Annual Population Estimates

Informing decisions about local resource needs

New! Preliminary 2019 population estimates now available

In accordance with Minnesota Statutes 473.24, local governments have until June 24, 2020 to submit comments and challenges, and the Council will finalize the estimates by July 15, 2020 for use in allocating local government aid, street aid, regional parks funding, and other funding sources.

To assist local government officials and staff who may be working remotely during the pandemic, all estimates communications are being transmitted via email first. A paper mailing will follow later in May.

Note: Each year, we update our data and refine our methods, so preliminary estimates from different years are not directly comparable. We don’t recommend taking the difference between the 2018 and 2019 estimates to calculate growth between 2018 and 2019. Instead, we recommend examining growth since the 2010 Census.

Population estimates for cities and townships

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, 2019 will be developed in 2020).

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. 2018 Small Area Estimates are available at Minnesota Geospatial Commons.


2018 final estimates

The Council's 2018 population estimates were certified in July 2019. The preliminary 2019 population estimates will be available in mid-May 2020.

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:

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.