Map Monday: Population Growth in Minnesota Counties

As a follow-up to Friday’s Chart of the Day showing a scatterplot of Minnesota population change versus population level, here is a map showing that population change spatially (i.e. geographically):

2010 to 2015 population change (in percentage) by county. Map by the author.

2010 to 2015 population change (in percentage) by county. Map by the author.

As discussed in the Friday thread, the largest counties in the state tended to grow while the smallest counties tended to shrink. While the largest percentage gains are generally in and around the Twin Cities metro area, they are by no means limited to the Twin Cities, with significant gains noted in Olmsted (Rochester) and Clay (Moorhead) Counties.

Meanwhile, the largest percentage losses tended to be clusered around southern and western Minnesota. These counties are by and large agricultural counties with an aging population and little else in the way of economic opportunity.

There are a few outliers as well. Cook and Mahnomen Counties are two of the least populated counties in the state (#83 and #81 respectively), yet both saw gains. Meanwhile, St. Louis County, which comprises of Duluth and much of the Iron Range, is the 6th most populated county in the state yet its change could be considered a rounding error (effectively zero). Winona County is also a large populated county (by Minnesota standards, sitting at #19), but saw a drop in population.

What do you see in the map?

Adam Froehlig

About Adam Froehlig

Adam Froehlig, aka "Froggie", is a Minneapolis native who grew up studying the state's highways and bicycling the Minneapolis parkways and beyond. A retired US Navy sailor who worked as a meteorologist and GIS analyst, he is now losing himself among the hills and dirt roads of northern Vermont. He occasionally blogs at Just Up The Hill.

8 thoughts on “Map Monday: Population Growth in Minnesota Counties

    1. Matt Brillhart

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

        County 2010 — 2015(est) Growth

      Anoka 330,844 344,151 +13,307
      Carver 91,042 98,741 +7,699
      Dakota 398,552 414,686 +16,134
      Hennepin 1,152,425 1,223,149 +70,724
      Ramsey 508,640 538,133 +29,493
      Scott 129,928 141,660 +11,732
      Washington 238,136 251,597 +13,461

      1. Janne

        That’s amazing, Adam. I was actually thinking of two maps side by side (’cause, yeah, busy), but I love the superimposition.

  1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

    The cluster of moderate growth in the northwest part of the state is interesting. It looks like that’s the areas around Detroit Lakes and Bemidji, along with Crow Wing County a bit to the southeast. Maybe that’s growth in the lake resort areas?

    1. Adam FroehligAdam Froehlig Post author

      Clay County is probably proximity to Fargo (Moorhead is the Clay County seat). I’d agree that Becker (Detroit Lakes), Crow Wing (Brainerd), Beltrami (Bemidji) and Clearwater (Bagley/Lake Itasca) Counties are what you suggest…lake resort areas. I also know that, at least in Crow Wing County, there are a number of people who have retired to their lake homes, so that may be driving some of the increase as well. My uncle did the same thing, retiring to my grandfather’s old cabin in Cass County, but the numbers suggest it’s much less prevalent in Cass.

    2. Adam FroehligAdam Froehlig Post author

      Forgot to add: not sure what’s going on in Pennington County. Thief River Falls is there, but there isn’t much in the way of lake resorts. Is there something going on in TRF that is driving that county’s growth?

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