Cass County made top 10 lists for growth percentages in a national ranking of the 1990s today.
That ranking came as the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest population estimates. Eight Minnesota counties ranked in the top 10 of the fastest growing Upper Midwest counties. Most of them were in the sprawling Twin Cities region.
In the surrounding lakes area of Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Morrison, Wadena and Todd counties, all experienced population growth between 1990 and 1999. The largest growth came in Cass, Crow Wing and Aitkin counties.
Cass County's population grew from 21,791 in 1990 to 27,042 in 1999, a growth rate of 24 percent, or 5,251. Crow Wing County's population grew by 18.9 percent. The population grew from 44,249 to 52,608 in the 1990s. The actual population figure rose by 8,359 between April 1, 1990, to July 1, 1999. Aitkin County's population grew by 15 percent, or 1,868 in the 1990s, rising from 12,425 to 14,293.
Outside the state's urban areas, The Associated Press reported the most striking growth occurred in Cass County, in the Chippewa National Forest, and in Cook County on the North Shore. The county netted 5,251 new residents, even though deaths outnumbered births by 56.
Neighboring counties experienced smaller growth numbers. Morrison County grew by 3.1 percent with a 1999 population of 30,522. Todd County rose by 3.8 percent to a population of 24,240 and Wadena County grew by .6 percent to 13,238.
Sherburne County grew faster than any other county in the state during the past decade. The St. Cloud-area county grew by 51 percent in the 1990s, from 41,945 people at the decade's start to an estimated 63,356 last year.
Only 45 counties in the nation grew faster. Also, only five Minnesota counties -- all within the metro area -- saw a larger jump than Sherburne in sheer numbers of new residents.
The population in many of the state's rural counties continued to slip during the '90s, The Associated Press reported. But according to State Demographic Center research analyst Jim Hibbs, most are not losing population as fast as they did in the 1980s.
''They're sort of getting to the point that the people who are going to leave have largely left,'' he said. Still, because of natural decline and the trickle of young people from rural areas toward urban centers, rural counties likely will continue to see gradual population loss, Hibbs said.
The fastest-growing counties -- those seeing the most impressive percentage increases -- are not necessarily those that are seeing the greatest absolute numbers of new residents. But the Twin Cities area still stands out in the region when considering growth in numbers.
Seven of the 10 Upper Midwest counties experiencing the greatest numerical growth are in the Twin Cities area. No other state in this five-state area has even one county that ranks in the top 100 nationally when it comes to numerical growth -- and Minnesota has three: Dakota at No. 78, Anoka at 81 and Washington at 91.
Overall, 13 of the top 20 fastest-growing counties were in the South, and six were in the West, following earlier Census Bureau forecasts of those regions being areas of high growth.
''The fast-growing counties in the decade are considered to be suburban counties, or are adjacent to urban areas,'' Census Bureau analyst Marc Perry said.
Of the major counties -- classified by the Census Bureau as those with populations over 10,000 -- Grand Forks County, N.D., lost the most, declining 3.2 percent to 64,674. It was followed by Curry County, N.M., down 2.9 percent to 43,570; Beadle County, S.D., also down 2.9 percent to 16,637; Pulaski County, Mo., down 2.8 percent to 38,230; and Lawrence County, S.D., down 2.1 percent to 21,369.
The decline in Grand Forks came mostly as a consequence of the massive flood of 1997 that gutted 11 buildings in the city of Grand Forks, said Richard Rathge, a professor at North Dakota State University and director of the state's census data center.
(This story contains information from the Associated Press.)
Other census facts
-- The median age of U.S. residents went up from 32.8 in April 1990, the date of the last official census count, to 35.5 in 1999. Utah residents were the youngest, with a median age of 26.7 in 1999, and West Virginia residents were oldest, with a median age of 38.9.
-- The county with the largest population as of July 1, 1999, was Los Angeles County in California with 9,329,989 residents, followed by Cook County in Illinois with 5,192,326 residents.
-- Complete data on the latest Census Bureau release is available online at www.census.gov.
Sources: Census Bureau, Associated Press
The 10 fastest growing Minnesota counties, by percentage increase, from 1990 to 1999:
1. Sherburne, 51.
2. Scott, 43.5.
3. Carver, 39.9.
4. Washington, 38.9.
5. Chisago, 38.6.
6. Wright, 27.9.
7. Dakota, 26.9.
8. Cass, 24.1.
9. Cook, 23.4.
10. Anoka, 22.7.
The 10 Minnesota counties that lost the most population, by percentage decrease, from 1990 to 1999:
1. Lac qui Parle, -12.4.
2. Big Stone, -11.4.
3. Kittson, -10.3.
4. Koochiching, -8.6.
5. Marshall, -8.2.
6. Red Lake, -7.1.
7. Lincoln, -6.8
8. Traverse, -6.6
9. Stevens, -6.2
10. Cottonwood, -6.2
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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