Mankato bucks trend of rural population decline

MANKATO — In 29 of 30 non-metro counties in southern Minnesota, it’s the same story — more Americans are moving out than moving in.

Only Blue Earth County has seen population growth via domestic migration in the first eight years of this decade, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau this month. It was part of a trifecta for Mankato — more births than deaths, an increase in foreign-born residents and more Americans making Mankato their home than former Mankatoans moving elsewhere — that pushed the county’s population up by 3,414 to 67,427.

Blue Earth County has now moved ahead of Rice County as the 13th most populated among Minnesota’s 87 counties.

“I think a lot of community leaders have been really thoughtful about how we attract and retain people,” said Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of the Region Nine Development Commission.

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