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In the Midst of Change: New Population Statistics for the Twin Cities

by Tim O'Neill
December 2015

Far and away, Employment Review makes the most use of the Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) employment and unemployment statistics. These statistics are housed in a number of different tools, including the Current Employment Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, Occupational Employment Statistics, and Local Area Unemployment Statistics. Using these tools in concert with one another can provide for an understanding of local and state level job markets. To gain a more complete picture, however, one must also understand a region’s population and labor force. Much of this information is gathered and published outside of DEED’s resources, including the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The following will highlight ACS data in the Twin Cities Seven-County Metro Area.

The American Community Survey

The U.S. Census Bureau has collected population statistics every year since 1790, as required by the U.S. Constitution. Beyond just a basic count of people, the census was created in order to “enable future legislators to adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community.” 1 In the 20th century the questions were divided between a “short” and “long” form, with only a subset of the population required to complete the long form. After 2000, the long form became the ACS, which continues to survey local areas on demographic, housing, social, and economic data every year. As with the creation of the census in 1790, the ACS is intended to provide timely population and labor force data, in order to bolster further understanding of local areas for government agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, community groups, emergency planners, educators, journalists, and the public.2

The ACS is conducted on a rolling basis. Each year, about one in 38 households receives an invitation to participate in the survey, which may be completed by individuals online or in paper form. All in all, approximately 295,000 addresses are contacted to participate in the survey each month. Once collected, information from the ACS is released in both one-year and five-year estimates. One-year estimates, while the most current data, include only those areas with populations of 65,000 or more people. Five-year estimates, while not as current, are more reliable and include data for all local areas.

As recently as December 3, 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau released updated 2010-2014 five-year estimates. While newly-released data are noteworthy in themselves, this is the first time in the ACS’s history that 5-year estimates do not overlap. This provides a unique opportunity to analyze population and labor force trends for all local areas over time.3

Where is Growth Happening?

As of 2014, the Twin Cities metro had a population of 2,294,604 people who were 16 years of age and older, making up 54.0 percent of Minnesota’s total.4 Over the course of the 2009 to 2014 estimates, this population increased by nearly 115,000 people, a 5.3 percent increase (see Table 1). As such, the Twin Cities’ grew at a faster clip than the state as a whole, which saw a 4.2 percent increase in its population.


Table 1: Metro Population Trends, 2009-2014

Subject

2014 Population

2009 – 2014 Population Change

Numeric

Percent

Total Population, 16 Years+

2,294,604

114,888

5.3%

Age

16 to 19 Years

153,373

484

0.3%

20 to 24 Years

188,933

3,318

1.8%

25 to 44 Years

828,142

-9,679

-1.2%

45 to 54 Years

434,596

2,721

0.6%

55 to 64 Years

353,657

68,121

23.9%

65 to 74 Years

186,226

40,151

27.5%

75 Years and Over

149,677

9,772

7.0%

Race and Ethnicity

White

1,877,410

26,751

1.4%

Black or African American

173,946

36,982

27.0%

Native American

13,219

-292

-2.2%

Asian

145,422

33,984

30.5%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander

1,045

-69

-6.2%

Some Other Race

38,377

1,192

3.2%

Two or More Races

45,185

16,340

56.6%

Hispanic or Latino Origin

112,803

23,143

25.8%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey


Overall, between 2009 and 2014 the largest-growing county was Hennepin County, which gained nearly 42,000 people. This should come as of no surprise as 41.2 percent of the metro’s total population lives in Hennepin County. What is surprising is that the next largest-growing county is Washington County, which gained over 17,200 people between 2009 and 2014. Washington County makes up 8.2 percent of the metro’s total population. As such, Washington County was the fastest-growing county between 2009 and 2014 with 10.0 percent growth. Other fast-growing counties included Scott County and Carver County, both of which grew at rates of 7.9 percent. Ramsey County was the slowest-growing metro county, with its 4.1 percent rate of growth just shy of the state’s 4.2 percent (see Table 2).


Table 2: County Age Trends, 2009-2014

County

Total Population Change

Population 65+

Numeric

Percent

Numeric

Percent

Anoka

10,781

4.3%

7,907

27.8%

Carver

5,165

7.9%

1,693

24.4%

Dakota

16,179

5.4%

11,872

35.9%

Hennepin

41,891

4.6%

16,193

13.0%

Ramsey

16,362

4.1%

714

1.1%

Scott

7,302

7.9%

3,126

36.7%

Washington

17,208

10.0%

8,391

41.6%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey


At the city level nearly half (48.4 percent) of the metro’s total population growth between 2009 and 2014 occurred in just 10 cities. This is remarkable when one considers there are 140 cities in the Seven-County Metro Area. Not surprisingly, Minneapolis and St. Paul lead the pack with 12,401 people added and 9,579 people added, respectively. Together, these two cities accounted for roughly one-fifth (19.1 percent) of total metro growth between 2009 and 2014. While accounting for significant metro growth, Minneapolis’ growth rate of 4.0 percent and St. Paul’s growth rate of 4.4 percent come in below the metro’s average of 5.3 percent.

Following Minneapolis and St. Paul are some surprising players. With an increase of 8,047 people, Woodbury grew by 20.1 percent, nearly four times faster than the metro area overall. Growing by 5,225 people and 4,404 people, respectively, both Brooklyn Park and Lakeville witnessed growth rates about twice that of the metro area.

Coming in at 6th place for numeric growth with 4,282 people added, Shakopee grew at a rate of 17.8 percent between 2009 and 2014. At 7th place for numeric growth with 3,120 people added, Bloomington remained the metro’s third –largest city. Finally, rounding out the top 10 largest-growing cities in the metro were Blaine, Edina, and Maplewood.5

An Aging Population

Broken down by age, it’s clear the Twin Cities metro is getting older. In 2009 the 55-64 and 65 years and over age groups each made up 13.1 percent of the total population. By 2014 the 55-64 year age group expanded to include 15.4 percent of the total population, while the 65 years and over group expanded to include 14.6 percent. As these older groups expanded, “prime-working age” groups shrank.6 In the metro area those between the ages of 25 and 44 years transitioned from making up 38.4 percent of the total population in 2009 to making up 36.1 percent in 2014 (see Chart 1).


Chart 1: Twin Cities Age Distribution 2009-2014 


While these adjustments in the Twin Cities’ population seem marginal at first glance, they translate to a significant aging of the population. For example, the 55-64 year age group added over 68,000 people between 2009 and 2014, growing by nearly 24 percent. Those 65 years of age and older added nearly 50,000 people, with a growth rate over three times that of the total population. Meanwhile, no younger age group witnessed growth rates above 2 percent, with the 25-44 year age group actually declining by nearly 10,000 people.

Hennepin County gained the most people 65 years of age and older between 2009 and 2014, followed by Dakota County and Washington County. Growing by 41.6 percent, this age group grew the fastest in Washington County, followed by 36.7 percent in Scott County and 35.9 percent in Dakota County. At the other end of the spectrum, Ramsey County’s population 65 years of age and older grew by only 1.1 percent (see Table 2).

Zooming in, those cities gaining the most people 65 years of age and older between 2009 and 2014 included Woodbury, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Eagan, Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park, Blaine, and Burnsville.

Increasing Diversity

Broken down by race and ethnicity, it’s apparent the Twin Cities metro is becoming more diverse. The black population grew the most between 2009 and 2014, adding nearly 37,000 people, with a growth rate of 27.0 percent. Close behind, the Asian population added nearly 34,000 people, with a growth rate of 30.5 percent. Those reporting Hispanic or Latino origin grew by over 23,000 people, with a growth rate of 25.8 percent. In contrast to rapid growth among the black, Asian, and Hispanic or Latino populations, the white population barely broke 1 percent growth in the metro between 2009 and 2014.

Black and African American Population

Digging into the demographics by county, Hennepin County’s black population grew by 18,268 people, increasing by 22.6 percent, and Ramsey County’s black population grew by 9,533 people, increasing by 31.0 percent. Together, these two counties made up three-quarters of the total growth for the black population in the metro area. In terms of percentage growth, Anoka County and Washington County witnessed very significant increases in their black populations, which grew by 45.1 percent and 43.7 percent, respectively.

Asian Population

Like the black population growth, the bulk of Asian growth was in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Ramsey County’s Asian population grew by 15,098 people, accounting for 44.4 percent of that population’s growth in the metro. Hennepin County’s Asian population grew by 12,534 people, contributing another 36.9 percent to that population’s total metro growth. Washington County also witnessed an Asian population boom of 29.5%.

Native American Population

At the metro level the Native American population decreased by 2.2 percent between 2009 and 2014, equivalent to approximately 300 people. At the county level, much of this decline was in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Anoka counties. In contrast to these three counties, Washington County’s Native American population climbed by 36.7 percent or about 200 people.

Identifying as another Race

Those people not identifying with listed racial groups may option as Some Other Race within the American Community Survey. After selecting this option, respondents may then write in a specific and/or unique race. Based on survey results, this population makes up roughly 2 percent of the total metro population or nearly 38,400 people. Trends among this population were much more sporadic throughout the metro region. On one end of the spectrum, Hennepin County shed 2,120 people reporting to be some other race, a 10.4 percent decline. Carver, Washington, and Ramsey counties also lost people reporting to be some other race, at 17.9 percent, 13.8 percent, and 4.8 percent respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Dakota County gained 2,200 people reporting to be some other race, a 45.6 percent increase. This population also increased rapidly in Anoka County, growing by 49.2 percent or an estimated 1,200 people and in Scott County where a gain of 530 people equaled a growth of 70.3 percent.

Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity

When analyzing ethnicity, we find an estimated 112,800 people report having Hispanic or Latino origins in the metro area. While this population grew the most in Hennepin County, adding 8,136 people between 2009 and 2014, it grew the fastest in Dakota County. There, those reporting Hispanic or Latino origins grew by 50.4 percent, an increase of nearly 5,400 people (see Table 3). It should be noted that Hispanic or Latino origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality, lineage, or country of birth of an individual, or the individual’s parents or ancestors, before arriving in the United States. People who identify as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be any race.7 As such, percentages for the various race categories should not be combined with the percentage identifying as Hispanic or Latino.

A Shrinking Majority

There’s no denying that the Twin Cities’ population is predominantly white. As of 2014, 81.8 percent of the region’s population identified as white within the ACS. While lower than the state’s 87.4 percent identifying as white, this is higher than the U.S., where 75.4 percent identified as white. Despite making up over four-in-five metro area residents above the age of 16, white population growth between 2009 and 2014 accounted for only 23.3 percent of total growth during that time.

At the county level, Washington County led the metro area in white population growth, with an additional 12,500 residents between 2009 and 2014. While Carver and Scott counties joined Washington County in modest growth of their respective white populations, all other counties’ white population growth lagged well behind their total growth rates (see Table 3).


Table 3: Select County Minority Trends, 2009-2014

County

White

Black

Asian

Native American

Hispanic or Latino

Change

Percent

Change

Percent

Change

Percent

Change

Percent

Change

Percent

Anoka

3,873

1.7%

3,352

45.1%

1,124

12.9%

-105

-6.0%

2,556

46.3%

Carver

4,722

7.7%

44

6.6%

299

19.6%

24

21.1%

309

15.3%

Dakota

6,879

2.6%

3,077

28.8%

1,854

15.6%

-1

-0.1%

5,391

50.4%

Hennepin

5,572

0.8%

18,268

22.6%

12,534

26.7%

-314

-4.7%

8,136

18.6%

Ramsey

-10,965

-3.4%

9,533

31.0%

15,098

49.0%

-112

-4.4%

4,073

19.6%

Scott

4,162

5.0%

739

39.0%

995

21.8%

20

2.9%

923

30.8%

Washington

12,508

8.0%

1,969

43.7%

2,080

29.5%

196

36.7%

1,755

44.7%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey


At the city level, St. Paul led the metro area with nearly 17,000 additional minority residents between 2009 and 2014. This increase was more than enough to overcome the city’s 4.7 percent decline in its white population. St. Paul’s Asian population, which makes up about 14 percent of the city’s total, expanded significantly between 2009 and 2014, adding 9,545 people for a 43.7 percent increase. Interestingly, while St. Paul’s black population also makes up about 14 percent of the city’s total, its population grew at a slower pace of 25.4 percent.

Close behind St. Paul, Minneapolis’ minority population grew by nearly 13,500 people between 2009 and 2014. This growth also made up for the city’s decreasing white population, which fell by 0.5 percent. Minneapolis’ black population, which makes up about 16 percent of the total, was the largest-growing with an additional 5,200 people. Adding just over 5,000 people, those reporting two or more races grew by a remarkable 85 percent. This is an especially interesting trend, as those reporting two or more races only make up about 3 percent of the city’s total population.

Other metro cities with large increases in minority populations include Brooklyn Park, Bloomington, Maplewood, Brooklyn Center, Shakopee, Eagan, and Woodbury. No metro city’s minority population declined by more than 200 people between 2009 and 2014.

Table 4 highlights the top five growing cities in each metro county. Overall, while these 35 cities accounted for 57.3 percent of the metro’s total population, they accounted for 77.3 percent of its growth between 2009 and 2014.


Table 4: Top-Growing Cities by County, 2009-2014

City

Total 16+ Population

Population Change

65+ Percent Growth

Minority Percent Growth

Numeric

Percent

Anoka County

262,119

10,781

4.3%

27.8%

29.5%

Blaine

45,427

2,911

6.8%

40.0%

13.3%

Columbia Heights

15,937

1,805

12.8%

-1.8%

71.1%

Andover

23,412

1,600

7.3%

65.5%

19.9%

Ramsey

18,679

1,457

8.5%

61.5%

88.9%

Lino Lakes

15,824

1,007

6.8%

56.9%

-14.2%

Carver County

70,237

5,165

7.9%

24.4%

12.4%

Waconia

8,122

1,240

18.0%

76.4%

-23.8%

Chanhassen

17,829

1,140

6.8%

56.9%

18.1%

Chaska

18,374

1,094

6.3%

20.8%

-8.2%

Carver

2,599

858

49.3%

33.7%

50.0%

Victoria

5,572

601

12.1%

-2.7%

138.5%

Dakota County

314,309

16,179

5.4%

35.9%

29.2%

Lakeville

42,102

4,404

11.7%

42.7%

30.7%

Farmington

15,523

2,449

18.7%

45.6%

14.0%

Eagan

51,089

2,155

4.4%

60.6%

32.3%

Rosemount

16,531

1,748

11.8%

54.7%

22.2%

Burnsville

48,681

1,521

3.2%

26.5%

22.8%

Hennepin County

946,185

41,891

4.6%

13.0%

21.5%

Minneapolis

322,431

12,401

4.0%

7.6%

16.8%

Brooklyn Park

57,483

5,225

10.0%

35.7%

23.2%

Rogers

8,525

3,477

68.9%

155.9%

114.0%

Bloomington

70,591

3,120

4.6%

7.9%

33.3%

Edina

38,578

2,759

7.7%

3.6%

43.2%

Ramsey County

413,165

16,362

4.1%

1.1%

35.2%

St. Paul

225,983

9,579

4.4%

-4.3%

28.3%

Maplewood

31,178

2,758

9.7%

-2.5%

67.4%

Roseville

29,029

1,442

5.2%

-4.1%

47.3%

North St. Paul

9,674

643

7.1%

-7.7%

25.1%

Shoreview

20,969

498

2.4%

20.3%

75.0%

Scott County

99,801

7,302

7.9%

36.7%

36.3%

Shakopee

28,286

4,282

17.8%

21.4%

56.6%

Jordan

4,144

1,529

58.5%

54.0%

-19.3%

Elko New Market

2,912

864

42.2%

59.0%

-56.8%

New Prague

5,391

805

17.6%

7.0%

-23.2%

Savage

20,531

679

3.4%

67.9%

18.9%

Washington County

188,788

17,208

10.0%

41.6%

30.8%

Woodbury

48,076

8,047

20.1%

62.7%

35.3%

Cottage Grove

26,213

1,801

7.4%

62.6%

17.7%

Hugo

10,404

1,415

15.7%

53.3%

32.8%

Lake Elmo

6,357

838

15.2%

82.8%

-42.9%

Scandia

3,403

699

25.9%

65.2%

206.9%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey


The Complete Picture

Reading Employment Review and utilizing DEED’s employment resources in concert can reveal a lot about the Twin Cities’ labor market. The region is large, accounting for three out of every five state jobs. It has a broad industry base with healthy employment concentrations in healthcare, select manufacturing sectors, management, and professional and business services, among others. It has a nationally-ranked labor force participation rate, which hovers around 70 percent. The region is growing, averaging 26,400 jobs gained every year since the low of the recession in 2010, and this growth is anticipated to remain modest through the end of the decade. These employment statistics are nearly endless and can provide for a clear understanding of both the region’s past and present.

As this article shows, however, there is another perspective to study: population. The newly-released American Community Survey data clearly outlines an aging, yet diversifying population in the Twin Cities metro. What impacts will these changes have upon the region’s labor market? What industries and occupations will be impacted the most? How will the metro’s seven counties and 140 cities continue to evolve? Utilize DEED’s employment tools, check out the American Community Survey and stay tuned in with Employment Review to find out.



1Summary of debate on Census Bill, House of Representatives, 25-26 Jan., 2 Feb. 1790 (The Founders’ Constitution, 1987, University of Chicago, Volume 2, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3, Document 19). 

2United States Census Bureau. American Community Survey: Information Guide. April 2013.

3For the purposes of brevity, 2005-2009 five-year estimates and 2010-2014 five-year estimates will be referred to as 2009 and 2014 estimates, respectively.

4All references to population will refer to the population 16 years of age and older unless specified otherwise.

5The city of Rogers gained 3,477 people between 2009 and 2014, growing by 68.9 percent. While this would certainly put Rogers in the top-ten growing metro cities, much of this growth was attributable to the annexation of Hassan Township in 2012.

6Those between the ages of 25 and 54 are considered to be a part of the prime working age group, as they typically have the highest labor force participation rates.

7Hispanic Origin. United States Census Bureau, Web. 14 Dec. 2015. www.census.gov/topics/population/hispanic-origin/about.html .

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