Fastest-growing counties in Minnesota

Written by:
June 10, 2022
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Fastest-growing counties in Minnesota

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in Minnesota. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in Minnesota using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Rock County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +17
--- #1,469 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.2%
--- #49 among counties in Minnesota, #1,463 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 9,704
--- #69 largest county in Minnesota, #2,436 largest county nationwide
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Brown County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +19
--- #1,467 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.1%
--- #50 among counties in Minnesota, #1,476 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,912
--- #40 largest county in Minnesota, #1,563 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Lake County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +39
--- #1,442 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.4%
--- #47 among counties in Minnesota, #1,434 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 10,905
--- #66 largest county in Minnesota, #2,350 largest county nationwide
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Jatakuck // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Watonwan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +42
--- #1,439 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.4%
--- #46 among counties in Minnesota, #1,432 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 11,253
--- #65 largest county in Minnesota, #2,333 largest county nationwide
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Swift County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +55
--- #1,426 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.6%
--- #43 among counties in Minnesota, #1,400 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 9,838
--- #68 largest county in Minnesota, #2,421 largest county nationwide

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Gobonobo // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Grant County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +56
--- #1,423 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.9%
--- #42 among counties in Minnesota, #1,344 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 6,074
--- #79 largest county in Minnesota, #2,733 largest county nationwide
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Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Pennington County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +62
--- #1,419 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.4%
--- #44 among counties in Minnesota, #1,422 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 13,992
--- #59 largest county in Minnesota, #2,156 largest county nationwide
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Elkman // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Meeker County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +100
--- #1,395 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.4%
--- #45 among counties in Minnesota, #1,424 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 23,400
--- #43 largest county in Minnesota, #1,663 largest county nationwide
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#42. McLeod County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +120
--- #1,381 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.3%
--- #48 among counties in Minnesota, #1,442 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 36,771
--- #29 largest county in Minnesota, #1,260 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Chippewa County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +157
--- #1,352 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.3%
--- #41 among counties in Minnesota, #1,295 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 12,598
--- #61 largest county in Minnesota, #2,232 largest county nationwide

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Wadena County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +222
--- #1,312 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.6%
--- #38 among counties in Minnesota, #1,241 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 14,065
--- #58 largest county in Minnesota, #2,150 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Pope County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +313
--- #1,250 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.8%
--- #32 among counties in Minnesota, #1,077 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 11,308
--- #64 largest county in Minnesota, #2,330 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Fillmore County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +362
--- #1,225 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.7%
--- #37 among counties in Minnesota, #1,223 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 21,228
--- #47 largest county in Minnesota, #1,754 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Mille Lacs County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +362
--- #1,225 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.4%
--- #40 among counties in Minnesota, #1,267 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 26,459
--- #39 largest county in Minnesota, #1,550 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Todd County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +367
--- #1,221 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.5%
--- #39 among counties in Minnesota, #1,253 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,262
--- #42 largest county in Minnesota, #1,593 largest county nationwide

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Cook County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +424
--- #1,193 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.2%
--- #15 among counties in Minnesota, #552 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,600
--- #81 largest county in Minnesota, #2,772 largest county nationwide
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Dodge County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +780
--- #1,063 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.9%
--- #28 among counties in Minnesota, #943 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 20,867
--- #48 largest county in Minnesota, #1,767 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Morrison County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +812
--- #1,055 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.4%
--- #33 among counties in Minnesota, #1,124 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 34,010
--- #33 largest county in Minnesota, #1,331 largest county nationwide
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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Carlton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +821
--- #1,052 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.3%
--- #34 among counties in Minnesota, #1,139 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 36,207
--- #30 largest county in Minnesota, #1,276 largest county nationwide
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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Steele County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +830
--- #1,050 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.3%
--- #35 among counties in Minnesota, #1,142 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 37,406
--- #28 largest county in Minnesota, #1,236 largest county nationwide

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Darb02 // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Mower County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +866
--- #1,039 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.2%
--- #36 among counties in Minnesota, #1,151 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 40,029
--- #26 largest county in Minnesota, #1,182 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Nobles County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +912
--- #1,025 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.3%
--- #26 among counties in Minnesota, #901 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 22,290
--- #44 largest county in Minnesota, #1,700 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Hubbard County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +916
--- #1,023 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.5%
--- #25 among counties in Minnesota, #879 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 21,344
--- #46 largest county in Minnesota, #1,748 largest county nationwide
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Le Sueur County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +971
--- #1,007 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.5%
--- #30 among counties in Minnesota, #989 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 28,674
--- #38 largest county in Minnesota, #1,466 largest county nationwide
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Goodhue County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,399
--- #929 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.0%
--- #31 among counties in Minnesota, #1,054 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 47,582
--- #20 largest county in Minnesota, #1,027 largest county nationwide

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Kandiyohi County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,493
--- #906 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.5%
--- #29 among counties in Minnesota, #982 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 43,732
--- #23 largest county in Minnesota, #1,103 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Cass County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,499
--- #904 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.2%
--- #20 among counties in Minnesota, #793 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 30,066
--- #36 largest county in Minnesota, #1,432 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Nicollet County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,727
--- #861 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.3%
--- #19 among counties in Minnesota, #792 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 34,454
--- #32 largest county in Minnesota, #1,314 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Beltrami County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,786
--- #849 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.0%
--- #27 among counties in Minnesota, #925 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 46,228
--- #21 largest county in Minnesota, #1,049 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Becker County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,679
--- #744 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.2%
--- #14 among counties in Minnesota, #544 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 35,183
--- #31 largest county in Minnesota, #1,298 largest county nationwide

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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Chisago County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,734
--- #741 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.1%
--- #22 among counties in Minnesota, #815 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 56,621
--- #18 largest county in Minnesota, #914 largest county nationwide
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SH5544 // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Otter Tail County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,778
--- #736 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.8%
--- #23 among counties in Minnesota, #840 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 60,081
--- #17 largest county in Minnesota, #873 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Benton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,928
--- #717 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.6%
--- #17 among counties in Minnesota, #589 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 41,379
--- #24 largest county in Minnesota, #1,153 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Rice County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,955
--- #715 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.6%
--- #24 among counties in Minnesota, #862 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 67,097
--- #14 largest county in Minnesota, #800 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Douglas County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,997
--- #706 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.3%
--- #13 among counties in Minnesota, #534 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 39,006
--- #27 largest county in Minnesota, #1,200 largest county nationwide

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Isanti County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,319
--- #676 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.8%
--- #11 among counties in Minnesota, #500 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 41,135
--- #25 largest county in Minnesota, #1,156 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Crow Wing County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,623
--- #655 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.8%
--- #18 among counties in Minnesota, #741 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 66,123
--- #15 largest county in Minnesota, #809 largest county nationwide
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Blue Earth County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +5,099
--- #563 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.0%
--- #16 among counties in Minnesota, #567 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 69,112
--- #13 largest county in Minnesota, #778 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Clay County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +6,319
--- #523 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.7%
--- #7 among counties in Minnesota, #385 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 65,318
--- #16 largest county in Minnesota, #824 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikicommons

#11. Stearns County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +7,650
--- #496 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.1%
--- #21 among counties in Minnesota, #814 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 158,292
--- #8 largest county in Minnesota, #425 largest county nationwide

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Sherburne County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +8,684
--- #458 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.8%
--- #10 among counties in Minnesota, #433 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 97,183
--- #12 largest county in Minnesota, #625 largest county nationwide
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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Carver County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +15,880
--- #338 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +17.4%
--- #1 among counties in Minnesota, #155 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 106,922
--- #11 largest county in Minnesota, #573 largest county nationwide
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Wright County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +16,637
--- #328 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +13.3%
--- #3 among counties in Minnesota, #272 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 141,337
--- #10 largest county in Minnesota, #466 largest county nationwide
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Olmsted County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +18,599
--- #306 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +12.9%
--- #4 among counties in Minnesota, #292 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 162,847
--- #7 largest county in Minnesota, #410 largest county nationwide
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Appraiser // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Scott County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +21,000
--- #279 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +16.2%
--- #2 among counties in Minnesota, #187 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 150,928
--- #9 largest county in Minnesota, #447 largest county nationwide

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Iulus Ascanius // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Washington County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +29,432
--- #221 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +12.4%
--- #5 among counties in Minnesota, #309 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 267,568
--- #5 largest county in Minnesota, #262 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Anoka County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +33,043
--- #190 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.0%
--- #9 among counties in Minnesota, #421 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 363,887
--- #4 largest county in Minnesota, #200 largest county nationwide
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Dakota County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +41,330
--- #157 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.4%
--- #8 among counties in Minnesota, #399 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 439,882
--- #3 largest county in Minnesota, #162 largest county nationwide
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Mulad // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Ramsey County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +43,712
--- #146 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.6%
--- #12 among counties in Minnesota, #512 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 552,352
--- #2 largest county in Minnesota, #128 largest county nationwide
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Checubus // Shutterstock

#1. Hennepin County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +129,140
--- #38 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +11.2%
--- #6 among counties in Minnesota, #360 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,281,565
--- #1 largest county in Minnesota, #33 largest county nationwide

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