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District metro areas—by the numbers

September 1, 2001


Rob Grunewald Statistics Editor
District metro areas—by the numbers

From 1990 to 2000, the Sioux Falls, S.D., metropolitan statistical area was the district's fastest growing MSA at 23.8 percent. The population of Sioux Falls, which includes Lincoln and Minnehaha counties, totaled 172,412 in the 2000 census and ranked 41st of 280 MSAs in the country in growth rate. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines a metropolitan area as one that contains a large population nucleus and adjacent communities that have a high degree of economic and social integration within the core.

Missoula, Mont., the district's newest MSA, finished second in the district, with a growth rate of 21.8 percent and ranked 50th. Missoula reached MSA status in 1998 when it met OMB guidelines, which determine that each newly qualifying MSA must have at least one city with 50,000 or more inhabitants, or a Census Bureau-defined urbanized area of at least 50,000 inhabitants and a total metropolitan population of at least 100,000.

Only one district MSA lost population since 1990. Grand Forks, N.D., which includes Grand Forks and Polk (Minn.) counties, ranked second from the bottom of all MSAs in population growth, in large part due to a population exodus resulting from the 1997 spring flood. Estimates during the 1990s show that from 1990 to 1996 the population of Grand Forks edged up 0.3 percent, while from 1996 to 2000, the population slid 5.8 percent, finishing at 97,478. Only the Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.V., MSA decreased more in population during the 1990s, at a rate of 7.4 percent.

Across the country, Las Vegas, Nev., was the fastest growing MSA from 1990 to 1999, with an 83.3 percent increase, while Naples, Fla., took second with a 65.3 percent increase. The district's largest MSA, Minneapolis-St. Paul, which includes 11 counties in Minnesota and two in Wisconsin, ranked 84th, with an increase of 16.9 percent during the 1990s, finishing at 2,968,806.

Chart: District Metropolitan Statistical Areas

District metropolitan areas grow faster than rural areas

District states rank below the US average for the percent of population living in metropolitan areas. In 1999, the most recent year for which figures are available, South Dakota and Montana ranked almost last at 48th and 49th, respectively. In Wisconsin and Minnesota the combined percent of the population living in metropolitan areas grew from 68.4 percent in 1990 to 69 percent in 1999, while the combined percentage in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota grew from 35 percent of total in 1990 to 36.6 percent in 1999.

Chart: Percent of Population Living in Metropolitan Areas and State Rank

The district's nonmetropolitan population gained ground during the 1990s, but at a slower rate than urban areas. However, nonmetropolitan areas in Montana and Wisconsin grew faster than their respective metropolitan areas, at between 1 percent and 2 percent. Only in North Dakota did rural population drop—by 6 percent.

Chart: Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Population Percent Change