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Census: Minorities fuel Minnesota population growth

Much of Minnesota's population growth between 2000 and 2010 was driven by an increase in the number of minority residents, U.S. census numbers released today show.

Minorities made up 14.7 percent of state residents in 2010, up from 10.6 percent in 2000.

The number of Hispanics in the state jumped 74 percent to more than 250,000, and now make up 4.7 percent of the state's population. The black population grew almost 60 percent and the Asian population increased 51 percent. The white population increase was less than 3 percent. Overall, the state's population rose 7.8 percent to 5.3 million people.

"Most of our population change this last decade is people of color," State Demographer Tom Gillaspy said. "We are becoming more diverse, but we're still one of the least diverse states in the country."

While population in the heart of the Twin Cities barely budged -- Hennepin County's population increased 3 percent, while Ramsey County's dropped a half percent -- it surged to the south and west and along the Wisconsin border.

Leading the way was Scott County, where population jumped more than 45 percent., followed by Wright County at almost 39 percent, Sherburne County at 37 percent and Chisago County at 31 percent.

Other metro area county population increases were Anoka, 11 percent; Dakota, 12 percent; and Washington, 18 percent.

Among the state's 20 most populous cities, Woodbury grew at the fastest rate, with population increasing by one-third over the decade to almost 62,000. Lakeville, with nearly a 30 percent growth rate, and Blaine at 27 percent were next.

The Minneapolis population lost just 40 residents over the decade and has 382,578 people. St. Paul lost almost 2,100 people, and now has a population of just over 285,068.

Population drops also occurred in some large suburbs, including Bloomington, Minnetonka and Coon Rapids.

Most of the state's minority population remains concentrated in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but as communities of color mature they are scattering to suburbs, too. Among the increasingly diverse suburbs are Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Eden Prairie, Burnsville and Woodbury.

Statewide, large swaths of western counties along the border with South Dakota continue to lose residents, as do counties in the state's northwest and northeast corners. Counties that lost more than 10 percent of their population between 2000 and 2010 include Faribault, Swift, Traverse, Lake of the Woods and Kittson.

Among larger outstate cities, Rochester grew 24 percent to nearly 107,000 people, becoming the state's third city to top that mark. Duluth dropped nearly 1 percent to 86,265 residents.

This census release, which includes population details down to the block level, will be used in redistricting.