Minnesota continues to be one of the fastest-growing states in the Northeast and Midwest, according to new population estimates by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Minnesota's population on July 1, 1997, was 4,685,549, an increase of 37,000 people in one year.
Although growth from 1996 to 1997 remained strong, it was slower than in the preceding years — 0.79 percent this year, compared to increases as large as 1.16 percent earlier in the 1990s.
The state's growth continues to be substantially faster than in the 1970s and 1980s. Since the 1990 census, Minnesota has grown by 309,900 people. Most of the growth came because births outnumbered deaths. This natural increase is slowing, however, as births decline and the population ages.
For the first time since early in this century, migration has contributed steadily to Minnesota's population growth. Since the 1990 census, Minnesota has seen a net gain of people migrating from other states and from other countries. However, migration to Minnesota from other states was substantially lower this year than earlier in this decade.
"The drop in the number of people moving to Minnesota may be related to improving economies in other states, " said Ann Schluter, director of Minnesota Planning. "We will know more when detailed migration data becomes available next year."
Minnesota has the 20th-largest population in the country, and ranks 19th in population growth — both in absolute numbers and rate of growth.
Among Minnesota's neighbors, Wisconsin increased by 0.46 percent, Iowa by 0.15 percent, and South Dakota by 0.06 percent, while North Dakota dropped by 0.27 percent between 1996 and 1997. Nevada was the fastest-growing state in the nation, with an increase of 4.75 percent, while California had the largest numeric increase at 410,700 people.
The U.S. Bureau of the Census also released 1996 estimates for 273 metropolitan areas. Seven of those areas are located partly or entirely within Minnesota. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, comprised of 11 counties in Minnesota and two counties in Wisconsin, remains the 15th-largest metropolitan area in the nation, with a 1996 population of 2,765,116.
"In the next few months, the State Demographic Center will be preparing 1997 population and household estimates for counties, cities and townships," said state demographer Tom Gillaspy. Those estimates will be released in summer 1998.