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Growth has slowed in Dakota County

The 2010 Community Indicators Report shows that while the county growth continues to be slow, Dakota County remains the state's third-most populated county. There are more than 390,000 people living in Dakota County.

Representatives of the Dakota County Office of Planning and Analysis, Heidi Weisch and Debra Miller, presented highlights of this year's reports at Tuesday's Dakota County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Since 1993, the office of planning and analysis has worked with its partners to produce regular reports that are intended to provide Dakota County officials with timely, accurate and objective information to make better policy decisions.

Highlights of this year's report include:

Population growth has slowed, but the county remains the third in population numbers in Minnesota with an estimated 396,500 residents in 2009, according to the United States Census Bureau. Household comparison has changed as more people live alone and married couples without children have surpassed married couples with children as the most common household type in the county.

In the housing area, foreclosures decreased slightly from 2008 to 2009, but the pending notices increased by 25 percent in the same time period.

Unemployment has more than doubles in the last five years in the county, from 3.6 percent in 2005 to 7.3 percent in 2009.The median income, adjusted for inflation, has declined by 4.6 percent between 2006 and 2008.

In the education area, the percent of students who met or exceeded state standards for reading fell slightly while the percentage of math scores increased since 2006.

Two independent sources show that fewer residents are covered by health insurance. The number of county residents covered by group insurance (employer-based) decreased from 81.6 percent in 2001 to 61.4 percent in 2009.

The number of adults and juveniles charged with felonies has decreased three years in a row through 2008. Drug-related offenses have declined, but remain the largest category of cases (about 20 percent) charged by the county attorney's office.

The amount of waste managed continues to increase and landfill capacity continues to decline, but the percent of waste recycled has surpassed the percent placed in landfills since 2007.

Vehicle miles traveled on the roads in the county have increased an estimated 1.7 percent annually since 2000, outpacing population growth in the same time period. Since 2000, transit use has increased 14.8 percent, but ridership declined slightly from 2008 to 2009.