Census: Most area counties see growth

Six of the seven area counties had a least a little growth ranging from 1.4% to 5.8% in the last decade.

CWC Fair Wed Thurs (10).JPG
Listening to music Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, at the Crow Wing County Fair. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The 2020 U.S. Census is providing a wealth of information on area communities, covering everything from population changes, demographics on specific age groups, housing, size of households, race, education, poverty, employment, transportation, health and the economy.

The information will provide many ways to look at lakes area communities in the coming weeks and months.

In the first blush, a look at the population shows six of the seven counties in the greater lakes area grew in the last decade, at least by a little.

Population by area county

County, 2020 population, 2010 population, percent change

  • Crow Wing County: 66,123 in 2020, 62,500 in 2010, 5.8% growth.

  • Morrison County: 34,010 — 33,198 — 2.4% growth.

  • Cass County: 30,066 — 28,567 — 5.2% growth.

  • Mille Lacs County: 26,459 — 26,097 — 1.4% growth.

  • Todd County: 25,262 — 24,895 — 1.5% growth.

  • Aitkin County: 15,697 — 16,202 — -3.1% decline.

  • Wadena County: 14,065 — 13,843 — 1.6% growth.

Population data by area city

For cities with populations over 5,000.


Population census by April 1, 2020 compared to April 1, 2010.

  • Brainerd: 14,395 — 13,590.

  • Baxter: 8,612 — 7,610.

  • Little Falls: 9,140 — 8,343


  • Crow Wing County is the 15th most populous of the state’s 87 counties.

  • Minnesota grew by 7.6% with 402,569 additional residents for a 2020 state population of 5,706,494.

Recently released 2020 Census data shows the population of U.S. metro areas grew by 9% from 2010 to 2020, resulting in 86% of the population living in U.S. metro areas in 2020, compared to 85% in 2010.
“Many counties within metro areas saw growth, especially those in the south and west. However, as we’ve been seeing in our annual population estimates, our nation is growing slower than it used to,” said Marc Perry, a senior demographer at the Census Bureau, in a news release. “This decline is evident at the local level where around 52% of the counties in the United States saw their 2020 Census populations decrease from their 2010 Census populations.”

County and metro area highlights:

  • The largest county in the United States in 2020 remains Los Angeles County with over 10 million people.

  • The largest city (incorporated place) in the United States in 2020 remains New York with 8.8 million people.

  • 312 of the 384 U.S. metro areas gained population between 2010 and 2020.

  • The fastest-growing U.S. metro area between the 2010 Census and 2020 Census was The Villages, Florida, which grew 39% from about 93,000 people to about 130,000 people.

  • 72 U.S. metro areas lost population from the 2010 Census to the 2020 Census. The U.S. metro areas with the largest percentage declines were Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Danville, Illinois, at -12.5 percent and -9.1 percent, respectively.

People watch the demo derby at the grand stand Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, at the Crow Wing County Fair. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

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