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Census: Austin population stable

By Mike Klein

mklein@postbulletin.com

Austin’s population remained stable in the latest estimate from the U.S. Census, released today.

The official estimate was 23,331 for July 1, 2006, down 30 from one year earlier and down 220 from six years earlier.

Several other Mower County cities also were relatively unchanged in the year preceding July 1, 2006. Brownsdale was up 1 to 710, Taopi was unchanged at 98, Lyle was unchanged at 573, Mapleview was unchanged at 178, Ostrander was down 2 to 244, and Grand Meadow was down 3 to 939.

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Meanwhile, Rochester remained one of the fastest growing cities in Minnesota in 2006 as it continued its charge toward 100,000 people, according to the statistics released today.

The city added 1,867 people, a 2 percent growth rate, from July 1, 2005 to July 1, 2006. Only two cities in Minnesota — Hugo and Woodbury — added more people.

The official estimate was 96,975, but the state demographer and Rochester planning officials believe that’s too low because it’s based on administrative records that assume, for instance, that everyone pays his taxes correctly, said Phil Wheeler, planning director of the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department.

Wheeler said the city’s population today is closer to 98,500. Local officials expect it to hit 100,000 early next year.

Other fast-growing southeastern Minnesota cities from 2005 to 2006 included Dover, up 5.3 percent; Kasson, up 4 percent; and Cannon Falls, up 3.35 percent.

The fastest-growing cities in southeastern Minnesota since 2000 are those within commuting distance of Rochester, like Byron, up 965, or 27.2 percent, since 2000; and Pine Island, up 797, or 32.5 percent. Those cities’ growth slowed somewhat in the year preceding July 1, 2006, as Pine Island gained 30 residents to reach 3,251 and Byron gained 4 residents to reach 4,511.

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