Compared to other developed countries (Western Europe, Japan), the United States has a relatively young and still growing population. According to the Population Reference Bureau, in 2008 the U.S. population was growing at 0.6% per year and 20% of our population was under the age of 20. In contrast Western Europe (0.1%) and Japan (0.0%) were growing much more slowly or not at all, and had relatively few young people (16% of Western Europe’s population was under 20 years of age and only 13% in Japan). Much of the population growth in the U.S. has been in our ethnic communities, particularly among Hispanic groups. According to the 2010-2010 American Community Survey, about 74% of the total population in the U.S. is white. Wisconsin (87%) and Minnesota (86%) have considerably less ethnic diversity than average for the United States.
The Minnesota and Wisconsin counties in the St. Croix Valley have even less ethnic diversity than the states in which they are located. With the exception of Polk County, this area also tends to have larger families and a somewhat younger population than the average for Wisconsin and Minnesota.