- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota is still seeing more people move into the state than others in the region, but its rate of growth is showing signs of tapering.

New U.S. Census Bureau estimates released this week project that Minnesota added 35,000 people to its population in 2014, more in number than its Upper Midwest neighbors. But North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska are adding residents at a faster pace relative to their existing population.

The Star Tribune reports (http://strib.mn/1robQ7V ) that while the figures are only estimates they matter because they help in analyzing the labor force. Migration patterns are especially important because deaths and births are fairly predictable for a given year, according to State Demographer Susan Brower.

For Minnesota, a well-educated workforce has been the fuel for an economy that has outperformed the nation economically for decades.

“In the past we have relied on an always-increasing labor force and what we’re going to see in the next 15 to 20 years as the baby boomers retire is much slower growth of that labor force,” Brower said.

She predicts that by 2042 Minnesota’s population won’t grow naturally because deaths will top births, making migration from elsewhere in the country or world that much more critical.

Minnesota did lose 6,700 residents to other states in 2014, according to the Census Bureau estimates.

Even so, Minnesota has added 146,755 people in the past four years to bring its population to 5.5 million. The next closest in absolute in the Midwest was Indiana at 106,547 people in that period.

Neighboring Wisconsin added only 14,600 people in 2014. But its population remains larger than Minnesota’s, at 5.8 million.

The next full Census in 2020 will be politically important, too. Minnesota is projected to lose one of its eight congressional seats to a growing southern state unless it sees a dramatic uptick in population.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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