Mankato nears 'metro' status

MANKATO, Minn. -- This southern Minnesota city and its suburbs could soon qualify -- by the statistical standards of the U.S. Census Bureau -- as a bona fide metropolitan area.

The state and federal government aren't likely to verify the area's status until 2012, but when that happens, the area will be eligible for more federal funding.

Mankato, along with surrounding cities North Mankato, Skyline and Eagle Lake, have a combined population of 49,384, according to the bureau's 2005 estimates. The bureau considers 50,000 to be the benchmark for a "metropolitan statistical area."

With a growth rate between one percent and two percent a year, Mankato would become a metropolitan area by the 2010 census.

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