Rio Blanco County is a county
located in the U.S. state
. As of the 2010 census
, the population was 6,666.
The county seat
The name of the county is the Spanish language
name for the White River
which runs through it.
Rio Blanco County was created on March 25, 1889, when it was split from Garfield County. The town of Meeker became the county seat.
On May 17, 1973, Rio Blanco County became one of two counties in Colorado to have a peaceful nuclear explosion
as a part of Operation Plowshare
. There were three nearly simultaneous explosions targeted at fracking oil, all detonated as Project Rio Blanco
. The other county is Garfield County
under Project Rulison
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (0.06%) is water.
* Moffat County
* Routt County
* Garfield County
* Uintah County
* State Highway 13
* State Highway 64
* State Highway 139
National protected areas
*Routt National Forest
*White River National Forest
*Flat Tops Wilderness
*Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway National Scenic Byway
*Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway
State parks and wildlife areas
* Colorow Mountain State Wildlife Area
At the 2000 census
there were 5,986 people, 2,306 households, and 1,646 families living in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile (1/km2
). There were 2,855 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (0/km2
). The racial makeup
of the county was 95.01% White, 0.18% Black or African American, 0.77% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 2.02% from other races, and 1.74% from two or more races. 4.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 2,306 households 35.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.10% were married couples living together, 7.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% were non-families. 24.80% of households were one person and 8.70% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.98.
The age distribution was 26.50% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 11.20% 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.60 males.
The median household income was $37,711 and the median family income was $44,425. Males had a median income of $38,125 versus $19,940 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,344. About 6.70% of families and 9.60% of the population were below the poverty line
, including 11.60% of those under age 18 and 10.40% of those age 65 or over.
Rio Blanco is an overwhelmingly Republican county in Presidential elections. It was along with Clark County, Idaho
and Kane County, Utah
one of only three counties west of the Continental Divide
to vote for Alf Landon
over Franklin Delano Roosevelt
in 1936. In that election Rio Blanco was Landon's strongest county in the eleven western states, marginally shading normal Republican “banner county” Kane. Since that time only two Democrats – Harry S. Truman
in 1948 and Lyndon Johnson
who narrowly carried the county in 1964 – have obtained over forty percent of the county's vote. In fact, since 1968 only one Democratic presidential candidate, Michael Dukakis in 1988, and him only very marginally, has topped thirty percent of Rio Blanco County's ballots.
In other statewide elections, Rio Blanco County also leans Republican, although it was carried by Democrat Roy Romer
in 1990 – when he carried all but four counties statewide – and by Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo
in 2010. Rio Blanco County was also carried by Democratic Senatorial candidate “Nighthorse” Campbell
[Dave Leip’s U.S. Election Atlas]
1992 Senatorial General Election Results – Colorado
/ref> although since then no Democratic candidate for this office has surpassed thirty percent since.
*Meeker (county seat)
* Outline of Colorado
* Index of Colorado-related articles
* National Register of Historic Places listings in Rio Blanco County, Colorado
Rio Blanco County Government website
Colorado Historical Society
Category:1889 establishments in Colorado
Category:Populated places established in 1889