is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. With an estimated population of 376,427 in 2007, it is the second most populous city in the state of Colorado and the 47th most populous city in the United States. This count differs significantly from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs' 2007 estimate of 402,417. In 2007 the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 609,096.
Colorado Springs is located just east of the geographic center of the state and south of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. At 6,035 feet (1839 meters) Colorado Springs sits over one mile above sea level, though some areas of the city are significantly higher. The city is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, at the eastern edge of the southern Rocky Mountains. Colorado Springs was selected as the No. 1 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by
The United States Census Bureau estimates that in 2007 the population of the City of Colorado Springs was 376,427 (47th most populous U.S. city), the population of the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area was 609,096 (84th most populous MSA), and the population of the Front Range Urban Corridor was 4,166,855.
Today, Colorado Springs has many features of a modern urban area, such as parks, bike trails, urban open-area spaces, business and commerce, theatres and other entertainment. It was first established as a posh resort community, though the older mining supply center of Colorado City (now Old Colorado City) was merged later, and the tourist industry has remained strong and offers many activities and attractions. In July 2006, Money magazine ranked Colorado Springs the best place to live in the big city category, which includes cities with 300,000 or more people.
Colorado Springs is not exempt from the problems that typically plague cities that experience tremendous growth: overcrowded roads and highways, crime, sprawl, and government budget issues. Many of the problems are indirectly or directly caused by the city's difficulty in coping with the large population growth experienced in the last 20 years and the annexing of the Banning Lewis Ranch area for 175,000 future residents. In 2004, the voters of Colorado Springs and El Paso County established the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and adopted a 1% sales tax dedicated to improving the region's transportation infrastructure. Together with state funding for the Colorado Springs Metro Interstate Expansion (COSMIX)(2007 completion) and the I-25 interchange with Highway 16 (2008 completion), significant progress has been made since 2003 in addressing the transportation needs of the area. Currently the City is trying to overcome a $23.3 million budget gap created by falling sales taxes and rising expenses.
A large number of religious organizations such as Focus on the Family and churches make their headquarters here, particularly Evangelical Christians. For decades, several high-tech businesses have or once resided in the city, including a number of computer chip manufacturers from Intel, to the chip foundry INMOS in the 1980s, to Hewlett-Packard since the 1960s. The Mountain West Conference has its administrative headquarters in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs is also home to a large number of military installations (see below) and important national defense agencies. It is also home to the United States Air Force Academy.