped in history and lore of cowboys, and was historically a favored hunting and camping ground of Cheyenne, Sioux, Pawnee and Arapahoe Indians. In 1793, the Mallet brothers, French traders from the Illinois French settlement, traveled as far west as the junction of the South Platte for some distance before turning south to the Arkansas River, and onto Santa Fe. It is claimed that these Frenchman gave the river its name—Platte.

With the discovery of gold in California and in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado, pioneers traveled the famous trails through Sedgwick County, including the Overland Stage (1859), the Oregon and Mormon Trails, Bozeman Trail, the Upper California crossing, the Western Union Telegraph, the Union Pacific Rail road, and the only Pony Express station in Colorado (1860). These trails and other natural and historic landmarks have been marked throughout Sedgwick County.

Available recreational activities in Sedgwick County include water sports at Jumbo Reservoir as well as hunting, fishing or wildlife viewing along the South Platte River, a visit to the local Depot Museum or taking a walking tours of the many historical buildings in town.

Demographics

The population of Sedgwick County has seen a downward trend since the eighties. Between 1980 and 2006, the overall population of Sedgwick decreased by 24.5%. Currently, the population has seen a -1.3% change since 2010. According to the 2014 U.S. Census estimates, the current population is 2,348. Nearly a quarter of the population is 65 years and over, while another 20% is under the age of 18.

Sedgwick County has a similar breakdown in diversity in comparison to its neighbors with a white population of 79.6%, and a growing Hispanic and Latino population (15.1%).

Economy

Sedgwick County depends on corn for grain and silage, wheat, sorghum, grain, dry beans, barley, millet, oats, sugar beets, cattle, swine production, and a number of agriculturally related businesses as its economic base. There are nearly 1,630 local industries – 51.4% non-farm and 48.6% farms – which employ nearly 1,200 individuals. The median household income is $40,221, while 18.9% of the county remains below the poverty line.

Sedgwick County is also an Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone. Businesses that create new jobs in a new or qualifying expanded business facility in an eligible Enhanced Rural EZ will be eligible for an additional state income tax credit of $2,000+ per new business facility employee. Other efforts to spur new job growth include the Northeastern Colorado Revolving Loan Fund, which provides investment capital to new and expanding businesses.

Education

Early Childhood Council programs are shared amongst Logan and Phillips counties as the number of licensed childcare providers remain low across all three counties. The county does have two local school districts; Julesburg and Platte Valley, with 5 public schools between them and an enrollment of 1,268. The current high school graduation rate is 86.8%

Sedgwick does face challenges in child poverty with 22.9% of those under 18 experiencing poverty. Over 43% of students participate in the free and reduced lunch program, and 35.1% of fourth graders are not proficient in reading. The greater adult community has a total 15% who have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Health and Human Services

Sedgwick County has fairly few health support services available with two full-time doctors, one assisted living center, one nursing home, one clinic, and one hospital. The Memorial Hospital is a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital with a service area of approximately 6,000 people. The ambulance service is owned by Sedgwick County with 38 volunteers of whom 21 are certified EMT’s.

While the quality of life is in the top 10 compared to other Colorado counties, its overall health outcomes is ranked at 46, and overall socio economic factors at 41. 5.6% of the adult population is currently uninsured, with 23.7% falling into underinsured plans. Over a quarter of the population is enrolled in Medicaid.

Transportation

County Express is a demand-response public transportation service within Northeastern Colorado in the counties of Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma.

Washington County Profile

History and Geography

Washington County was carved out of Weld County in 1887 and incorporated about five years after the first B&MR locomotive steamed through the region. The county was named in honor of the first president of the United States of America, George Washington.

Small town living here is a peaceful blend of past and present. Washington County was once a dangerous and rugged place for both natives and settlers. On July 11, 1869, Summit Springs was the site of a bloody conflict between cavalry soldiers, Cheyenne and Sioux Indians. Today, four stones mark the battle, which is north of Akron on Highway 63.

The most current stone marker is for Susannah Aldrich, who had been captured and killed by Chief Tall Bull of the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. Buffalo Bill Cody participated in the battle that would later defeat Chief Tall Bull and would go on to recreate this battle it in his Wild West Show. There is a fence that still separates the monuments from the private ground where the battle occurred and where the actual springs are located.

Washington County is located in the center of Northeastern Colorado; ideally situated along Highways 34 and 63, with swift and easy access to Interstates 76 and 70. The county is within 100 miles of Denver and has quick access to U.S. trade routes. Most of the land is dedicated to family farming and ranching. Washington County is one of the highest agricultural producers in Colorado.

Demographics

The median age of Washington County is 44.2 years, with over 20% of the population under the age of 18, and an additional 20% over the age of 65. Population growth in the county has stagnated in recent years with a decline of 0.7% since 2010 to a total population of 4,780 – or 1.9 persons per square mile.

The composition of Washington County is primarily white (88.7%), with a much smaller Hispanic and Latino population (9.1%) than its neighboring counties.

Economy

The primary crops grown in this county are corn, oats and wheat. The largest industries in Washington County are agriculture, oil and gas, utilities, wholesale trading, mining, public administration, and education.

Between 2013 and 2014 the unemployment rate dropped by 2% and job growth was up nearly one percent. Median home prices increased by 11.9%, and median household income increased to $40,914. The Akron laborshed is made up of an estimated 11,924 people and extends over 9 Colorado counties.

Overall it represents 4.7% of the Northeastern Colorado population, and provides 5.3% of its civilian labor force.

Education

Washington County has five school districts: Akron, Arickaree, Lone Star, Otis, and Woodlin. Combined there are 11 public schools, an enrollment of 871, and a student teacher ratio of 9:1 – nearly half the ratio of Colorado statewide. Washington County also shares an Early Childhood Council with Kit Carson and Yuma counties.

Nearly 50% of the student population is enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program, yet only 19.9% of those under the age of 18 are experiencing poverty. The high school graduation rate is higher than the state average at 91.7%, yet 38.2% of fourth graders are not proficient in reading. Currently, only 18.5% of the population has attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Health and Human Services

Washington County does not have any hospitals, forcing local residents to travel long distances to Logan, Morgan, Weld, or Yuma counties. The county does have 3 locally based clinics, one acting health physician and 37 registered nurses. Mental health continues to be an underprovided service in the county with a patient to provider ratio of 2402:1. Of the adult population, 18.8% are enrolled in Medicaid and 12.8% of all Washington County residents are uninsured.

Transportation

County Express is a demand-response public transportation service within Northeastern Colorado in the counties of Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma.

Yuma County Profile

History and Geography

Yuma County, straddling the 40th parallel on the eastern edge of Colorado, was a relatively late addition to the Colorado map. While archeological digs in the county show that mankind has occupied the county since prehistoric times, the first “American” settlers didn’t move into the county until after 1870. The first explorers, traveling through the high plains area in a drought period, labeled the area the “Great American Desert.”

The Oregon Trail passed to the north following the Platte River while the Santa Fe Trail passed far to the south along the Arkansas River. The land along both rivers was settled early in Colorado history. The land between the two rivers remained a hunting ground used by several American Indian tribes. In 1889, Washington County was divided in half and Yuma County was created with the County seat in Yuma.

Visitors from all over the world come to view the unusual mating ritual of the Greater Prairie Chicken in eastern Yuma County. Once an endangered species, the Greater Prairie Chicken has made a comeback in Northeast Colorado. The age-old dance by the male attracts not only female prairie chicken but also humans. Tours are available to view these “Sandhill Dancers” during March and April.

Demographics

The population of Yuma has an annual growth rate of .4%, and increased to 10,202 in 2014. Over a quarter of the population is under the age of 18, while only 16.4% are over the age of 65. The overall population is mainly white (77.6%), with an increasing Hispanic and Latino population (21.0%).

Economy

Yuma County offers business owners a diverse, stable, and vigorous economic base upon which to build or expand businesses. The county’s abundance of untapped natural sources – including natural gas, wind, solar and biomass resources, combined with its business-friendly climate, dedicated workforce and available land makes it a land of pure opportunity.

As one of the nation’s leading agricultural producers of major U.S. crops, Yuma County is recognized as a progressive industry leader with the innovation, experience and commitment to create new opportunities both within the farm gate and beyond. It is the top corn producing county in the state and is home to the world’s largest feedlot, depending on the day. The largest industries in Yuma County are agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting, health care & social assistance, and retail trade. The current median household income is $43,361, and is expected to increase by 2.23% by 2020.

Education

Yuma has four school districts: Idalia, Liberty, Wray, and Yuma, with 11 public schools and an enrollment of 1,823 – nearly 100% of all school aged children. With a student to teacher ratio of 14:1, Yuma County has one of the highest graduation rates in the region with 91.2%.

However, 37.4% of fourth graders still struggle academically and are not proficient in reading. Nearly 17.9% of those under 18 are experiencing poverty, and over 54% of all students participate in the free or reduced lunch program. The adult population is below the state average for attaining a bachelor’s degree of higher with only 17.7%.

Health and Human Services

Similar to other counties in the region, Yuma County struggles to provide adequate mental health care – with a ratio of 1,269:1 patients to providers and only three mental health facilities. The county also has two hospitals. Yuma District Hospital is a 22 bed acute-care hospital with a level IV trauma center. The hospital also has two provider-based rural health clinics, one of which is co-located in the hospital facility. Wray Community District Hospital is a 16 bed acute-care hospital with a level IV Trauma Center and is one of only 5 hospitals in the northeast that continue to deliver babies, delivering 150 babies last year.

Yuma County does rank first in Colorado for quality of life, ninth for overall health outcomes, and sixth for socio economic factors. In 2013, 15.3% of Yuma County residents were uninsured, and an additional 22.7% were underinsured.

Transportation

County Express is a demand-response public transportation service within Northeastern Colorado in the counties of Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma.

For more information, please contact:

Luann Boyer, Northeast RPD Event Coordinator
970.768.0322 or email hidden; JavaScript is required