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Costilla County, Colorado

Costilla County, Colorado
The Costilla County Courthouse in San Luis
Map of Colorado highlighting Costilla County
Location in the state of Colorado
Map of the United States highlighting Colorado
Colorado's location in the U.S.
Founded November 1, 1861
Seat San Luis
Largest town San Luis
 • Total 1,230 sq mi (3,186 km2)
 • Land 1,227 sq mi (3,178 km2)
 • Water 3.4 sq mi (9 km2), 0.3%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 3,568
 • Density 2.9/sq mi (1/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Website .gov.costillacounty-cowww
Footnotes: Colorado's first permanent settlement

Costilla County is the ninth-least populous of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,524.[1] The county seat is San Luis,[2] the oldest town in Colorado.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Adjacent counties 2.1
    • National protected area 2.2
    • Historic trails and sites 2.3
  • Demographics 3
  • Politics 4
  • Communities 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Costilla County was the first area of Colorado to be settled by European-Americans. Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, officially established San Luis on April 9, 1851. Costilla County was one of the original 17 counties created by the Territory of Colorado on November 1, 1861. The county was named for the Costilla River. Although San Miguel was originally designated the county seat, the county government was moved to San Luis in 1863.

The county's original boundaries had the county extend over much of south-central Colorado. Much of the northern portion became part of Saguache County in 1866, and the western portions were folded into Hinsdale and Rio Grande counties in 1874. Costilla County arrived at its modern boundaries in 1913 when Alamosa County was created from its northwest portions.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,230 square miles (3,200 km2), of which 1,227 square miles (3,180 km2) is land and 304 square miles (790 km2) (0.3%) is water.[4]

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Historic trails and sites


As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 3,663 people, 1,503 households, and 1,029 families residing in the county. The population density was 3 people per square mile (1/km²). There were 2,202 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 60.91% White, 0.79% Black or African American, 2.48% Native American, 1.01% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 29.46% from other races, and 5.21% from two or more races. 67.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,503 households out of which 28.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.60% were married couples living together, 11.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.50% were non-families. 28.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.00% under the age of 18, 6.60% from 18 to 24, 23.30% from 25 to 44, 28.30% from 45 to 64, and 16.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 99.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $19,531, and the median income for a family was $25,509, the lowest for Colorado. Males had a median income of $22,390 versus $16,121 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,748. About 21.30% of families and 26.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.40% of those under age 18 and 23.30% of those age 65 or over.


Costilla County tends to favor the Democratic candidate in Presidential elections. The last Republican to carry the county was Calvin Coolidge in 1924.[11] In the last five Presidential elections the Democratic candidate has consistently received over 60% of the county's vote and occasionally won over 70% of it.[12]

It is part of Colorado's 3rd congressional district, which has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+5 and is represented by Republican Scott Tipton. In the Colorado Senate it is in District 5 and is represented by Gail Schwartz. In the Colorado House of Representatives it is in District 62 and is represented by Democrat Edward Vigil.


See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Pages 242-247, Bauer, William H.; Ozment, James L.; and Willard, John H., Colorado Post Offices, 1859-1989: A Comprehensive Listing of Post Offices, Stations, and Branches, Colorado Railroad Museum (May 1990), hardcover, 280 pages, ISBN 978-0-918654-42-7
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  11. ^ Geographie Electorale
  12. ^ The New York Times electoral map (Zoom in on Colorado)

External links

  • Costilla County Government website
  • Colorado County Evolution by Don Stanwyck
  • Colorado Historical Society
  • San Luis Valley Information Center

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