Aurora is an eastern suburb of Denver and a Home Rule Municipality spanning Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas counties in Colorado. The city is the third most populous city in the state of Colorado and the 56th most populous city in the United States. The city had a population of 325,078 in the 2010 Census. Denver and Aurora are the principal cities of the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in 2007 had an estimated population of 2,464,866. (22nd most populous MSA) However, Denver and Aurora combined make up less than half of the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield Metropolitan Statistical Area's population and Aurora has approximately half the population of Denver. The estimated population of the Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area was 2,998,878 in 2007(15th most populous CSA).
It originated in the 1880s, as the town Fletcher, taking its name from Denver businessman Donald Fletcher who saw it as a real estate opportunity. He and his partners staked out four square miles east of Denver, but the town - and Colorado - struggled mightily after the Silver Crash of 1893. At that point Fletcher skipped town, leaving the community with a huge water debt. Inhabitants decided to rename their township Aurora in 1907, and it slowly began to grow in Denver’s shadow becoming the fastest growing city in the United States during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Although Aurora has long been considered by many only as one of Denver's larger suburbs, its growing population in recent decades (now over half the size of the City of Denver) has led to efforts for co-equal recognition with its larger neighbor. A former mayor[who?] once expressed the somewhat whimsical notion that eventually the area would be called the “Aurora/Denver Metropolitan Area.” However, such efforts are somewhat hampered by the lack of a large, historically important central business district in the city. Aurora is largely suburban in character, as evidenced by the city’s modest collection of tall buildings.