What will 2040 look like? New predictions for population and job growth in Washtenaw County
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What will Washtenaw County look like in 2040?
For starters, it's estimated there will be nearly 40,000 more residents and more than 27,000 more households, amounting to a 12 percent increase in population.
Meanwhile, nearly 49,000 new jobs are expected.
Those numbers are included in a new 2040 forecast from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, a regional planning body covering seven counties.
Supplemental information provided by SEMCOG also offers forecasts for population change from 2010 to 2020 for each of the 28 different municipalities in the county.
The county stands to lose thousands of young professionals in the coming years as the population ages and the number of seniors grows, according to SEMCOG.
Projections through 2020 show large increases in people age 55 and older, while the number of people 25 to 34 drops off, along with a decrease in children ages 14 and under.
SEMCOG predicts Ann Arbor's population will grow by a mere 433 people by 2020 or 0.4 percent, while Ypsilanti loses 11.7 percent of its population and Dexter loses 10.3 percent.
The biggest population gains, based on percentages, are projected in Saline Township (23.2 percent), Superior Township (16.6 percent), Augusta Township (15.8 percent), Manchester Township (14.5 percent), Lima Township (12.9 percent), and Dexter Township (11 percent).
Meanwhile, the percentage of minority households in the county is expected to grow while the percentage of white households drops from 76 to 59 percent.
Large gains in employment are expected in the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, as well as the surrounding townships of Scio, Pittsfield, Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.
But the village of Dexter and five outlying townships — Augusta, Saline, Manchester, Lima and Webster — are expected to shed jobs.
The 2040 forecast was released by SEMCOG in draft form and remains under review. A final forecast is expected to be complete by March.
SEMCOG produces a new forecast of the region's future about every four years. The 2040 forecast is expected to support regional and local planning efforts in the areas of transportation, water quality, air quality, and community and economic development.
The Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, a multi-jurisdictional agency responsible for transportation planning in Washtenaw County, uses population and employment data forecasted by SEMCOG to develop the county's long-range transportation plan.
It's likely that Ann Arbor Transportation Authority officials also will look to the new data as the agency pushes forward with a countywide expansion of public transit services.
Terri Blackmore, executive director of WATS, commented on the forecast that Washtenaw County is going to lose thousands of young professionals and gain thousands of seniors.
"As we and others have been saying, the baby boomers are getting older," she said, adding with the housing downturn, aging boomers cannot sell their homes and thus age in place.
"Also, Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County are good places to retire with all of the services, including transit services," she said.
A recent presentation by SEMCOG offers answers to some hypothetical questions about the county based on known trends.
"Should we build a new elementary school?" it asks. "Since the long-term forecast for school age children is a decline over the 2010 level, no, a new school building is not needed."
But what about a new senior center?
"Since the long-term forecast is for the senior population to nearly double while all other age groups decline, we should build a senior center," it states.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.