MN Demographer Gillaspy Retires After 32 Years on Job

Longtime State Demographer Tom Gillaspy will be succeeded by Susan Brower, who served as research associate for the Wilder Foundation before joining the state demographer's staff last summer.

After more than three decades of serving as Minnesota's top demographic analyst, Tom Gillaspy will retire on Tuesday.

The Minnesota State Demographic Center, part of the Department of Administration, provides annual population estimates and long-term projections each decade, analyzing and providing data from a variety of sources, including the federal government. Gillaspy, who has served as Minnesota's state demographer since 1979, has been responsible for providing demographic data and population analysis to the state. In his role, Gillaspy also averaged about 150 presentations annually to local governments, businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and other entities.

Spencer Cronk, Minnesota's commissioner of administration, said in a statement that Gillaspy's insights have helped the state understand its demographics and how they translate into sound public policy. “His demographic research has shed light on state issues as diverse as health care for an aging population, rural population change, a changing state work force, and education trends,” Cronk said.

Gillaspy will be succeeded by Susan Brower, who joined the state demographer's staff in August as senior research analyst, according to Curt Yoakum, legislative and communications director for the Department of Administration.

Prior to that role, Brower served as research associate at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, a nonprofit that provides research and community development services to address the needs of the most vulnerable residents in greater St. Paul.

At the Wilder Foundation, Brower contributed to Minnesota Compass, a project that tracks and analyzes trends in topic areas like the state's education, economy, work force, health, and housing.

Following his retirement, Gillaspy plans to continue giving speeches, consulting, and teaching at the University of Minnesota.

“It's been quite an interesting and fun time,” Gillaspy said in a statement. “We've seen so many demographic changes, and all these changes have affected programs and budgets and have had a big impact on the state. There have been ups and downs, and lots of challenges, but it's always been interesting.”