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Trinity Atterson, bottom, bikes with her brother, Grant, 12, around a loop on the black trail called “The Bowl.” Black trails are the hardest in difficulty, followed by blue and green as the easiest.


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Carver and Scott counties are fastest-growing in Minnesota, census estimates say

Every year, the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program uses data gathered from the decennial census to create population estimates at the national, state, county and city levels.

A number of demographic factors, including birth rates, death rates and migration rates contribute to county population estimates, which are then apportioned to individual communities.

This year, among Minnesota’s 87 counties, Carver and Scott counties showed the highest rates of population growth, said State Demographic Analyst Jim Hibbs. This ranks Carver as the 11th largest county in the state, and Scott the ninth.

While the census only takes place every 10 years, the Metropolitan Council relies on the latest local information regarding housing supply, vacancy rates and group quarters population to generate more in-depth region-specific data. The Met Council also calculates the official population estimates for the seven-county Twin Cities region.

The Met Council’s 2019 growth estimates for the southwest metro reflect the same general trends found by the U.S. Census Bureau. Carver and Scott counties have gained a combined 34,667 residents since 2010, said Communications Director Bonnie Kollodge — a growth rate of about 16%.

Within the two counties, eight cities (Carver, Chanhassen, Chaska, Jordan, Prior Lake, Savage, Shakopee and Victoria) captured 77% of the region’s growth, Kollodge said, adding almost 27,000 residents since 2010. These same cities captured about 9% of the region’s total 2010-2019 growth.

Development of previously unused land, or greenfield development, is a key factor in the region’s population expansion, Kollodge said. Both counties also have strong agricultural protection policies which promote growth within their cities.

“Except for Shakopee, all of these cities are adding new housing more quickly than the region — especially Carver and Victoria,” said Kollodge. “About 25% of Carver’s housing stock, and 29% of Victoria’s housing stock, has been built since 2010.”

“Chaska and Jordan have not built as much new housing as most of the other cities, but vacancy rates have fallen, and many units that were vacant in 2010 are now occupied,” Kollodge said.