By John Holler, Correspondent:
Over the last 30 years, Wright County has transformed from a small county into one that is the 10th largest and will likely rank higher in the next several years. In each of the last two censuses, the population growth in the county resulted in redistricting. To keep commissioner districts close to the same size, all five seats on the board had to come up for election at the same time.
It almost happened after the 1990 census; it did happen after the 2000 and 2010 censuses. At the June 12 meeting of the Wright County Board, the commissioners got some good news: it’s not going to be necessary following the 2020 census.
Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala presented the board with the 2017 State Demographer’s population estimates – figures that serve as the official population numbers the state and federal government use for funding purposes in between censuses.
“The importance of the demographer’s numbers is that, even though they’re estimates, on July 15, they’re the official numbers used by the state Department of Revenue,” Hiivala said. “All the cities and townships have been provided with the estimates to their own populations and they have been given the opportunity to challenge their numbers.”
Overall, as it pertained to the population growth of the county, the 2017 population figure is 134,365 – an increase of 1,767 from 2016 and 450 more than the annual average increase from 2011-16 – a sign of continued and increasing growth.
Much of the growth took place in the City of Otsego, which officially overtook Buffalo as the second largest city in the county at 16,605 people – a figure Commissioner Mark Daleiden said is probably too low, despite a projected increase of 586 people. That figure represents one-third of the county’s entire growth. Buffalo had always been Wright County’s biggest town, but the demographer numbers now say otherwise.
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