Twin Cities sees increase in population

New census data shows that the metro area is nearly second in Midwestern population growth.

by Kristina Busch

For the first time, the Twin Cities have reached more than 3 million residents, according to new census data.
According to data released last Thursday, the seven-county region has seen an influx of roughly 162,000 people — a more than 5 percent increase — since 2010.
“Ultimately, we think it’s great news,” Metropolitan Council Communications Director Kate Brickman said. “It shows that we’re doing something right to attract and retain people and that we’re a growing and thriving region.”
The main reason for the population progression is the increase of new births in Minnesota, said Minnesota State Demographic Center assistant director Andi Egbert.
“Births are ticking up, but we still have not returned to where we were in total babies born in 2007,” Egbert said. “There was a dampening affect with the most recent recession, and now we see things picking up again.”
Because the growth is primarily driven by new births, it is most likely not going to have an immediate impact on the Twin Cities, she said.
Immigrants have also contributed to the population growth, Egbert said.
“We did see that domestic migration was a negative [increase], but it was more than made up for by international arrivals,” she said. “That would include immigrants, like refugees or students with visas, and also — even though it is very small in number — people who were living abroad and people in the armed forces returning home.”
When compared to other Midwestern metropolitan regions such as Indianapolis and Grand Rapids, Mich., the Twin Cities are nearly tied for the second highest population growth rate.
“For the Midwestern metro, we’re close to leading the pack,” Egbert said. “Sometimes, in some of the regions, they’re experiencing a higher percentage because they are smaller.”
Many people moving to cities such as Minneapolis and St. Paul, are in their late teens and early twenties, Egbert said, and often move to attend higher education.
The Twin Cities metro area’s population growth also exceeds that of big cities such as Chicago and New York.
But population growth rates in Houston and Orlando, Fla., were more than twice that of the Twin Cities metro.
“When you look at us nationally compared to other regions, it shows that they are growing at a faster rate than us and that there is room for improvement,” Brickman said.
Minnesota could work to make room for its growing population, she said, especially since there’s an estimated increase of 750,000 more people by 2040.
“Could you imagine being on [Highway] I-94 now and then adding almost a million more people?” Brickman said. “We need to think about how to accommodate people in terms of having a transit system that accommodates. … Having the water infrastructure that we need, all of those things that we need to support a continuously growing region.”