CHAFFEE County, CO
Chaffee County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 19,476. The county seat is Salida.
Chaffee County has a confusing origin. Between February 8 and February 10, 1879, Carbonate County was created by the Colorado legislature out of northern Lake County. On February 10 the two counties were renamed, with the southern part of Lake County becoming Chaffee County, and Carbonate County becoming Lake County. Chaffee County is known as the “Heart of the Rockies”. It was named for Jerome B. Chaffee, Colorado's first United States Senator.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (0.2%) is water.
National protected areas
At the 2000 census there were 16,242 people, 6,584 households, and 4,365 families living in the county. The population density was 16 people per square mile (6/km2). There were 8,392 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 90.94% White, 1.58% Black or African American, 1.09% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.21% from other races, and 1.69% from two or more races. 8.58% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 6,584 households 25.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.70% were married couples living together, 6.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.70% were non-families. 28.40% of households were one person and 11.20% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.77.
The age distribution was 19.70% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 27.50% from 45 to 64, and 17.00% 65 or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 113.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.20 males.
The median household income was $34,368 and the median family income was $42,043. Males had a median income of $30,770 versus $22,219 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,430. About 7.40% of families and 11.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.30% of those under age 18 and 10.20% of those age 65 or over.
Chaffee County is also home to a source of water that Arrowhead water uses for some water bottles. The source is Ruby Mountain Springs.
Chaffee County is a bellwether county, having supported the winner of 10 out of the last 11 presidential elections. The most recent election where Chaffee County supported the presidential loser was in 2008, when John McCain won the county despite Barack Obama winning decisively nationally and statewide.
thumb|200px|right|Chaffee County, Colorado
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