~Written by James Warden
St. Louis Park has some big changes in store if Metropolitan Council forecasters are to be believed.
The community sat at a respectable 45,250 people in 2010, but that’s expected to swell to 68,200 by 2040 as new types of homebuyers seek walkable neighborhoods with good access to transit, according to Met Council preliminary forecasts released this week. Its 51 percent growth is faster than any community with more than 20,000 people.
St. Louis Park’s growth may be bigger than most, but in many ways, it represents a trend the Twin Cities will see over the next few decades. Forecasters expect such “developed suburbs” to lead the region’s growth through 2040—a change from the previous rush to undeveloped communities.
About 39 percent of new households are expected to come from developed suburbs like St. Louis Park, compared to 36 percent for developing suburbs and 16 percent for the central cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Only 9 percent of growth is expected to come from rural areas.
The Met Council releases long-range, 30-year forecasts like these at least once a decade in accordance with state law. It published the regional forecast in April 2012 and released the preliminary local forecasts Wednesday.
Officials expect the seven-county metro area to add nearly 900,000 people between 2010 and 2040—growing from 2.9 million people to 3.7 million people. The growth of 9 to 10 percent per decade is well below the highs of 15 percent seen in the 1980s and 1990s.
Natural population growth—or births outpacing deaths—accounts for the vast majority of the growth. Less than a third of the increase will come from people moving into the area.
(Any revisions to the preliminary forecasts will take place in early 2014. The council will adopt final regional and local forecasts with Thrive MSP 2040, its long-range planning effort, in the spring.)
Where do the numbers come from?
The forecast is based on analysis of the Twin Cities’ standing in the larger, national economy, such as the business conditions and competitive advantages that drive regional economic and employment levels. Those levels, in turn, determine population growth through migration.
After the council estimates regional population, it forecasts local population to determine how those additional people will be distributed. Forecasters assume that housing demand and supply and transportation availability are the primary drivers—although those factors are influenced by regional land use policies and local plans.
Central to the patterns that emerged is a shift in the types of housing that people want. There are more seniors and more small households on the horizon, plus millennials entering the housing market for the first time.
That all adds up to a preference for central locations with amenities, accessibility and transit-connected neighborhoods, according to the Met Council. Buyers will see homes less as an investment than as a place to live.
Growth is expected in the communities able to cater to those demands. Between 2010 and 2040, forecasters expect Minneapolis, St. Paul and the developed suburbs to make up 55 percent of household growth. By contrast, they should end up accounting for just 30 percent of growth between 2000 and 2030.
Meanwhile, the developing suburbs—which tend to have less connectivity and density—should expect to see their demand wane. They should plummet from 60 percent of the growth in the 2000-2030 period to 36 percent for 2010-2040.
How are the communities around you expected to fare in the decades ahead? Use the search box above to see details on population, household and job growth.