Met Council Forecasts Economic Growth for Twin Cities

A new report from the Metropolitan Council predicts that the Twin Cities population will increase by 31 percent during the next three decades, while the area's "gross metro product" is expected to reach $400 billion.

During the next three decades, the local economy will continue to grow, and as the Twin Cities population increases, so will racial diversity.

That's according to data released Wednesday by the Metropolitan Council, which predicted changes in the Twin Cities' population, demographics, and economic development between 2010 and 2040.

The report, which pertains to the seven-county metro area, is designed to assist the council and local government entities as they work to meet infrastructure, services, and housing needs.

The report predicts that the Twin Cities population will reach 3,743,000 in 2040, up 31 percent from 2010. But the projected growth rate of 9 percent to 10 percent per decade is significantly lower than the historic growth rates of 15 percent per decade in the 1980s and 1990s, according to the Met Council.

Employment, meanwhile, is expected to grow 37 percent between 2010 and 2040, and the number of local households is expected to increase by 41 percent.

The region's “gross metro product”-the market value of all goods and services produced by all industry sectors in the area-is expected to rise to $400 billion in 2040. That would represent 1.5 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, a significant portion considering the Twin Cities is home to less than 1 percent of the national population.

“The Twin Cities region boasts more than its proportional share of the national economy,” Met Council Chairwoman Susan Haigh said in a statement. “Substantial economic opportunity exists here. Our forecast finds that migration for economic reasons will be a strong factor in our expected population growth.”

The council expects that roughly one-third of the population growth will be driven by migration, as 463,000 immigrants are expected to enter the Twin Cities between 2010 and 2040. By 2040, people of color will comprise 43 percent of the Twin Cities population-almost double the 24 percent reported in 2010, the Met Council said.

Meanwhile, a growing portion of the local population increase will come from natural growth, as births outpace deaths. Birth rates are expected to be higher among families of color than white families, another factor that will contribute to increased racial diversity.

The number of seniors-people age 65 and older-is expected to double during the 30-year period, from 307,000 in 2010 to 770,000 in 2040.

The aging population is expected to play a major role in increasing the number of households in the Twin Cities, as seniors tend to live alone or with a spouse, according to the report.

“The diversity and availability of our housing stock is an important component in the strength of our regional economy,” Haigh said. “As our population shifts between now and 2040, communities and the council must plan and be creative to ensure housing is affordable and meets the needs of an aging population.”

The Met Council will release a follow-up report next year that focuses on expected growth within specific cities and towns, and the report released Wednesday will be updated in 2014. To access additional statistics from the 2010 Census regarding the Twin Cities' population and households, click here.