Map Monday: Population Change in Minnesota, 2017-2018

Here are four interesting maps from Minneapolis map guru and sometime writer Scott Shaffer, posted on Twitter the other day. They show population change trends in Minnesota by county over the last year.

Check them out:

Scott Pop Map 4 Scott Pop Map 3 Scott Pop Map 2 Scott Pop Map 1


The takeaway? The metro is growing, and that goes double for the core cities.

Anyone see any other patterns worth noting?



15 thoughts on “Map Monday: Population Change in Minnesota, 2017-2018

    1. Aaron Berger

      I’ve got no idea what the long-term trends are (Scott?) but there can be a lot of year-to-year variability in low population counties. Mahnomen County has less than 6,000 residents, so if births-minus-deaths is 8 per 1000, their “baby boom” is about 44 net births, and if their net migration is 20 per 1000, about 110 people moved out.

    1. Glen Johnson

      The only large city not growing seems to be Duluth. I’m most impressed by Ramsey and Hennepin counties showing a high rate of growth despite a large base population.

  1. Scott Walters

    Redistricting is coming soon. There’s going to be another shift in power, but for the first time in a long time, the inner cities are going to be sharing in the growth, not just the suburbs. Between the Twin Cities and their burbs, plus urban growth in Rochester, Mankato, and Moorhead, urban Minnesota will see more representatives and senators, while outstate will lose. Today the balance is pretty even between the cities and outstate, but after we re-calibrate as of April 1, the balance will shift meaningfully. It’ll be interesting when we have our first election using the new districts – November 2022.

    If the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party controls the legislature and the governor for redistricting, it will be interesting to see how far they decide to push the Republicans into a permanent minority, which basically corresponds to gerrymandering rural areas close to urban areas. I think the map would look like a giant pie around the Twin Cities, with each district having a densely populated urban point, and a sparsely populated but geographically huge rural crust being carried along on a DFL ride.

    Interesting times ahead, regardless, with huge implications for roads, transit, last mile internet infrastructure (does 5G finally solve the rural last mile problem? How do we make it affordable?), housing policy, education, law enforcement/gun control, marijuana legalization, anything where there’s historically been an urban/rural and DFL/R priority split.

    1. Scott Walters

      And probably a little suburban growth in Rock County, suburban growth off Sioux Falls. An emerging suburban county surrounded by population declines.

        1. Scott Walters

          We don’t. But we’ve had party split government coinciding with redistricting periods for so long that nobody has had the opportunity to gerrymander for ages. When governor and legislature can’t agree, it’s gone to courts to decide, which has resulted in what Bill said…we’ve never gerrymandered.

          2010 – Gov Dayton vetoed the legislature’s maps, the state Supreme Court appointed a judicial panel who drew the maps.
          2000 – The state legislature was split, and never was able to come up with a set of maps. The Supreme Court appointed a judicial panel who drew the maps.
          1990 – a real CF. This time the DFL ruled the leg, while IR Arne Carlson was in the Governor’s Mansion. This one had lawsuits all over the place, all the way to the US Supreme Court, with multiple judicial panels creating federal districts and state districts. There were vetoes, vetoes that were ruled invalid, then maps invalidated, then valid vetoes, it was a real mess. When the dust finally settled in 1994, maps drawn by a state court panel were finally settled upon.

          2020 – who knows?

    2. Pete Barrett

      It is my sincere hope & deep desire to see a DFL House & Senate pass, & Gov. Walz sign, the most extreme partisan gerrymander they can.

      The only way SCOTUS will ever consider doing anything about gerrymandering is if Blue states are just as ruthless as Red states. If Blue states unilaterally disarm, we’ve got no hope.

      Bring on Goofy Kicking Donald Duck.

        1. Pete Barrett

          Shameful? Nonsense. Maryland did a fine job of gerrymandering. Just as fine a job as NC, IL, WI, & TX.

          Politics ain’t bean bag. One side shows up with a gun. The other side shows up with a pea shooter. You play by the as they are, not they way you’d like them to be. SCOTUS has given it’s blessings to gerrymandering, let the games begin. The only way it will get overturned is if a few state GOP parties seek relief.

  2. Daniel ChomaDaniel Choma

    It’s already been said, but Rochester, man. One of the things I can say as an artist weirdo is this:

    Don’t get too caught up in the us versus them rural versus urban narratives. Population is growing and shifting, but I’ve played gigs in Rochester, Mankato, and other rural/notMetro areas. There are core groups of organizers looking to bring some good future forward.

    A bit of warning, though: I’ve seen a lot of cities cats jump down the throats of some of these organizers in rural/nonMetro areas presuming that rural areas are “anti-revolution” or whatever.

    Maybe stop doing that? We aren’t eating any rich people in Ramsey or Olmstead county. Statewide solutions to things like climate change require state wide coalitions. Places like Rochester have waaaay different needs, so to say “hey lets bike and ride public transport” blindly might not be a good coalition building strategy as Rochester’s public transport shuts down at 6pm and doesnt run weekends.

    All I’m saying is be decent to people. Listen. Build a coalition. Statewide.

    Soapbox over. Xoxo

    1. Dan

      Fair enough point on coalition building and not making assumptions about places that aren’t the cities. While obviously truly rural areas aren’t going to benefit from transit in the same way that the cities are, I don’t know that Rochester and Duluth fit that description even though they are outstate-both have more than 100,000 people (counting superior)

      Transit doesn’t run past 6pm or on weekends? That’s a problem that massively depresses ridership as very few non-commute trips can be made. But it is a problem that could be solved by with greater statewide funding of transit that would also benefit the twin cities, or allowing Municipalities to tax themselves more to fund transit. Another bridge could be in statewide connectivity to the twin cities-full steam ahead with the Northern Lights Express to Duluth, study rail to Rochester, extend the Northstar to St. Cloud etc. Maybe for truly rural counties the focus is more on providing rural internet and wind/solar power.

      It makes sense to deal with rural, town, suburban, and city problems differently, but there is at least some potential for overlap and the solutions can share the same thrust of combating climate change and strengthening community and connectivity.

  3. Brian

    I am curious if it is possible to calculate that as of the 2010 census, 50% of Minnesotans live with X miles of Target Field/Fairgrounds/IDS/ other landmark. And as of today that has been reduced to Y miles radius.

    Rough eyeballing suggests that 2010 was about 35 miles and today is likely a smaller radius.

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