Brown County sees population drop

BROWN COUNTY–Brown County has seen an average population decrease of 100 each year since the 2010 Census.

The U.S. Census Bureau has released the most recent list of population estimates by county. Populations change three ways: through birth, through death and through migration. These changes are measured by the Census Bureau each year and added to the last official census to produce the annual population updates. According to the data, Brown County’s population has dropped by 699 people since the 2010 Census.

In 2010, the census recorded Brown County’s population just shy of 26,000 with a total of 25,893 people. Current population estimates place the county’s population closer to 25,000 with 25,194 residents as of July 2017. This places Brown County as 41 out of Minnesota’s 87 counties in terms of population. It was previously ranked 40th.

For perspective, during the same time period Blue Earth County saw a population increase of 2,960 and Nicollet County saw an increase of 1,239. Blue Earth is now the 13th most populated county in Minnesota, having moved from 14th. Nicollet County’s ranking stayed the same at 32nd most populated.

Brown County’s population decrease is partially explained by natural changes in population. The birth rate in Brown County between 2010 and 2017 is lower than the death rate with 1,991 births vs. 2,118 deaths. This accounts for a natural decrease of 127 people.

Natural increase is responsible for over half of the population changes seen in Blue Earth and Nicollet. Blue Earth had a 1,972 natural increase and Nicollet had a 1,213 natural increase.

In terms of migration, a net total of 569 people have left Brown County since 2010, but Brown County has seen in growth in international arrivals. Between 2010 and 2017 a net positive of 68 international residents moved to Brown County. The domestic population decreased by 637 people.

Higher international migration is a common trend in South Central Minnesota. In Nicollet County, a net total of 155 domestic residents moved out of the county since 2010, but 189 international residents moved into the county for an overall positive net migration.

Blue Earth County saw a positive net migration both domestically and internationally, but the rate of international migration was significantly higher with 890 foreign-born residents moving to Blue Earth County compared to 118 domestically born residents moving to the county during the same time period.

Despite Brown County’s overall population decrease, the county’s population change appears to be stabilizing. The most dramatic population decreases occurred between 2010 and 2013. Since 2013, the decrease has been minimal, with net losses below 100. In fact, Brown County saw a slight increase in population from 2015 to 2016.

The U.S. government conducts a census every ten years. The next federal census is scheduled for 2020.

Overall, Minnesota’s population is estimated to have increased by over 270,000 people since the 2010 Census.