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The interior West has undergone tremendous demographic change over the last 15-20 years. It
has been the fastest growing region of the country since the 1990’s. The states of NV, AZ, UT,
CO and ID grew twice as fast as the national average from 1990-2000. GA was the only non-
western state to grow at that pace.1

Although the population growth is still due largely to natural birth/death rates, more people
moved into the interior west from other parts of the country than moved out of the region. There
was also high migration into the region from so-called “blue” states, in particular California and
other Pacific coast states.2

While much of the migration is into existing cities, there is tremendous growth in the so-called
“ex-urban” areas. This development is often in the form of what is generally referred to as the
“20-acre ranchette” and the peculiarly western version of the “McMansion” known as the “trophy
ranch.” Of course, in most cases, no ranching actually takes place. Because of the West’s lack
of zoning, this sort of development creates a sort of sprawl that can impinge on traditional
agriculture, result in wildlife conflicts3 and increase the costs of fighting wildfire.4


• 50% of land in the eight interior western states is federally owned including 5

• 82.9% of Nevada • 36.3% of Colorado

• 63.9% of Utah • 32.3% of New Mexico
• 61.6% of Idaho • 28% of Montana
• 48.9% of Wyoming
• 47.2% of Arizona

• 4.3% of the land east of the Rockies is federally owned


Population growth between 1990 and 20006

• Arizona 40%
• Colorado 30.6%
• Idaho 28.5%
• Montana 12.9%
• Nevada 66.3%
• New Mexico 20.1%
• Utah 29.6%
• Wyoming 8.9%

Net Migration (people moving in minus people leaving) to Interior West 1990-19947

• From the Pacific Coast 386,017

• From the Northeast 118,702
• From the Midwest 90,197
• From the South 34,221

Net Migration (people moving in minus people leaving) to Interior West 1995-2000 to:8

• Arizona 93,699
• Nevada 138,637
• Colorado 162,663

Between 1995 and 2000 644,000 people moved to Colorado from other states:9

• 111,000 From California

• At least 20,000 each from Florida, Illinois, New York, New Mexico and Texas

199,000 Californians moved to Nevada between 1995 and 200010



AZ R R 33-27 R 17-13 GOP 4-GOP 4-DEM
CO D D 40-25 D 20-15 SPLIT 4-DEM 3-GOP
ID R R 51-19 R 28-7 GOP 2-GOP
MT D R 50-49 D 26-24 DEM 1-GOP
NM D D 42-28 D 24-18 SPLIT 2-GOP 1-DEM
NV R D 27-15 R 11-10 SPLIT 2-GOP 1-DEM
UT R R 55-20 R 21-8 GOP 2-GOP 1-DEM
WY D R 43-17 R 23-7 GOP 1-GOP
1 Center of the American West, Western Futures,
2 US Census Bureau, State to State Migration Flows, 1995-2000,
4Home Development on Fire Prone Lands, 2007
5 Center of the American West, Atlas of the New West

6 Center of the American West, Western Futures,

7 US Census Bureau, State to State Migration Flows, 1995-2000,
8 Ibid
9 Ibid
10 Ibid