Growth forecasted for Anoka County population

The Metropolitan Council has taken a look into its crystal ball to forecast populations in Twin Cities area counties and cities for the year 2040.

The forecasts released last week are preliminary, and Metropolitan Council staff will work with local officials to get their comments.

The council plans to formally adopt the 2040 forecasts as part of the Thrive MSP plan in spring 2014.

The Metropolitan Council numbers show that Blaine will leapfrog Coon Rapids as the largest city in terms of population in Anoka County by 2040.

In 2040, Blaine’s population is forecast to be 80,300, while Coon Rapids’ is projected at 71,700.

The 2010 U.S. Census placed Coon Rapids at 61,476 and Blaine at 57,186.

Anoka County’s population is projected to grow from the 330,844 in the 2010 U.S. Census to 415,750 in 2040.

The number of households in Anoka County is estimated to increase from 121,227 in the 2010 Census to 184,200 by 2040 with Blaine and Coon Rapids leading the way with 34,020 and 32,600, respectively.

Job growth is also anticipated to go up in the county to 150,960 in 2040; it was calculated to be 106,387 in the 2010 Census.

Coon Rapids is projected to have the highest employment at 35,000 in 2040 with Fridley at 29,200 and Blaine at 27,000 from 2010 numbers of 23,260, 21,333 and 19,668, respectively.

The Metropolitan Council’s population estimates for Anoka County communities besides Blaine and Coon Rapids for 2040, with 2010 U.S. Census figures in parentheses, are:

• Andover 35,800 (30,598).

• Anoka 22,100 (17,142).

• Bethel 790 (466).

• Centerville 4,600 (3,792).

• Circle Pines 5,700 (4,918).

• Columbia Heights 19,496 (24,600).

• Columbus 4,300 (3,914).

• East Bethel 16,600 (11,626).

• Fridley 32,600 (27,208).

• Ham Lake 16,200 (15,296).

• Hilltop 1,360 (744).

• Lexington 2,800 (2,049).

• Lino Lakes 28,000 (20,216).

• Linwood Township 6,500 (5,123).

• Nowthen 5,700 (4,443).

• Oak Grove 10,300 (8,031).

• Ramsey 28,400 (23,668).

• St. Francis 10,900 (7,218).

• Spring Lake Park (Anoka County portion) 6,500 (6,234).

The Metropolitan Council is projecting regional population growth of nearly 900,000 people over the next 30 years.

According to a council news release, the region’s economy will remain robust, but real estate demand and development patterns will differ from previous decades.

Changes in demographics, preferences and travel behavior are slowing growth at the developing edge of the region, with stepped-up growth in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the inner suburbs, the press release states.

The local forecasts reflect market and economic forces, demographic trends and real estate behaviors.

“We have been intentional about basing forecasts on what’s happening in the marketplace,” said Metropolitan Council Chairperson Susan Haigh.

“It is, after all, market forces that ultimately shape growth.

“The council’s job is to respond by ensuring infrastructure investment that best supports population needs and choices, continued job creation and a vibrant economy.”

The council has forecast a population of 3.74 million people in the region by 2040, with growth of 9-10 percent per decade.

“These are preliminary forecasts based on the best, most current information we have about how residents and businesses choose neighborhoods and locations,” said Libby Starling, the council’s manager of regional policy and research.

“A next step is getting input from local officials on how preliminary forecasts correspond to local planning and development expectations.”

The new release lists market and demographic forces at work:

• Aging: The number of residents over age 65 will grow by 150 percent by 2040, leading to more households without children. Their demand for smaller homes in convenient, accessible locations will substantially affect future home building.

• Changes in real estate market: The post-2007 market crash changed perceptions about home buying and selling as an investment strategy. Price appreciation and expectations on the developing edge have slowed dramatically. Also, younger millennials show a preference for walkable, connected, and more centrally located neighborhoods served by transit.

• Preference for accessibility: Proximity to jobs and other destinations is more desirable as households increasingly anticipate traffic congestion and volatile gas prices.

The council’s forecast anticipates 41 percent growth in the region’s number of households to 2040, 37 percent growth in employment and 31 percent increase in population.

Council officials say natural growth — births outpacing deaths — will account for the majority of the region’s population growth to 2040, according to the news release.

The region also gains population as a result of people moving here from other parts of the nation and world, attracted by the region’s relative prosperity and economic competitiveness, the news release states.

“The metro area’s success is no accident,” Haigh said. “We are privileged to live in a region with an ongoing commitment to planning, calculated and wise investment, and civic engagement.

“We also benefit from collaboration among many, many partners, public and private, that ensures the continued vitality, job creation and prosperity that we enjoy here in the Twin Cities metro area.”

Local government officials will have the opportunity to comment on the preliminary forecasts this fall. With the adoption of revised forecasts next year, communities can integrate forecasts into their local comprehensive plans.

Peter Bodley is at
[email protected]