ST. PAUL, MINN. (WCCO) — The House committee tasked with overseeing redistricting in Minnesota began reviewing new U.S. Census Bureau data on Monday — key demographical information that will be the basis for redrawing political maps for the state’s legislative and congressional districts.
The Census data show Minnesota grew by 400,000 people over the last decade. Because of the state’s high turnout rate for census response, Minnesota narrowly held on to its eighth congressional seat.
But what those districts’ boundaries look like is poised to change, because the state’s population increased. Minnesota, like all states, needs each district to have equal population.
In the last decade, the Twin Cities metro area grew the fastest of anywhere in the state: 78% of the overall growth was concentrated to the seven-county metro area. Carver County increased by 17.4%, the highest of all counties.
Other smaller metros like Rochester, St. Cloud and Mankato also expanded their population size. The largest losses were in Greater Minnesota.
“The Twin Cities held onto the lion’s share of the growth,” state demographer Susan Brower told WCCO ahead of the redistricting meeting in the Minnesota House.READ MORE: ‘Census Nerds! We Did It!’: Minnesota Exults At Census Win At New York’s Expense
Minnesota is still overwhelmingly white, but became more ethnically and racially diverse over the last decade, with the Black, Indigenous and People of Color population increasing from 17% to nearly 24% of the overall population.
The state’s third and fifth U.S. Congressional districts, which include Minneapolis and the western Minneapolis suburbs respectively, increased the most over the last decade. This means they are likely to shrink in geographic area to meet the equal representation requirements. The seventh district, which covers most of the state’s western border, saw the slowest growth.
A delay in the release of data means the legislature will have to work quickly, but the courts intervened in redistricting in Minnesota for the last several decades.
There are already lawsuits filed in anticipation that lawmakers at the Minnesota Capitol can’t agree on new maps. State legislative districts will also be redrawn.
State. Rep. Mary Murphy, chair of the House Redistricting Committee, told members she hopes to have at least a preliminary map ready by mid-December.