Minnesota’s population has grown by just over 6 percent so far this decade, while six of the seven Northeast counties have declined by roughly that same amount. Cook County is the exception, with a population growth of about 5 percent in the last decade.
According to statistics compiled by the Smart Politics website from U.S. Census Bureau data, overall the more populated counties are getting bigger and the least populated counties are getting smaller. As you might expect, the biggest growth is in the Twin Cities Metro area, in the suburbs. Both Ramsey and Hennepin counties have lost population.
Cook County ranks 30th in population growth among Minnesota’s 87 counties. The southern Metro’s Scott County ranks number one at a 44 percent growth rate this decade – nearly 195 percent over the past 30 years.
Suburban sprawl appears to have expanded outward, with the real growth occurring in the counties of Central and East Central Minnesota. These nine counties have posted a 40 percent combined growth this decade.
Of the 12 counties with a population of less than 10,000 individuals in 1980, only Cook County has enjoyed an increase in population this decade. If you look over the last three decades, Cook County has grown at a rate of nearly 33 percent. However, the Arrowhead in general has only 6 percent of the state’s total population.