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Associated Press, Published March 16 2011

Census: Twin Cities suburbs thrive in the 2000s, Hispanic population grows 74 percent

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — New census data show the five suburban counties surrounding Minneapolis and St. Paul grew an average of 23 percent since 2000. That bucks a national trend in which most high-growth counties have been in the Sun Belt.

Minnesota state demographer Tom Gillaspy says Anoka County grew 11 percent, Carver County 30 percent, Dakota County 12 percent, Scott County 45 percent and Washington County 18 percent.

The state population as a whole grew about 384,500 since 2000. The growth in those five counties alone accounted for about 45 percent of that.

The Twin Cities metro area has grown faster than other Midwestern cities in part because the state economy has done better than the nation’s.

The new census figures, released this afternoon, also show the state’s Hispanic population jumping 74.5 percent in the past decade, mirroring a national trend.

Gillaspy says the 250,258 Hispanics reported in the 2010 Census account for 4.7 percent of state’s current population of 5.3 million. That’s up from about 3 percent in 2000.

Similar increases have been reported around the Midwest. The Hispanic population jumped 74 percent in Wisconsin, 84 percent in Iowa and 59 percent in Kansas.

Despite the increase, Minnesota’s population remains about 83 percent white, down from 88 percent in 2000.

Demographers say the Hispanic population is growing both because it is younger and has more women of child-bearing age and because Hispanics are immigrating into the state.

Census data also will reignite Minnesota’s once-a-decade redistricting fight since the numbers are used to re-draw the state’s eight congressional districts and other voting boundaries.

The data shows the populations of those congressional districts and how much they will need to change. By law, the districts must have about equal populations of about 663,000. How the districts are re-drawn will have implications for each party’s political strength in the district.

The new figures show the population soared in the 6th District that stretches from St. Cloud to Stillwater and in the suburban 2nd District. Together they will need to lose more than 160,000 people.

Meanwhile, the population of the urban districts covering Minneapolis and St. Paul held about steady.