U.S. Census Bureau and the United States Office of Management and Budget determined the Twin Cities metro has gained three additional counties, expanding the area to 16 counties total.
Previously, the metro's core counties included: Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright counties in Minnesota, and Pierce and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin.
The Mankato Free Press reports Le Sueur and Sibley counties now round out the southwest edge of the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area. Mille Lacs County has also been added as the metro's northernmost county.
To be considered part of the metro, a county has to have at least 25 percent of its workforce commuting to one of the core counties.
“Twenty years ago, it used to be all farms there, now it is becoming commercial and residential,” said Ed Tschida, Le Sueur economic development director, tells the Le Center Leader. “The metro is a lot closer than it used to be.”
Tschida says the city of New Prague, located in both Scott and Le Sueur counties, may be skewing the numbers. “People just go across Main street and they are in Scott County.”
The largest benefit of the designation is that it opens up the door for federal funding opportunities.