Mar 31, 2023 - News

People keep leaving Hennepin and Ramsey counties

Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Axios Visuals

The urban core of the Twin Cities continues to see a decline in population, according to new county-level estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

State of play: The populations of Hennepin and Ramsey counties declined by more than 13,000 residents between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022.

Zoom in: Counties on the outskirts of the metro saw some of the biggest population increases.

  • Washington County, which runs along the eastern portion of the state from Forest Lake to Hastings, gained 3,300 residents.
  • Wright County — which includes Monticello, Buffalo and St. Michael — jumped by 2,860 residents.

Cabin country is also gaining residents. No county in Minnesota grew faster than Cass, which added 1,200 people between April 2020 and July 2022.

  • Home values there, and other popular cabin destinations, are up by more then 30% as remote workers from the Twin Cities and other cities in the U.S. decide to make lake houses their permanent homes.

What they're saying: Because of the rise of remote work, “proximity to those downtown cores is less necessary," Minnesota senior demographer Eric Guthrie told Axios.

Yes, but: The migration out of Hennepin and Ramsey slowed compared to the first year of the pandemic and could be shifting inward again.

  • Single-family homebuilding — which tends to happen most on the fringes of the metro — has declined significantly because of high interest rates, while urban apartment construction remains hot.
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