Due to the vast diversity, Western Colorado provides, the County has become a popular place for relocation and recreation. From 1990 to 2000 Mesa County's population grew by 24.8%, putting it in the top 10% of counties nationwide in terms of population change. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs projects that Mesa County's population will grow to 228,142 by 2045. Growth and land issues continue to be a very important topic in Mesa County.

Much of the residential growth is taking place in unincorporated areas of the Grand Valley, placing increased demands for urban services on County departments and requiring the extension of the infrastructure to rural areas. In keeping with the spirit of the famous western writer, Zane Grey, Mesa County developed its own "Code of the West". This code, although not all inclusive, is meant to be a guide educating and informing new residents of what to consider when purchasing or developing in unincorporated Mesa County. Property access, preservation of agricultural land, road development, emergency services, telephone, sanitation, water, or mail delivery (as examples) are all factors to study when moving to a rural area. This "Code" reminds citizens that receiving services from local government can be more difficult and expensive as growth occurs outside of a municipal central location.