St. Croix County is growing faster than expected.
The Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Demographic Service Center last month released population estimates showing St. Croix County with an estimated 89,645 people as of Jan. 1.
The report compared the new figures with the 2010 census estimates, which showed St. Croix growing 6.28% — the third highest gainer by percentage among Wisconsin counties. Dane County (10.06%) led the state, with Calumet County (8.26%) finishing second.
Bill Rubin, executive director of the St. Croix County Economic Development Corporation, said that while the new numbers are encouraging, the competition for jobs in the area remains.
"While St. Croix's population estimate is up a nice 6.28% since the 2010 Census, employers large and small are still in search of the same scarce commodity — workers from all skills levels, entry to management and executive,” he said. “St. Croix's economic fortune remains tied to the Twin Cities metro area. As the metro region prospers, so will St. Croix.”
Pierce County’s numbers increased 2.9% over census estimates and Polk County was 0.75% above those projections.
Rubin said the latest data suggests St. Croix County “remains a bright spot for economic development in Wisconsin.”
He said its position along Interstate 94 and its proximity to the Twin Cities are assets.
“Wisconsin and St. Croix continue to possess a pro-business climate, as demonstrated by lower commercial-industrial property tax rates, lower corporate tax rates and lower personal income taxes,” Rubin said.
The report showed New Richmond and Hudson both exceeding the estimate by double-digit figures. New Richmond’s population was estimated at 9,322 — more than 11 percent over census figures — while Hudson added an estimated 1,275 people, or 10.8% above the census numbers.
River Falls, split between Pierce and St. Croix counties, grew by an estimated 835 people, or 5.57%.
According to the state data, the villages of Somerset, Roberts, Wilson and North Hudson all exceeded census estimates. Deer Park, Hammond, Star Prairie and Woodville all undershot the census projections, according to the report.
Among St. Croix County towns, Eau Galle, Hammond, Richmond, Troy and Warren all outpaced census estimates by at least 8.9 percent. The town of Richmond added an estimated 446 more people, or 13.63%, than the census projected, while the town of Troy grew by an estimated 627 people, or 13.33%.
Rubin said the challenge is for local government to keep pace with growth.
“An uptick in population that continues in the single digits can be managed by local elected boards,” he said. “Growth puts pressure on the delivery of public services like safety, education, and infrastructure like roads, wells and sewer treatment."