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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Census: Minnesota's urban centers see growth

  • New census figures show the Minneapolis-St. Paul area added more than 100,000 people between 2010 and 2013, with the urban centers accounting for more of the growth than suburbs.
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  • New census figures show the Minneapolis-St. Paul area added more than 100,000 people between 2010 and 2013, with the urban centers accounting for more of the growth than suburbs.
    The Star Tribune reported that the suburbs accounted for just over a third of metro-area growth, far less than last decade, when the suburbs accounted for 84 percent of the area's growth.
    "This is a change that has been developing (for) some years now, and it's continuing," said state demographer Susan Brower.
    Census estimates say nearly half of overall growth in the Twin Cities happened in Hennepin County, while Ramsey County grew from 5,100 to 6,200 from 2012 to 2013 — a period in which the Green Line light rail neared completion and drew interest from developers.
    Regional centers across the state have also seen strong growth so far this decade.
    Fargo-Moorhead has grown by nearly 15,000 since 2010. Its 7 percent rate of growth makes it one of the nation's fastest-growing metropolitan areas.
    Lisa Gulland-Nelson, vice president of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp., said the change is noticeable.
    "For people who've lived here," she said, "we don't know where all these people came from all of a sudden. Not long ago I took the kids to a downtown museum and thought I could park right outside — you can always park right outside of anything in Fargo. But we couldn't! We had to park at my work and walk several blocks."
    Meanwhile, new county-level forecasts from the demographer's office predict a strong evening out of growth across the state. The projections to 2045 look optimistic for distant rural areas that had been looking at declines.
    Ben Winchester, a University of Minnesota Extension rural sociologist, said rural areas have diversified.
    "Manufacturing (is) strong in many areas, and broadband is allowing people to telecommute to the Twin Cities area, so you are seeing lots of proprietors out in the countryside: financial analysts, book editors, the self-employed," he said.
    Outstate, Olmsted County, which has Rochester at its center, added nearly 5,000 people, making it the leading gainer so far this decade.
    "Rochester has a much higher concentration of jobs in health care than most at a time when an aging population is increasing the importance of that sector," Brower said. "International migration is helping fuel the growth. Still, she said, the numbers are small when compared to the Twin Cities."

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