Chart of the Day: Twin Cities Household Size and Age Forecasts

Here’s a chart from the Met Council’s latest regional growth forecast, which is full of charts and highly recommended for anyone curious about the housing and demographic trends in the Twin Cities’ region. This one caught my eye:

Here’s what the 7-page document has to say about the age and demographic growth patterns:

As the Twin Cities region’s age mix changes, its mix of households changes with it. Households headed by older adults will more than double in number by 2030 and will account for almost a third of all households by 2040 (Figure 7). The housing needs and preferences of older adults will become an important driver of the region’s housing market.

The region’s older adults are mostly long-time residents, and many currently live in single-family detached housing. In 2010, just under half (47%) of older adult householders lived alone. While some older adults will ‘age in place,’ a growing number will opt for townhomes, apartments, and age-specific housing communities. This housing choice trend is more pronounced as people age into their 70s and 80s. As older adults leave their single-family homes, younger families may be ready for them, reducing the demand for new construction of single-family homes.

Over the next 30 years the household growth rate headed by someone under age 65 is only 13%. Much of the new household formation in the region will amount to a one-for-one replacement of Baby Boomer households who are steadily aging out of the family-age or working-age groups. Thus, over the next three decades, this market segment adds only 121,000 households.

When the discussion of density arises (e.g. single-family homes versus other types of housing), I often think about the shift in household-size patterns. Compared to generations past, we have more single and older adult (i.e. one person) households. Even though the average size of a home has grown tremendously over the decades, household size has shrunk. This is going to continue in the future, and I feel that we should plan our cities accordingly.

Check out the whole report, which has a lot to say about race, age, migration and other demographic trends.

2 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Twin Cities Household Size and Age Forecasts

  1. Bob Spaulding

    In 1970, Saint Paul had slightly more people than today – we had 309,886 in 1970 versus 304,442 in 2016.

    Even though Saint Paul has slightly less people than in 1970, Saint Paul has many more households than in 1970, because household size has dropped so much. The number of households has gone from 104,126 in 1970 to 116,656 in 2016.

    There’s a simple but under-appreciated conclusion that follows. We’re going to need to provide for higher density of households just to be able accommodate the number of people that called Saint Paul home between 1950 and 1970.

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