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Excerpt: Rochester expected to see explosive growthDemographics

06-17 downtown broadway kk1.jpg (copy)
An aerial view of downtown Rochester and Broadway taken in June 2008.

This an excerpt from the Destination Medical Center plan:

AECOM evaluated historic and projected demographic and employment trends to identify key drivers of demand that will inform development perimeters for DMC planning. The demographic and employment analysis places the DMC in a broader context, focused on how the region has performed in comparison to the State of Minnesota.This section also focuses on key challenges facing employers in the City of Rochester and Olmsted County relating to finding a new workforce to replace retiring baby boomers. However, this projected loss of jobs will also lead to new opportunities to attract labor for the job openings that will be created in the future.

Historic population

In 2013, there were an estimated 110,337 people living in Rochester, nearly three-quarters of the people living in Olmsted County. Since 1980, Rochester has captured an increasing share of growth in Olmsted County.Additional population growth details:

• From 1980 to 2013, Olmsted County grew by approximately 57,000 residents, averaging a growth of 1,700 people per year. More than 90% of this growth occurred in the City of Rochester, increasing the population of city residents from 63% to 74% of the County population (Figure 5-3).


• While Olmsted County grew 62% in the past 30+ years, the City of Rochester nearly doubled in population, increasing 90% since 1980.

• The compound annual growth rate in the City of Rochester was twice the annual growth rate in Olmsted County: 2.0% compared to 1.5%, respectively.

• The population growth index illustrates that both the City of Rochester and Olmsted County have grown at a faster pace than Minnesota as a whole since 1980 (Figure 5-4).

With a greater share of the county population living inside the City of Rochester, there is greater demand for city services. It might be assumed that this population has a greater affinity for planned areas that have more density and form. It might also be assumed that the growth in city population offers an opportunity to develop more amenities such as retail goods and services, recreational opportunities, and arts and cultural offerings.Population growth projections within the City of Rochester may be affected by the success of the DMC. Should the new development and job growth meet objectives, there will likely be growth in the "millennials" population, a target group for new jobs creation within the DMC. Population growth projections based on historic growth does not reflect the growth that may be shaped by the DMC developments.

Population and household projections

According to the State of Minnesota, Olmsted County is projected to be the eighth fastest-growing county in Minnesota. The City of Rochester is projected to continue to comprise an increasing share of Olmsted County's population, surpassing 77% of the population by 2040 (Figure 5-5).

The population index (Figure 5-6) illustrates how the population of both Olmsted County and the City of Rochester are projected to grow more quickly than the population of Minnesota. Additional population growth details include the following:

• From 2010 to 2040, Olmsted County will grow by about 71,000 people, according to Rochester-Olmsted Council of Governments (ROCOG) projections. This comes to an overall increase of about 49% and an average annual growth rate of 1.3%. This compares to 57,000 new residents between 1980 and 2013.


• Eighty-two percent of the growth in Olmsted County is projected to occur in the City of Rochester.

• In the City of Rochester, the population increase will be slightly greater than Olmsted County, with a growth of 54%, or an annual growth rate of 1.5%. Between 1980 and 2013 there were nearly 52,500 new residents. Between 2010 and 2040, the ROCOG estimates that the population of Rochester will grow by 57,900.

Maxfield Research prepared a Housing Needs Assessment for Olmsted County and Rochester, projecting demand from 2013 to 2030.

• From 1990 to 2010, the City of Rochester grew by about 15,000 households (54%) at an annual rate of 2.2%. Meanwhile, Olmsted County grew by about 17,000 households (42%) at an annual rate of 1.8%.

• From 2010 to 2030, Maxfield Research projects that the City of Rochester will grow by 20,000 households (47%) at an annual rate of 2.2%. Olmsted County is projected to grow by about 24,000 households (42%) at an annual rate of 1.8%.

Looking ahead at the potential population growth that may occur as a result of DMC development, AECOM identified population changes that should be considered:

• Population growth resulting from job growth in the bio-medical-tech sector as part of the DMC development strategy will likely include a high number of people who would be considered part of the "millennials" age cohort. Born between 1982 and 1993, there are more than 80 million people in this cohort in the US. Approximately one in every three employees in the US is a millennial, a critical component of the DMC's job creation strategy. DMC development should considered that success is closely tied to attraction of members of this age cohort.

• The millennial group seems to prefer urban, walkable locations that provide a work-life balance. The DMC concept and core areas can be presented as supporting the values of this age cohort.


• Housing types; retail, dining, and entertainment offerings; and health, wellness, sports, and recreation offerings should be developed in harmony with the lifestyle and lifecycle needs of this cohort.

• The Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America found the following in a 2014 study:

• 54% of millennial respondents would consider moving if another city had more and better transit options.

• 47% of millennials would give up their cars if their city had robust public transportation.

• Cities that do not invest in effective transit solutions today stand to lose out in the long-run.The DMC should allow for this preference and develop transit, bike, and other transit modes to appeal to and attract the workforce population necessary for DMC success.

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