With its unique geography and climate, Colorado has characteristics of several different regions in the United States. So what official region is the state of Colorado in?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Colorado is considered to be in both the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States.
In this comprehensive guide, we examine Colorado’s location in relation to regional divisions used by government agencies, geographic organizations, and popular conception to definitively answer the question – what region is Colorado in?
We’ll analyze how Colorado fits into regional classifications systems based on physical geography, culture, politics, and history to understand where it lies in relation to other states and why it straddles multiple U.S. regions.
U.S. Census Bureau Regions
When it comes to understanding the geographic location of Colorado, it is helpful to refer to the regions designated by the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Census Bureau divides the country into four regions: the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West.
Colorado falls under the West region as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. This region comprises thirteen states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
The West region is known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from the Pacific coastline to the Rocky Mountains.
Within the West region, Colorado is specifically part of the Mountain division. The Mountain division consists of eight states, including Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. This division is characterized by its mountainous terrain, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with activities like hiking, skiing, and mountain biking.
The U.S. Census Bureau regions are a useful way to categorize and understand the geographic location of Colorado. By being part of the West region and the Mountain division, Colorado showcases its unique natural beauty and recreational opportunities.
Federal Agency Regional Divisions
When it comes to federal agency regional divisions, Colorado is divided into several regions based on the functions and responsibilities of different agencies. These divisions help in streamlining administrative processes, managing resources effectively, and addressing specific issues in a particular area.
Three important federal agencies with regional divisions in Colorado are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The EPA is responsible for protecting human health and the environment. It is divided into ten regions, each covering a specific geographic area. Colorado falls under EPA Region 8 along with six other states, including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and the 27 Tribal Nations within this region.
This region focuses on addressing environmental issues such as air and water quality, hazardous waste management, and pollution prevention.
FEMA plays a critical role in disaster management and emergency response. The agency is divided into ten regions, known as FEMA regions. Colorado is part of FEMA Region VIII, which includes six other states: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and the 27 Tribal Nations within this region.
FEMA Region VIII works closely with state and local governments, tribes, and other federal agencies to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the impacts of disasters and emergencies.
The USGS is responsible for studying and providing information about the natural resources, hazards, and changing landscapes of the United States. While the USGS doesn’t have specific regional divisions, its work in Colorado is primarily focused on the Rocky Mountain Region.
This region encompasses several states, including Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and parts of Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona. The USGS conducts research, monitors natural hazards, and provides geological data to support informed decision-making and resource management in the region.
For more information about the regional divisions of these federal agencies and their specific activities in Colorado, you can visit their official websites:
Geographic and Cultural Regions
Colorado is located in the western region of the United States. This region is known for its diverse landscapes, including the Rocky Mountains, high plains, and deserts. The state is bordered by several other states, including Wyoming to the north, Nebraska and Kansas to the east, Oklahoma and New Mexico to the south, and Utah to the west.
The Western United States
The western region of the United States is home to some of the country’s most stunning natural wonders. In Colorado, visitors can explore the majestic Rocky Mountains, which offer opportunities for hiking, skiing, and mountain biking.
The state is also known for its many national parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park and Mesa Verde National Park.
The western region is characterized by its vast open spaces, rugged terrain, and diverse ecosystems. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and black bears. The region also has a rich Native American history, with several tribes, including the Ute, Apache, and Navajo, calling this area home.
Colorado’s western region is not only known for its natural beauty but also for its vibrant cities. Denver, the state capital, is a bustling metropolis with a thriving arts and culture scene, while Boulder is known for its outdoor recreation opportunities and progressive community.
The Southwestern United States
Colorado is also considered part of the southwestern region of the United States. This region is known for its arid climate, desert landscapes, and Native American heritage. The Southwestern United States includes states such as Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of California, Nevada, and Utah.
In the southwestern region, visitors can explore the stunning red rock formations of places like the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs or the iconic Monument Valley in Arizona. They can also learn about the rich Native American cultures and visit ancient ruins, such as the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park.
The region is also famous for its vibrant Mexican and Spanish influences, which can be seen in its architecture, cuisine, and festivals. From the spicy flavors of New Mexican cuisine to the colorful celebrations of Cinco de Mayo, the Southwestern United States offers a unique cultural experience.
Whether you’re exploring the Rocky Mountains or immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the Southwest, Colorado’s geographic and cultural regions offer something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on an adventure in the beautiful state of Colorado!
Colorado’s History and Political Alignment
Colorado’s history can be traced back to its early days as part of Spanish colonies in the Americas. The region was initially explored by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, and it was later claimed by Spain as part of its New Spain territory.
Spanish influence in Colorado can still be seen today in the names of many cities and landmarks.
Early History with Spanish Colonies
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Colorado became a part of the expanding United States through the process of Western expansion and the establishment of frontier settlements. This period saw an influx of settlers from various backgrounds, including fur trappers, gold prospectors, and farmers.
The discovery of gold in 1859 sparked a population boom and led to the establishment of several mining towns.
As the frontier expanded, so did the conflicts with Native American tribes who had long inhabited the region. These conflicts, such as the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864, played a significant role in shaping Colorado’s history and the relationship between settlers and Native Americans.
Politics and Values
Colorado’s political alignment has evolved over time, reflecting the changing values and demographics of the state. Today, Colorado is often seen as a swing state in national elections, with a mix of conservative and liberal viewpoints.
The state has a history of supporting both Republican and Democratic candidates, making it an important battleground in presidential elections.
Colorado is known for its progressive policies and has been at the forefront of several social and political movements. The state was one of the first to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012 and has also passed legislation on issues such as gun control and LGBTQ+ rights.
These policies reflect the values of many Coloradans who prioritize individual freedoms and social progress.
For more information on Colorado’s history and political alignment, you can visit the History Colorado website.
Based on an analysis of official government divisions as well as geographic, cultural, and historical regions, Colorado is considered to be in both the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. Its location on the frontier between the Midwest and true West has given it shared characteristics of multiple regions over time.