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Minnesota's Population Rank Over the Last 100 Years

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The Gopher State has ranked as high as #17 and as low as #21 for population in the U.S. since the 1910 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau's newly-released population data finds Minnesota remaining the 21st most populous state in the nation - the same ranking it received after the 2000 Census.

While Minnesota closed its deficit behind #20 Wisconsin by 61,135 residents between 2000 (-444,196) and 2010 (-383,061), the Gopher State looks like it will be passed in 2020 by Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain State is currently ranked #22 in the nation with a population of 5,029,196 and is now -274,729 residents behind Minnesota - much closer than its -618,218 population deficit 10 years ago.

Over the past 100 years, Minnesota's relative population rank has remained fairly stable, ranking as high as #17 in the nation (after the 1920 Census) to its current low mark of #21 (also achieved in 1980 and 2000).

During this 100-year span, Minnesota passed Iowa in population in 1930 and Kentucky in 1950.

Minnesota emerged from the 1910 Census ahead of Louisiana and remained so until the 1980 Census when the Pelican State climbed ahead. Minnesota then passed Louisiana for good in 1990.

Minnesota's population was less than Tennessee's in 1910, passed the Volunteer State in 1920, and then fell behind for good in 1930.

But the state with which Minnesota has done the most jostling for position is Alabama.

Minnesota was ranked behind the Yellowhammer State after the 1910 Census, only to pass it up in 1920.

Alabama then returned the favor in 1930 and it would take another 30 years before the Gopher State climbed ahead of Alabama for keeps in 1960.

Minnesota has also been eclipsed in population over the last 100 years by five other states: Virginia (in 1950), Florida (in 1960), Maryland (in 1970), Washington (in 1980), and Arizona (in 2000).

Colorado appears to be the only state that will pass Minnesota over the next ten years, and it is unlikely Minnesota will catch any other state at that time.

Minnesota's rank for its number of U.S. House seats has also remained fairly stable during the past 100 years, from a high of tied for 15th in the nation with the 1930 Census to a low of tied for 19th after the 1990 Census.

Minnesota's eight U.S. House seats is currently tied for 18th most in the nation.

Minnesota Population and U.S. House Seat Rank by Census Period

Census
Pop. Rank
Passed
Passed by
Seats rank
1910
19
16 (t)
1920
17
AL, TN
16 (t)*
1930
18
IA
AL, TN
15 (t)
1940
18
16 (t)
1950
18
KY
VA
16 (t)
1960
18
AL
FL
17 (t)
1970
19
MD
17 (t)
1980
21
LA, WA
18 (t)
1990
20
LA
19 (t)
2000
21
AZ
18 (t)
2010
21
18 (t)
*No change was made after the 14th Census (1920), as Congress could not agree on a method for apportionment. Table compiled by Smart Politics with data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Previous post: South Dakota Edges Minnesota for Largest Population Growth Rate in Midwest
Next post: Iowa's Population Rank Over the Last 100 Years

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Remains of the Data

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Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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