Chart of the Day: Population Growth in Minnesota Counties

Here’s some just-released census data. Scott Shaffer made this lovely chart breaking down population change in Minnesota’s 87 unique and individual counties.

Here you go:


Here’s what Shaffer says about it:

I made a chart showing the relation between the rate of population growth for each county and the population of each county in 2010. Big counties are gaining population, and many small counties are losing population. 

This morning I saw another map about growth around the US, so these trends are part of a larger narrative.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Here’s a link to the Census Bureau’s county-level 2015 estimates for MN:
City-level 2015 estimates will be released in the coming months.

13 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Population Growth in Minnesota Counties

    1. Stuart

      I did this, but I don’t know how to post it. It’s pretty easy to do since the data is linked. This makes it more clear how the smallest counties are predominantly shrinking. It’s pretty linear, though there is more scatter at the small end. Just so you know, 19 out of 20 of the largest counties are growing and 17 of the 20 smallest counties are shrinking.

      The largest county with a negative growth is Winona County at 51, 406 people in 2010. This is less than half the population of Scott or Carver.

      The one point with a large population with just above zero growth is St Louis County (2010 population of 200,226). This is the county that includes Duluth and a large chunk of rural/wild/iron range territory north to the Canadian Border. If I had to guess, I’s day that the growth in Duluth has balanced the losses for the rest of the county, but we won’t know for sure until the City data is released later this year.

  1. Joe

    Cool chart, but from looking at it, it’s tough to draw the conclusion that small counties are shrinking. They look evenly distributed around zero growth. Scott and Carver are small, and are the two fastest growing counties.

    Just from the chart, it seems to me it’s saying “Large counties growing, small counties uneven”

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      Eyeballing it, it looks like Scott and Carver counties are larger than all but 9 counties, which includes five of the ten faster growing counties.

      1. Joe

        Throw out the 12 largest counties (which are all growing), and it appears you have 42 small counties shrinking, and 33 growing or neutral. That to me is not an obvious trend. Now there may be more hidden in there that you’d see clearer if you actually threw out those largest 12 so the scale was clearer, but I don’t know.

        1. Aaron

          There’s a lot of variance but there’s clearly a positive relationship between population and growth in counties below 50,000 or so. The fact that some tiny counties are growing a bit and some mid-sized counties are shrinking a bit doesn’t change the trend. There are 4 counties with populations under 10,000 and positive growth, 15 with negative growth. There are 26 counties with populations from 10-50,000 with positive growth and 29 with negative growth. Chi-square for that is a little over 4.

          1. Aaron

            I was eyeballing 50,000 – it looks like I probably went up to 60,000 or so since Stuart commented that the largest county with negative growth is 51,000 people, and I just counted up to the break that separates Carver county from the next group to the left.

  2. Matt SteeleMatt Steele

    If the 70,724 new residents of Hennepin County (2010-2015) were their own standalone county, it would be the 13th most populous county out of the 89 counties in Minnesota.

    If the 11,052 new residents of Hennepin County in the last 12 months were their own standalone county, it would be larger in population than 23 other counties.

  3. Joe ScottJoe

    If only there were a way to keep people’s votes from mattering less when they move to denser areas.

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