by Mike Knaak
Newly released data from the 2020 census shows that while some Central Minnesota cities such as Waite Park and St. Cloud recorded dramatic increases in their nonwhite populations, Sartell still remains overwhelmingly white.
For example, white residents in St. Cloud dropped from 85 percent to 68 percent of the total population in the last 10 years and Waite Park dropped from 84 percent white to 60 percent white. Meanwhile Sartell’s population was 89 percent white in 2020 compared with 95 percent in 2010.
Statewide, Minnesota is becoming more diverse with the number of white residents dropping for the first time. Minnesota’s population increased by more than 400,000 people in the last 10 years to 5,706,494, an increase of 7.6 percent, with residents who identified as Black, Asian, Hispanic or two or more races driving the growth.
Sartell’s population grew by 22 percent during the last decade, according to data from the 2020 census. Sartell has 19,351 people as of April 1, 2020, up from 15,876 in 2010.
Stearns County’s population increased by 5.1 percent to 158,292. Benton County counted 41,379 people in 2020, up 7.6 percent.
Percent white population in area cities
City 2010 2020
Sartell 95.5 89.2
Sauk Rapids 94.9 88.0
St. Joseph 93.7 86.8
St. Cloud 84.6 68.8
Waite Park 83.6 59.6
Census data will be used to redraw local, state and national political boundaries, including the state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives districts.
The data was collected during the spring and summer of 2020 during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic and officials worried those conditions would affect participation and accuracy of the results. Minnesota led the nation with a self-response rate, meaning no census taker had to visit the residence, of 75.1 percent. In Sartell, 83.3 percent of people self-reported by mail or online.
Minnesota’s population grew just enough to keep all eight of its congressional districts. Had the census counted 89 more New Yorkers, or just 26 fewer Minnesotans, Minnesota would have lost a seat to New York. Congressional district boundaries will need to be redrawn to balance districts that added people with those with fewer people. The Seventh District added more than 20,600 people since 2010, which means it will need to shrink geographically.
The same balancing will need to take place in the state House and Senate. District 13B, represented by Tim O’Driscoll, added population while surrounding areas, including the rest of Senate District 13, lost people. District 13B’s population stands at 44,067 while District 13A has 39,749 people.