The Star Tribune ran an opinion piece in yesterday’s paper that highlights an important demographic study commissioned by the Met Council. (read the simplified report or the actual Demographic study – Trends, Preferences, and Opportunities)

The following is the executive summary from the report:

“For the metro area as a whole and the central and non-central counties, there will be important changes from 2010 to 2040:

  • For the Twin Cities Metro area as a whole, senior citizens (65+) will account for 58 percent of the share of the population change between 2010 and 2040. In the central counties of Hennepin and Ramsey, seniors will account for 70 percent of the population change while for all other counties their share will be 47 percent. The aging of existing residents will be a dominant demographic change.

  • The “new majority” demographic, comprising all racial and ethnic minorities, will account for nearly all net growth in the Metro area, all the growth in the central counties, and 77 percent of the growth in the non-central counties.

  • Between 2010 and 2040, for the Metro area as a whole, households with children will account for 23 percent of the total household change while households without children will account for 77 percent. For the central counties the figures are to 21 percent and 79 percent respectively, while for the non-central counties the figures are 24 percent and 76 percent respectively. One-person households will account for 38 percent of the total change for the Metro area, 47 percent for the central counties, and 31 percent for the non-central counties. 

Twin Cities Metropolitan Council Area Trends-Preferences-Opportunities 1

As seen in Figure B:

  • Between 1990 and 2010, households in their peak housing demand years (with residents between 35 and 64) accounted for about 80 percent of the growth in housing demand. But over a comparable 20-year period, from 2010 to 2030, that same group will account for just 9 percent of the growth in housing demand.

  • From 1990 to 2010, downsizing households (with residents 65 and older) made up 20 percent of new housing demand. But over the next 20 years they will account for 85 percent of the demand share. Market research shows this segment prefers smaller homes on smaller lots or attached options.

    The bottom line is that demographic shifts have been and remain influential drivers of the form, location, and nature of the region’s development. Understanding these drivers and their implications for the built environment, and appropriately planning for and shaping the region’s growth in recognition of these
    new drivers, are key to assessing the region’s future needs. Consider:

    • The number of households in the peak housing demand period of their life cycle (householders 35–64) grew by about 220,000 between 1990 and 2010. These are the households with families, peak incomes, and the desire for more space on larger lots.

    • That same peak housing demand group will grow by only 25,000 households between 2010 and 2030, about one-ninth as many as seen in the previous 20 years.

    • The next wave of demand will be households with residents 65 and older. These empty-nest householders are in the downsizing phase of their life cycle. Between 2010 and 2030, their number will grow by 230,000 households.

    • About half of seniors who own homes become renters after they sell. Between 2010 and 2030, there may be tens of thousands more seniors trying to sell their homes than there are buyers for them.

      For the past half-century, housing demand in the Twin Cities was driven by baby boomers’ parents who wanted to raise their children in suburban, single-family, detached homes on larger lots, and then by boomers themselves as they became parents. Planning throughout the Metro area continues to be based on the baby boom ‘time warp.'”

The question for Deep in the Burbs is two-fold: (1) What is God up to in all this? and (2) How might a missional imagination of the social-relational-entangled Trinity impact our spiritual formation within these changing communities?


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