Did you know Colorado is the 12th fastest-growing US state?

The influx of people from different states, backgrounds, and ages is creating a unique population here. Maybe that’s why so many fast-casual restaurant brands have gotten their start or chosen to headquarter in Colorado.

The location for the Food & Drink Resources’ Research & Innovation Center was carefully selected because of the growing Denver metropolitan area. Most food/drink research and development has historically taken place in Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other big metropolitan areas. While Denver can’t compete with New York City on many levels, Colorado demographics better represent the United States as a whole.

Colorado Demographics Are Ideal For Food And Drink Consumer Research

A Young Population

In 2022, Denver, the largest Colorado city, ranked 3rd in the total number of Millennials as a percentage of the population. Young professionals will move for work or for love, but good restaurants are a must.

1. Jersey City, New Jersey
2. Seattle
3. Denver

The Colorado population includes more young adults than any other segment. Colorado adults between the ages 25-44 make up 29.4% of the population whereas adults 45-64 represent 24.1%. The median age in Denver is 35.4 years.

Growing And Changing

Colorado has close to 5.9 million residents and is the 12th fastest-growing state. Colorado saw a 14% increase in new residents between 2010 and 2020. The majority of Colorado’s adults were born in another state.

In 2022, more Californians moved to Colorado than from any other state (13,243 total). The number of new residents from Texas, Florida, Illinois, and New York was high, too. The influx is creating a diverse population.


Go Hit The Books: Colorado has a 60% advanced education attainment rate, one of the highest in the country. The state has over 150 colleges including the notable Colorado School of Mines and U.S. Air Force Academy.

Education Level Of Adults Age 25-64 In Colorado

  • 16.5% graduate or professional degree
  • 9.1% bachelor’s degree
  • 8.3% associate degree
  • 6.5% certification
  • 12.3% some college


2,416,632 Coloradans participate in the labor force. In 2022, the state had the 9th highest median household income in the country: $89,930.

Minimum Wage

  • Colorado: $13.65 / hour
  • National: $7.25 / hour

Unemployment Rate

  • Colorado: 3.2%
  • National: 3.8%

Eat Out Culture

With annual restaurant sales exceeding $20 billion and Coloradoans’ adventurous, active lifestyle, it’s no wonder many chain restaurants are based or got their start in Colorado. These are only a few.

Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta
Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii
Bad Daddy’s
Boston Market
Good Times Restaurant Inc.
Illegal Pete’s
Mad Greens
Noodles & Co.
Punch Bowl Social
Smiling Moose
Snarf’s Sandwiches
Tom’s Urban
Tokyo Joe’s

Convenience Stores, Too!
Alta Convenience
Loaf N’ Jug
Western Convenience Stores

Plus, Colorado ranks 5th in the USA for number of restaurants per capita!

In Closing

This infographic and data points were collected in November 2023 and are accurate to the best of our knowledge. All sources are listed below. You are welcome to share this information, but please drop a link to www.foodanddrinkresources.com when you do.



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