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Census results: Washington County grows 18 percent

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Washington County remains the state's fifth-largest county, but it led the growth of first-tier suburban counties over the past decade, according to new 2010 census data released Wednesday.

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Washington County grew from a population of 201,130 in 2000 to 238,136 last year. That addition of 37,000 new residents put the county's growth at 18 percent, higher than neighboring Dakota and Anoka counties.

Ramsey County saw a slight decrease in overall population in the past decade.

The dramatic growth in Washington County in the past decade does not come as a surprise, but the census data confirmed the draw of east metro communities, including Woodbury and Cottage Grove, both of which have seen growth.

The so-called exurban Twin Cities counties saw the most explosive population growth. Scott County's population ballooned by 45 percent, while Wright County grew by 38 percent, Sherburne County by 37 percent.

Minnesota's 10 most populous counties are Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Anoka, Washington, St. Louis, Stearns, Olmsted, Scott and Wright.

Washington County was the fifth-largest of Minnesota's 87 counties in 2000.

The census data will be used to redraw the state's eight congressional districts. The 6th District, which includes most of Washington County and is represented by GOP U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, significantly outgrew the other seven districts in the past decade.

The 2nd District, which includes south Washington County and is home to Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline, also grew more than other congressional districts.

That means the boundaries for those two districts will have to be redrawn to include fewer residents so that each has the same population as each of the other six districts.

The state's congressional district boundaries will be redrawn before the 2012 election. That also will change state legislative districts. Washington County's population growth patterns likely will lead to new county commissioner district boundaries.

Check back for more detailed census information about south Washington County communities.

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Scott Wente
Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
(651) 459-7600
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