In Minnesota, and around the USA, a change took place recently that you may not have noticed. In fact, a LOT of people didn't notice it, even in Minnesota Cities where the change was made.

Minnesota Urban Areas Reclassified As Rural Areas in 2023

Photo of Dodge Center city limits sign with dodge center water tower in background
Dodge Center, MN - (Rabe for TSM-R)

The US Census Bureau took a look at the 2020 Census data, and said, "You know, it's not horse and buggy time anymore, maybe it's time to change what population counts as urban or rural."

At the time, 2,500 was the number where rural stopped and urban started. So they suggested a population of 10,000 should be the number. But, that was too high said many, so after some back and forth with "the people", it was decided 5,000 was a better number.

About 1,000 reclassifications took place nationwide, 42 here in Minnesota. Is this a big deal? Well, a recent Star Tribune story highlighted an interesting fact. Many of the towns they contacted to ask how they felt about being reclassified said they didn't even know it happened.

Maybe that's because it's a Federal change, not a local change, so it doesn't have much to do with the towns' funding. A state-level change might make a much bigger difference.

So, What Are Minnesota's 42?

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This information is from the US Census Bureau, specifically THIS spreadsheet (right click and save as for PDF), "List of 2010 Census Urban Areas that are Classified as Rural in 2020"

  • Albany, MN
  • Annandale, MN
  • Becker, MN
  • Benson, MN
  • Blue Earth, MN
  • Caledonia, MN
  • Cannon Falls, MN
  • Chatfield, MN
  • Cokato, MN
  • Crosby, MN
  • Dodge Center, MN
  • Elko New Market, MN
  • Ely, MN
  • Granite Falls, MN
  • Jackson, MN
  • Lake Crystal, MN
  • Le Sueur, MN
  • Long Prairie, MN
  • Lonsdale, MN
  • Melrose, MN
  • Milaca, MN
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  • Montgomery, MN
  • Moose Lake, MN
  • Mora, MN
  • Norwood Young America, MN
  • Park Rapids, MN
  • Perham, MN
  • Pine City, MN
  • Pine Island, MN
  • Pipestone, MN
  • Plainview, MN
  • Rockford, MN
  • Roseau, MN
  • Rush City, MN
  • St. Charles, MN
  • St. James, MN
  • Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Staples, MN
  • Two Harbors, MN
  • Watertown, MN
  • Windom, MN
  • Zumbrota, MN

If you have questions, the US Census Bureau's Rural/Urban FAQ might help.

This list is from last year, but still...lots of cool small towns.

Top 10 Small Towns in the United States That You Actually Want To Live In has just announced its favorite picks for the top small towns in the United States. They might be small but according to them, these are not only affordable but places you'd actually want to live.

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know:

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