Data show that Hennepin and Ramsey counties lost 27,000 residents to other parts of the country in 2021-2022

Census Bureau data released late last year showed that:

From mid-2021 to mid-2022, 19,400 Minnesota residents left for other states, by far the highest number in at least three decades.

This week, the Census Bureau released data showing how that breaks down by county.

Washington (2,381), Wright (2,041), and Sherburne (1,097) counties saw the biggest net gains in residents from other parts of the United States. The biggest losers were Ramsey (10,944) and Hennepin (15,738) counties which, between them, lost a net 26,682 residents to other part of the United States in 2021-2022. Indeed, excluding those two counties, Minnesota actually experienced a net inflow of residents from elsewhere in the United States of 7,282 in 2021-2022.

This was an improvement on the 31,833 net loss Hennepin and Ramsey counties experienced in 2020-2021 – which was generally attributed to COVID-19 – but it was still well above the 2,678 net loss of the year before the pandemic, 2019-2020.

Of Minnesota’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas, only Duluth was a net gainer in domestic migrants in 2021-2022. So, also, was the non-metropolitan portion of the state.

Net domestic migration is just one component of population change. Overall, Hennepin County’s population fell last year by 6,615 (after falling by 14,832 the year previously) and the population of Ramsey County was down 6,448 (compared to a decline of 88,38 previously). The population of the seven county metro area fell by 5,425 from 2021 to 2022, following a fall of 10,494 the previous year. This does not bode well for the Metropolitan Council’s population forecasts, which have the metro population rising by 293,000 from 2021 to 2030, with a positive figure for net domestic migration of 10,000 over that period.

The Twin Cities are a vital economic engine for Minnesota and it is bad news for our state that they are now somewhere that people are keen to flee in reasonably large numbers. Their decline will have consequences across Minnesota.