Annual Population Estimates

Informing decisions about local resource needs

Census 2020 population counts now available

Each year, the Metropolitan Council releases its population and household estimates for use in various state aid programs. In years following a decennial census, though, we adopt the 2020 Census population counts. Those counts are now available on our Census webpage.

Council estimates will resume in May 2022 with the release of preliminary estimates for April 1, 2021. The 2020 Census will be the baseline for those estimates.

2019 population estimates

In accordance with Minnesota Statutes 473.24, the Council certified the final 2019 population estimates on July 15, 2020. The annual estimates are used in allocating local government aid, street aid, regional parks funding, and other funding sources.

Please note: Each year, we update our data and refine our methods. 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 were developed in 2020).

Small area estimates

We also calculate estimates for small areas like census tracts, block groups, 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 many of the same data sources as city and township estimates; the methodology is available here2019 Small Area Estimates are available at Minnesota Geospatial Commons.


Watch the most recent briefing, "A Decade of Growth: 2019 Population Estimates," presented to Metropolitan Council on July 22, 2020
A Decade of Growth: 2019 Population Estimates

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.