Metro area growth continues, housing challenges remain

Date: Monday, May 20, 2019

Preliminary population estimates show Minneapolis and Saint Paul continue to lead growth in number of new residents

Population growth continues throughout the seven-county metro region, according to the Metropolitan Council’s community-level preliminary population estimates for 2018. Early estimates show the strongest growth continues in urban and suburban areas.

As population growth outpaces residential construction, however, the region’s housing vacancy rate has gone down, housing prices and rental rates have risen, and the shortage of housing and affordable housing reaches critical proportions.

“Steady growth is a sign of our diverse and competitive economy and livable cities,” said Council Chair Nora Slawik. “But the challenge remains of ensuring housing, and housing that’s affordable, is available to all families who want to make this their home and place of work,” said Slawik.

“Housing is no different from other infrastructure, like sanitary sewers, and transit and transportation that allows us to grow and prosper,” she said. “We need housing production to keep pace with growth and meet the needs of residents now and in the future.”

Local government officials can review and comment on the preliminary estimates. By statute, the Council will finalize the estimates by July 15 for state government purposes, such as local government and street aid.

Most growth in region’s center

Growth is occurring across the region, according to the preliminary estimates, but the communities that have added the most people since 2010 are:

  2010 population 2018 population (preliminary estimate)


Percentage growth
Minneapolis 382,578 429,382 46,804 12.2%
Saint Paul 285,068 313,010 27,942 9.8%
Blaine 57,186 66,667 9,481 16.6%
Woodbury 61,961 70,840 8,879 14.3%
Lakeville 55,954 64,334 8,380 15.0%
Plymouth 70,576 78,351 7,775 11.0%
Bloomington 82,893 89,654 6,761 8.2%
Brooklyn Park 75,781 81,679 5,898 7.8%
Maple Grove 61,567 66,903 5,336 8.7%
Edina 47,941 52,535 4,594 9.6%

Like previous findings, the region’s total growth breaks down roughly into thirds. Based on the Council’s Community Designations (PDF), Urban Center communities — Minneapolis and Saint Paul and the region’s oldest suburbs — have accounted for one-third of the region’s population growth since 2010.

Community Designation Population Growth
Urban Center 33%
Urban 11%
Suburban 18%
Suburban Edge 20%
Emerging Suburban Edge 15%
Rural Service Area 4%

Urban and Suburban communities (cities that experienced their peak development before 2000, such as Brooklyn Park and Maplewood) accounted for nearly one-third of the region’s growth. Suburban Edge and Emerging Suburban Edge communities (which tend to have more developable land, such as Chanhassen and Woodbury) have accounted for the remaining one-third, with modest growth in more rural and agricultural communities.

Different kinds of development have contributed to this growth. Urban Center and Urban communities are growing primarily because of new multifamily developments like apartments and condominiums, while Suburban Edge and Emerging Suburban Edge communities are growing primarily because of new single-family homes (both detached homes and townhomes). Suburban communities’ growth reflects both single-family and multifamily housing.

Low vacancy rates, shortage of housing production, higher housing costs

According to the preliminary estimates, the region added 96,100 households between 2010 and 2018, but just 75,600 housing units. The remaining 20,500 households occupied existing housing, drawing down vacancy rates.

Vacancy rates dropped as the economy improved after 2010 and reached an estimated 3.9% in 2018, down from 5.8% in the 2010 Census. According to annual data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, vacancy rates in our region are at their lowest since the early 2000s and are some of the lowest in the country.


April 1, 2010

Preliminary estimate
April 1, 2018


Percent change

Population 2,849,567 3,114,035 +264,468 +9.3%
Households 1,117,749 1,213,890 +96,141 +8.6%
Housing units 1,186,986 1,262,578 +75,592 +6.4%

About the estimates

The Council’s estimates differ from those developed by the U.S. Census Bureau, scheduled for release on May 23. The Census Bureau uses an estimation method that relies on birth rates, death rates, and migration rates to arrive at county populations, then apportions those county populations to the various communities.

The Council’s method takes advantage of the latest available local information on each community’s housing supply, vacancy rate, and group quarters population.

See information about the Council’s population estimates and how we calculate estimates.

Posted In: Communities, Planning

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