Minnesota Population Up Slightly, But Changes Coming

Minnesota’s population continued a slight uptick in the past year, but thousands continue to leave for other states and the day when senior citizens outnumber students draws close.

Immigrants from other countries helped fuel the increase.

Minnesota grew somewhat slower than the national average in the past year, but three times faster than Midwestern states overall, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday when it released its annual state-by-state population estimates.

The bureau showed Minnesota with 5,489,594 residents on July 1, compared to 5,457,125 a year earlier. That is a 0.6 percent growth for the year, as national growth was 0.8 percent and Midwestern states reported a 0.2 percent increase.

“I don’t see anything particularly surprising,” Minnesota State Demographer Susan Brower said, although many people she talks with think the population is growing faster.

“We are moving into a period of pretty slow growth and expect it will continue for the foreseeable future,” Brower said.

Data the Census Bureau released Tuesday were rather limited, but when other federal and state figures are examined, a picture of the future comes into focus.

By 2040, Brower said, the number of deaths will exceed the number of births. “We are kinda slowly marching toward that.”

But far sooner than that, sometime around 2020, Minnesotans will see the number of people 65 and older outnumber those in kindergarten through high school for the first time. The number of Minnesotans 65 and older is expected to double between 2010 and 2030.

Brower’s numbers show that the 285,000 people turning 65 this decade will be more than the past 40 years combined.

“The numbers we have been seeing is that we lose a fair number of young people,” Brower said.

Even though “Minnesota is a state where people tend to stay,” as Brower puts it, more than 12,000 Minnesotans left the state last year alone. Many of those were young and many headed to warmer climate in the South and West.

Still, Brower said, Minnesota does better than some states without the attraction of a metropolitan area like the Twin Cities.

“Really, what is happening is lots of people leave, but many of them come back — not all of them,” Brower said. “It is not really a story of a mass exodus out of Minnesota.”

People moving in from other countries helped keep Minnesota younger than some states, Brower said.

The Census Bureau reported 37,723 people moved out of state since 2010, while 72,374 immigrants from other countries moved into Minnesota and births outnumbered deaths by nearly 152,035.

Minnesota remained the 21st most populous state after gaining 32,469 people in the past year.

North Dakota withstood oil price problems with a population increase of 2.3 percent, the largest of any state, to 756,927.

Of other Minnesota border states, Wisconsin showed the slowest growth, 0.2 percent to 5,771,337. South Dakota matched Minnesota at 0.6 percent with 858,469 people and Iowa’s population went up 0.5 percent to 3,123,899.

Nationally since last year, the South and West each grew by 1.2 percent, while the Northeast joined the Midwest in a 0.2 percent growth.

Following North Dakota in population growth were Colorado, the District of Columbia, Nevada and Florida.

Some states lost small amounts of population: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Vermont, New Mexico, Mississippi and West Virginia.

The country’s population on July 1 was 321,418,820, the Census Bureau reported, compared to 318,907,401 in 2014.

Also released Tuesday were data about how many Americans are 18 and older (77.1 percent overall). Minnesota and most adjoining states were just under the national mark, although South Dakota’s 75.4 percent 18 and older made it the youngest area state.

Minnesota has 76.6 percent, with Iowa showing 76.7 percent and North Dakota 77 percent. Wisconsin was at bit older at 77.6 percent 18 and older.

In general, New England states have 80 percent or more of their populations 18 and older, while Utah’s 69.5 percent gives it the fewest 18 and older.