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Growing, Diversifying, Aging - New Population Stats

1/29/2016 2:23:55 PM

Tim O'Neill

Over the last two months, the Local Look blog has revealed a rapidly-growing and diversifying population within the seven-county Twin Cities Metro Area. To close out this trilogy of posts on American Community Survey (ACS) data, this month we will look at the region’s age trends.

The seven-county Metro Area had a total population of 2,920,637 people, according to the ACS’s 2014 5-Year estimates. An estimated one-in-five residents were under the age of 14 in 2014, with another 13.0 percent between the ages of 15 and 24. As such, one-third of the Metro’s population is young, under the age of 24. This population remained relatively stable between 2009 and 2014, declining by one percentage point (Figure 1).

Metro population distribution by age, 2009 - 2014

The bulk of the Metro’s population of 1.26 million people is between ages 25 and 54. This segment is considered the “prime-working” age group, as they typically have the highest labor force participation rates. In 2014, those 25- to 54-year-olds made up 43.2 percent of the region’s total population. This was down 2.2 percentage points from 2009. This drop was largely due to a decline in the number of people between the ages of 35 and 44, as they lost an estimated 32,400 people between 2009 and 2014, a 7.7 percent drop.

With the 45- to 54-year age group largely holding steady between 2009 and 2014, the Metro’s largest-expanding age group included those between the ages of 55 and 64. Between 2009 and 2014, this population grew over five times as fast as the total population, adding nearly 70,000 people, due to the large baby boom generation.  As of 2016, those within this generation are between the ages of 52 and 70 years old. 

Considering the age distribution of the baby boom generation, it will be no surprise to see the 65 and older age cohort continue to show large, rapid growth through the next three decades. Just between 2009 and 2014, this group added nearly 50,000 people, growing by 17.5 percent (Table 1).

Metro population trends, 2009 - 2014 

Overall, the seven-county Metro Area is aging at a faster clip than the state of Minnesota and the United States. For example, where the Metro’s 65 years and older population grew by 17.5 percent between 2009 and 2014, the same group grew by 13.6 percent at both the state and national levels.  At the same time, however, the Metro does have a younger population. While the Metro makes up approximately 54 percent of the state’s total population, it only makes up 46 percent of the state’s 65 years and older population. Also, in terms of median age, only Washington County’s 38.7 years was older than the state’s 37.6 years (Table 2).

Metro median age statistics, 2009 - 2014

For a more in-depth analysis of the Metro’s population trends, check out the Twin Cities Regional Spotlight in Employment Review.

For More Information

Contact Tim O'Neill at 651-259-7401.

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