Population Estimates

Informing decisions about local resource needs

Every year, the Council research team estimates the population and households for each city and township in the Twin Cities region. These estimates are official for state government purposes, including the distribution of local government aid and local street aid. Estimates are for April 1 of the previous year (for example, estimates for April 1, 2018 will be developed in 2019).

Final 2017 estimates

The Council's 2017 population estimates were certified on Friday, July 13, 2018. 

Small Area Estimates

We also calculate estimates for small areas like census tracts and Transportation Analysis Zones (TAZs), which provide more geographically precise and timely estimates than is available from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. These estimates use the same data sources as city and township estimates. 2017 Small Area Estimates are now available for download at the Minnesota Geospatial Commons

How we calculate estimates

Like most agencies that calculate population estimates for cities and townships, we use a housing stock model. This involves answering three questions:
  1. How many housing units are in each city and township?
  2. How many housing units are occupied?
  3. How many people lived in these occupied housing units?
To answer these questions, we gather data from cities and townships and manufactured home parks. We also rely on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Postal Service.

Learn more about how we calculate estimates. One-page version (pdf) or full methodology report (pdf).
We work with local governments to finalize the annual population estimates in two phases:
  • We release preliminary estimates, typically in mid-May, for review and comment by local governments. 
  • Final, certified estimates are released by July 15. Only these certified estimates are official.