Metro-area population growth of 24,000 in year since 2010 Census

Maple Grove contributes to growth as developing suburb

Population in the seven-county metro area grew 0.8 percent from 2010 to 2011, to 2.87 million, according to the Metropolitan Council. The Council’s annual population estimates, released July 16, show the two central cities accounted for 28 percent of the region’s population growth, while developing suburbs accounted for 39 percent and fully-developed suburbs for 29 percent.

Among the findings:

• The City of Minneapolis led population growth, followed by St. Paul.

• Developing suburbs, such as Woodbury, Blaine, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Lakeville and Shakopee, contributed most to the region’s population growth, with population growth in developing suburbs making up 39 percent of the region’s total growth.

• Population growth in developed suburbs, like Bloomington, Apple Valley, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Maplewood and Edina, made up 29 percent of the region’s growth.

• Natural growth accounted for 88 percent of the population growth; 12 percent came from immigration.

Council Demographer Todd Graham attributes much of the population growth in Minneapolis to newly built, multi-family housing. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul, he says, experienced an increase in occupancy rates in multi-family apartments.

“Housing vacancy surveys show greater interest in rental housing,” said Graham. “What we don’t know is whether that’s what people really want. It is possible households are choosing rental apartments because of limited financial resources.”

He added, “The estimates reflect only the one year following Census 2010. We need to be cautious about inferring trends from one year.”

“I’m pleased to see growth occurring primarily where there’s infrastructure to support it,” said Council Chair Susan Haigh. “Growth that occurs where infrastructure already exists creates economies of scale and promotes efficiency, which improves the region’s ability to focus energy and resources on economic development.

Haigh added, “It’s a good sign to see continued modest growth as we make our way out of one of the most difficult economic times in our nation’s history. Now, more than ever, Council policies of guiding growth primarily to those areas where infrastructure investments have and are being made will help the region thrive and compete globally, in spite of drastically different and changing national and world economic circumstances.”

The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning organization in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Council runs the regional bus and light-rail system and Northstar commuter rail, collects and treats wastewater, coordinates regional water resources, plans regional parks and administers funds that provide housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income families. The Council board is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Governor.