Census shows Minnesota's population agingby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio,
Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — New census data released Thursday show Minnesota's population of seniors is rapidly growing.
The trend is in line with what's happening across the country, according to state demographer Tom Gillaspy. He adds the pattern will eventually have dramatic consequences for Minnesota companies.
Minnesota will move from a ratio of five workers for every retiree to four workers per retiree by the end of the decade, Gillaspy says. That means people in the workforce will have to work much harder to keep Minnesota's economy growing.
"To achieve an average of 2.8 percent growth in the economy this decade, which is just OK, we're going to need to have productivity increases per worker greater than anything that we've seen since 1960," he said.
Gillaspy says the number of Minnesotans retiring will rise sharply over the next decade, while at the same time, the number of high school graduates will likely continue to decline.
Gillaspy says that means it will become increasingly difficult for businesses to find young workers educated in the newest technologies.
Other census data released Thursday show a 35 percent increase from the last census in the Twin Cities population of people 85 and older.
"The population is living longer, and people who are older are staying in Minnesota perhaps longer than they might have previously," said Metropolitan Council research manager Libby Starling.
The new Twin Cities Census information fits with national patterns which show immigrants and young people moving to the South and West, and an increasing number of older Americans in the Midwest.
The census information also revealed an increase in the number of Twin Cities residents living alone.
Starling says 28.5 percent of Twin Cities households are people living alone, a 1 percent increase from a decade ago. They tend to be closer to the center of the metro area, while more families and other multiple-person households are located in the suburban and ex-urban communities.
Data from the 2010 Census also show a slight decline in home ownership in the Twin Cities metro area, which traditionally has one of the highest homeownership rates in the country.
- All Things Considered, 05/12/2011, 4:49 p.m.
Dan Olson reports and produces Minnesota Sounds and Voices for MPR News.