ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is one of the few Upper Midwest states that won't lose a congressional seat when the next Congress is elected, according to Census Bureau figures released Thursday.
"Minnesota is an exception to the northern rule," said Steven Schier, a political science professor at Carleton College.
Minnesota's resident population grew more than 12 percent in the past decade -- from 4,375,099 in 1990 to 4,919,479 in 2000, making it the 17th fastest-growing state. Because the population grew at roughly the national average, Minnesota is expected to keep its eight congressional seats. The "resident population" does not include Minnesotans living abroad, such as soldiers and businesspeople on extended assignments.
Other Midwest states didn't do as well -- Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois each will lose a seat. The Dakotas already had the minimum number of one apiece and Iowa will keep its five seats.
Earlier estimates had suggested that Minnesota's population would grow to just 4,775,508 in this Census count.
"We had expected Minnesota to show strong," said state Demographer Tom Gillaspy. "It's a little stronger than expected."
About half of the growth came from births exceeding deaths, but that number doesn't change much from decade to decade, Gillaspy said.
What kept Minnesota ahead of other Midwest states was the number of people who have moved here in recent years. Specifics will be released later this year, but Gillaspy expects that about 252,000 people in the new population migrated from elsewhere.
"We've had a booming economy," Schier said. "It has really drawn people to the state."
A well-educated labor force and a lack of dependence on suffering industrial job markets also has given Minnesota a boost, he said.
"What's going to be particularly interesting is to see where these people are in Minnesota," Schier said. "My guess is a lot of them are in the suburban areas."
And several growing immigrant populations including Hmong, Latinos, Somalis and some other Africans, and immigrants from the former Soviet Union also could help offset population declines expected for Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Overall, Minnesota's population has nearly tripled since the beginning of the century, from 1.75 million -- not bad for a northern state.
Historically, the state loses young residents who want to go out and make it on their own, but by their late 20s and early 30s, many move back home to raise families until they reach retirement age and seek warmer clients. But after age 75, Minnesotans tend to move back home again to be closer to family in their final years, Gillaspy said.
On the Net:
Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov
Election Data Services: http://www.electiondataservices.com/home.htm
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