Minnesota’s demographic picture is changing as the state grows and becomes more diverse. Understanding these demographic growth patterns and changing trends will help transportation agencies plan future investments that will allow Minnesota to meet its transportation needs and support the people of Minnesota. The state’s population over the last decade has grown from 5.3 million in 2010 to 5.6 million in 2019, in line with the national average of 7%. The seven-county metro area is home to more than half of the state’s population, with 3.1 million people compared to 2.5 million people in the Greater Minnesota region. Over the next 20 years, up to 75% of the state’s growth is projected to happen within the seven-county metro area.
As Minnesota grows, the state is becoming more diverse. Communities of Color have grown by 32% compared to 1% for the White, non-Hispanic population from 2010 to 2019. This trend is most profoundly seen in children and youth as Communities of Color now make up 32% of the population under 18 years of age. As the youth demographic ages into adulthood, Communities of Color will contribute a growing influence on the overall demographic picture for Minnesota. Immigration to Minnesota is one contributing factor to Minnesota’s increasing diversity with 8.7% of the state’s population being foreign-born. The share of foreign-born residents coming from Asia, Africa and Central and South America stands at 65% as of 2018.
Demographic changes are also shifting household patterns including languages spoken, travel behavior and educational attainment. Spanish is the most spoken language after English, followed by Somali and Hmong. Statewide, interpretations and translations of engagement materials into these three languages would reach the most people who have limited English proficiency. However, translation is available through MnDOT for any language upon request. Immigrant communities also have differing travel patterns, including driving fewer miles each year and taking more carpool, transit, bicycle and walking trips compared with communities born in the United States. Understanding these differing travel patterns across communities can help to deliver transportation projects and services that better meet the needs of diverse, local communities.
Educational attainment in Minnesota is above the national average, with 37% of Minnesotans attaining a college degree compared to 33% for the national average. College graduates are more concentrated within the seven-county metro area, with 45% of people in the region attaining a college degree compared to only 28% in Greater Minnesota. This will make the seven-county metro area increasingly competitive and a hub for the knowledge economy as creative and knowledge-based activities continue to become a more important component the nation’s economic activity.