The U.S. Census Bureau says Minnesota's two largest cities are showing population growth for the first time in nearly a decade.
The growth includes Minneapolis, St. Paul and some of the immediately surrounding suburbs.
Between 2006 and 2007, Minneapolis saw a population increase of 0.6 percent to 377,392 residents. St. Paul saw a 0.4 percent increase to 277,251 residents.
State demographer Tom Gillaspy says the census figures, which reflect July 2007 estimates, may signal the end of a decades-long move toward the suburbs.
"One year doesn't a trend make. So we need to wait a little bit and see how this things starts playing out," cautioned Gillaspy, "but it could very well be the reversal of a trend that has been going on for really the whole post-World War II period, which has been moving out of the central cities and into suburban areas."
Gillaspy says the trend may be partly the result of the area's aging population. He adds it may continue for the next few decades, as empty nesters who once flocked to the suburbs to raise families move to more convenient places to live in urban areas.
"The attraction of living far out and living in sort of the rural areas surrounding the metropolitan areas becomes potentially a little bit less," Gillaspy said. "The idea of something a little more accessible, a little closer in, a lot less maintenance and upkeep -- that may become more attractive in the future."
In addition to Minneapolis and St. Paul, the older suburbs of Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Bloomington and Edina are also showing growth.