Local officials to review preliminary population estimates

Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Colorful illustration of dozens of people crowded together in rows but all heads are visible.

Growth slowdown in 2020 and 2021 seen as temporary “blip”

The Metropolitan Council is asking city and township officials across the Twin Cities metro region to review the recently released Met Council preliminary population estimates by June 24. Officials have the opportunity to compare the data with their own knowledge and observations and collaborate with Met Council staff to fine-tune and certify the estimates to meet state statutory requirements.

“Population data is important to local officials and the Met Council for many reasons,” said Community Development Director Lisa Barajas. “It impacts state aid formulas that are essential for local governments and helps us understand growth trends as they relate to the region’s economic stability. We use the data to plan for things like roads, parks, housing, sewers, and other services and infrastructure.

“Population data are a lot more than fun facts,” Barajas said. “They are a critical planning tool, especially as we evaluate the effects of the pandemic.”

Collaboration leads to more accurate population estimates

The Met Council and Census Bureau build their population estimates using the decennial census figures as a starting point. The two entities differ from there, however, in the types of methodologies used to estimate annual population figures. The Met Council employs data sources that are more local in nature, including housing unit data.

The Met Council is expecting local government responses to the preliminary estimates will help refine the final population estimates, which the Met Council will certify in July.

Population growth expected to rebound, eventually

New home construction has soared nationally — and in the Twin Cities region. The seven-county metro added about 21,000 housing units between April 2020 and April 2021, a 1.6% increase from the previous year.

But population growth — including the number of households — lagged behind. Only 15,000 new households were added to the region during the same period. And while the region’s population increased by 22,000, its 0.7% annual growth reflects fewer births and more deaths than what is typical.

Research Manager Joel Huting said the estimated population growth for the region is nearly 30% less than anticipated based on pre-pandemic trends.

“Our two most populous counties, Hennepin and Ramsey, added residents between 2020 and 2021, but at rates significantly lower than in the previous decade,” said Huting. “Anoka, Dakota, and Washington counties saw more modest reductions in growth, while Carver and Scott counties had increased growth rates.”

Huting cautioned that the findings are based on one-year comparisons, and that longer-term comparisons carry more weight.

“We’re careful not to draw concrete conclusions based on one year of data,” said Huting. “The data is telling, but not necessarily indicative of long-term trends.”

Met Council researchers expect the growth slowdown to be more of a temporary blip than a permanent trend. Barring a recession, future population trends should be similar to growth experienced in the previous decade.

Outer reaches of metropolitan area experienced greater growth

Most cities in the metropolitan area added residents throughout 2020 and 2021, including more than 4,000 new residents in Minneapolis. In terms of percentages, however, the region’s outer reaches experienced a larger share of population growth, attributed primarily to new housing construction and the pandemic’s toll on centralized cities.

Communities designated Suburban Edge (for example, Blaine, Chaska, Cottage Grove) and Emerging Suburban Edge (for example, Carver, Hastings, Ramsey) captured 63% of the region’s one-year population growth, up from 39% in the previous decade.

Cities leading population growth 2020-21 (number of residents)

  2020 population 2021 population (preliminary estimate) Growth, 2020 to 2021 Percentage growth, 2020 to 2021
Minneapolis  429,956  434,346  +4,390  +1.0% 
Lakeville  69,490  72,135  +2,645  +3.8% 
Shakopee  43,698  45,593  +1,895  +4.3% 
Lake Elmo  11,335  12,655  +1,320  +11.7% 
Bloomington  89,987  90,974  +987  +1.1% 
Minnetonka  53,776  54,704  +928  +1.7% 
Ramsey  27,646  28,520  +874  +3.2% 
Cottage Grove  38,839  39,605  +766  +2.0% 
Dayton (Hennepin County portion only)  7,212  7,971  +759  +10.5% 
Blaine  70,222  70,979  +757  +1.1% 

Cities leading population growth 2020-21 (percentage of growth)

  2020 population 2021 population (preliminary estimate)  Growth, 2020 to 2021 Percentage growth, 2020 to 2021
Maple Plain  1,743  2,051  +308  +17.7% 
Lexington  2,248  2,610  +362  +16.1% 
Lake Elmo  11,335  12,655  +1,320  +11.7% 
Carver  5,241  5,850  +609  +11.6% 
Dayton (Hennepin County portion only)  7,212  7,971  +759  +10.5% 
Corcoran  6,185  6,688  +503  +8.1% 
Spring Lake Park  7,188  7,544  +356  +5.0% 
Rogers  13,295  13,905  +610  +4.6% 
Shakopee  43,698  45,593  +1,895  +4.3% 
Medina  6,837  7,123  +286  +4.2% 


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