Chart of the Day: Minneapolis 4-year Population Growth, Young and Educated

For the first chart of 2018, I have something from the erstwhile City Observatory website, and Joe Cortright’s work there outlining demographic and housing trends. This latest is about urban growth within the educated 25-34 demographic.

Here’s the chart, with Minneapolis highlighted:

[Click here for the full dataset.]

Cortright argues that this national trend is especially meaningful given the burdens facing millennials:

Cities are recording this growth in young adults in spite of serious headwinds. Cities, as we’ve frequently noted, haven’t made it easy to build additional housing, especially in the dense urban neighborhoods that are in highest demand. And young, well-educated workers are moving to cities in spite of rising rents. If housing supply were more elastic in cities, and rents were more affordable, its likely that even more young adults would live in cities.


To me, that seems like a big change over a four-year span. However, by contrast (just to pick three usual comp cities), Pittsburgh is at 18.7%, Seattle is at 30.8%, and Denver is at 19.7%. That suggests that either Minneapolis is demographically different or that it’s lagging behind.

13 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Minneapolis 4-year Population Growth, Young and Educated

  1. Justin D

    I wonder what the metro stats would look like. Seattle proper has about 60% more square miles, and Denver proper is about 3 times as big as Minneapolis. It seems like here in the Twin Cities, places like St. Louis Park and Richfield are popular for the younger set, especially in the home-buying stage, and perhaps those cities saw greater increases in that age group during that time. Denver and Seattle are probably adding more young people than we are, but the difference might not be as stark if you look at the metro areas rather than the cities proper.

    Pittsburgh proper is the same size as Minneapolis, it also has a smaller population than Minneapolis, and they actually added fewer 25-43 year-olds during that time than we did, it was just a larger increase proportionally since they didn’t have as many to begin with.

    1. Monte Castleman

      In my east Bloomington neighborhood there’s only a few Gen-Xers like myself. The X-ers kitty-corner from me, their older teenage kids apparently have to go several blocks away to find other older teenagers to hang with.

      It’s predominantly Millennial couples in a house with young kids or several unrelated Millennials sharing a house, or aging couples and singles who live alone in a house those kids have left a long time ago. The biggest house in the neighborhood is occupied by one old couple that have lived their since before I was born, their kid probably left 20 years ago. Whether these people like living in Bloomington or they couldn’t afford a house in a safe area of the city I don’t know.

    2. Ted Hathaway

      The physical size of Minneapolis should always been taken into consideration. At 58 sq miles, it’s among the smallest of central cities in the US. “Comparable” cities are often twice or three times it’s size in terms of area. Inner ring suburbs like Robbinsdale, Columbia Park, St. Anthony, St. Louis Park, Morningside (Edina), or Richfield are essentially indistinguishable from their adjacent Minneapolis neighborhoods. I’ve often wondered why Minneapolis’ annexation of surrounding communities stopped in 1927.

  2. Aaron Berger

    Bill, what you’re looking at as percents is the growth from 2012 to 2016. So Denver’s young educated population grew 19% while in Minneapolis it grew by 15%. However, you need to take overall population growth into account. Over the same time period Denver’s population grew by 9%, while Minneapolis grew by about 5%. In other words, Denver’s young educated population grew about twice as fast as the city as a whole while Minneapolis grew its young educated population 3 times faster than the city as a whole. By that metric we’re punching above our weight.

    1. Aaron Berger

      Seattle, like Minneapolis, pulled in young educated people 3 times faster than its overall growth rate. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, managed to grow its young, educated population by 19% over a time of overall population decline. That’s… impressive.

  3. Cobo R

    Minneapolis is geographically pretty small for a major city. Most educated millennials i know (my self included) have mostly settled in the first and second ring suburbs. Reasons why have mostly been affordability and commutes.
    I like the city but It can be inconvenient to live in Minneapolis and pay a higher rent if your job is in chanhassen or plymouth.
    And while finance is clustered downtown, most STEM jobs (med device, engineering, healthcare, etc) that require tertiary education (masters and above) in the metro seem to be concentrated in the second and third ring suburbs.

    Purely anecdotal, I don’t have any hard data.

  4. Daniel Hartigkingledion

    Minneapolis and Saint Paul together (area: 277 km^2, pop: 718093) is a better comparison to either Seattle (217, 704352) or Denver (397, 693060). The numbers for the combined two cities (from American Factfinder, table S1501) are:

    City 2012 2016 Diff % Change
    Minneapolis 44386 51233 6847 15.4%
    St. Paul 22772 23408 636 2.8%
    Total 67158 74641 7483 11.1%

    So overall, MSP is doing a bit worse on this metric than is by CityObservatory.

  5. David MarkleDavid Markle

    Another point: where did the degreed folks get there HS diplomas? Maybe the higher percentage cities such as Austin draw from a more widely national source.

    Would be easy to make an interesting associated match-up with number of students receiving degrees at academic institutions within each city during that period.

    And it’s noteworthy that some cities with high black populations such as Detroit and Hartford, have a high percentage of increase.

    All good for further inquiry.

  6. Karen

    Overall – MN is aging more than other parts of the nation – I’m guessing here, but probably mostly due to less immigration here.

    The one that is nuts is Detroit…

    1. Ted Hathaway

      Affordable housing has to be a factor, too. Minneapolis and St. Paul are becoming much more expensive. Not so in Detroit – ?

  7. NiMo

    If you rate it up factoring in base population you get a better picture for the change. Proportions FTW. In 2012 in Minneapolis, 11.30% of the population was 25-34 with a degree. That was the seventh highest, beat only by Denver, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Washington, and San Francisco. In 2012, 12.39% of Minneapolis was 25-34 with a degree. Minneapolis dropped from seventh to eighth due to Pittsburgh rocketed up the rankings from eighth to fifth.

    Basically my take is its hard to grow a lot if you already have a higher proportion in the studied cohort. Top 10, can’t knock that IMO.

    Here is a link to a google spreadsheet showing my work. the sharing i did lazily–you should be able to download a copy if you want it but if not let me know and I’ll tinker with the read/write settings.

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