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Posted on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

What will 2040 look like? New predictions for population and job growth in Washtenaw County

By Ryan J. Stanton

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 Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sun, Feb 26, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

All this is assuming things go at least relatively well for the next 28 do you know that will happen?numbers can tell you whatever you want them to all you have to know how to do is construct the words around them.this sounds like theory coming from starry eyed forever sunny doesn't have to be absolute greatness or absolute gloom and doom you know.most things,it seems to me,work out to be somwhere between those two extremes.

G. Orwell

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

"What will 2040 look like." An Orwellian Police state. Guaranteed.

paul wiener

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

Interesting stats, but since Washtenaw County is exactly three times the population of A2, it'd be nice if someone translated the stats into useable local projections and numbers.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Every AA resident will be driving a Toyota vehicle of some kind playing follow the leader like sheeple.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

No way to a Toyota. Give me a jeep to get thru that crow guano any day of the week.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 6:54 a.m.

And the Ann Arbor crow population will rise to six and a half million, blocking the sun and raining bird poop as they roost in a solid overhead blanket overnight. Ann Arbor will become a major crow guano exporter. The manufacture of crow feather filled jackets and quilts will boost Washtenaw County's economy to unprecedented levels, eclipsing all tech manufacturing (with the possible exception of a brand of computer "pad" called the iCrow). Ann Arbor will start calling itself, The City of Crows. (or has that already happened?) The future in 2040 will be absolutely cawful.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

It will be nice to get away from the Knowledge Economy and do some manly Real Work for a change!


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 5:31 a.m.

It seems like would want to put more distance between a failed prediction of the weather 24 hours in advance and an attempt at predicting socio-economic and demographic trends 30 years in advance.

Steve Pierce

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:02 a.m.

Ypsilanti's decrease appears to be the greatest population loss of any community in the community. - Steve


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

Inflated numbers for mayor and council to use to "justify" the new train station. You know, the one that's 100 yards away from the existing one, the existing one with a big vacant lot butting up against it. Watch past council meetings that included Q and A about Fuller station, listen for references to SEMCOG studies.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

Why would we put ANY stock in predictions for 30 years from now? Predictions made for jobs are changed every months. Predictions for budgets are seldom right for a given year.

Esch Park

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

I think the basic premise for the projections in this study is very flawed. The cost of energy and an aging population will drive more population growth in the City of Ann Arbor near services and entertainment and less for the surrounding townships. Their study is using past population drivers to project future growth assumptions and life style choices, however they are not adjusting for changes in the various elements used in their projections, such as the cost of energy, desire to life more efficiently vs MacMansions, and City of Ann Arbor development strategies to encourage density.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

Esch Park - Higher housing costs, higher taxes, more dangerous roads, more crime (still not much, but more) all will impede population growth within the city. Also many older people do not like the politics in the city proper.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

Keep in mind that property tax is much cheaper outside the city limits of Ann Arbor. Property tax in a surrounding area is often 30-60% cheaper than a similar house in Ann Arbor. For a few thousand a year in savings, I would gladly miss out on the speculated energy cost savings of living in the city. I live outside of Ann Arbor and I sure don't have a MacMansion! And I for one don't want "density" in where I live.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 5:29 a.m.

By "services and entertainment" do you mean expensive restaurants and art stores? I mean, we can all agree that there is little to nothing in the realm of "services" in the downtown area, so its not that practical that you can have a family in A2 and not need a car. But then when you think about it, most of the services are out in the townships... Meijer, Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, Costco (it will be across the street from city limits, to be fair) etc, etc. Sure my examples are all big box stores, but let's face it, that is where most people can find what they need and can afford to buy it. But I guess you still can stay in A2 if you want to enjoy entertainment. Unless you want to see a movie. Or go to the cube for hockey or Wide World for soccer. Heck, even if you need to go to U of M for medical services, they are moving things out of the city to Plymouth Rd near Dominos. I'd say the townships will be doing just fine.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

In the year of the sloth the moon shall change its axis. The earth will begin to slow its rotation, causing cheap pin-up calendar publishers to look harder for new girls for the added months of the year. On this day the mouse shall mate with the moose, and the seas shall rise. Notsucha' Dimwit 1682


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

Awesome movie reference. :)


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

By 2040, cars for civilian use will officially be banned in Ann Arbor. The existing roads will be used only for, I mean pedestrians and bicyclists. Also, a giant statue of John Hieftje will be prominently displayed downtown (and will have recurrent problems with vandalism!).


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

In 2040, -Many 40-50 years olds will still be living with their parents, as the economy continues to tank -As expected, nearly 49,000 job opportunities have been added; unfortunately many of those opportunities will be jobs with very high turnover (like teachers) as the city/county decides it cannot afford to pay them -AAPS will draw criticism from the community after it raises the salary offer to $1,000,000 in their latest search for the "right" superintendent -The Detroit Lions are already hailed as "Team of the Century" after claiming their 5th consecutive Super Bowl title. which of these seems like the longest stretch?


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

I just read about a year ago that housing, food and water will be rationed by 2050 because there will be way too many people in the world by then.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

I am so sick of hearing the term minority. Is that even relevant? Certainly won't be in 2040. Liberals love to separate us based on race and income and any other factor they can think of. They love to divide the country.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Liberals!!! They make me SO mad!


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

Right on! Everyone knows conservatives are the ones who accept everyone as equals. Except the gays and poor people, of course.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

Why are we so worried about traffic studies when we'll all have flying cars by 2040? Then we won't have to worry about fixing the roads or building new parking structures.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Sounds like they predict that the majority will become the minority. "minority households in the county is expected to grow while the percentage of white households drops from 76 to 59 percent." What is AAPS going to do, I have read articles on about how Minority students in Ann Arbor are not archiving to the same levels as other students. In the future (2040), there is going to be a lot more minority students. Is AAPS going to "dumb" down the schools or do they have a plan to raise the minority students education level? I didn't see anything in the article about illegal aliens? Is their population to rise or fall?


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

No youwhine I don't The majority of students in the county by 2040 will probably be from identified minority groups. You knew what I meant.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 5:22 a.m.

@Don... "The majority of students in the county will be minority..." You DO realize the ridiculousness of that statement, right?

Marshall Applewhite

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:47 a.m.

No kidding. By 2040, there will be "all white" field trips, with no black or Hispanic students allowed.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

The majority of students in the county will be minority by 2040. The family size for minorities is higher and most of the white households will be in that 55+ range.

Top Cat

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

I would concur with Dan Quisenberry's observation, "I've seen the future and it's much like the present, only longer."


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

I forgot my sixth prediction: 6) The price of stamps will climb ever higher


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

If the post office survives. With on line stuff these days? We will be flooded with junk mail. O wait, they call it SPAM. So, I guess the junk will flood our emails and we will have to unsubscribe to get away from all the stuff we are suppose to buy or subscribe to. I hope we can recycle that.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

Yung Mi is a hack compared to me.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

Wow, you're like a Yung Mi!


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

"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." I don't get it. If we can't sell our homes we will have to age in place won't we? We can leave our homes even if we don't sell them though, right?


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

I, for one, will welcome our new giant ant overlords in 2040.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

I don't remember reading anything about giant ants? Do you have inside info?


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Glad I won't be here to enjoy this.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Michigan will be ground zero for an all out civil war for fresh water. Everyone that moved away will be wanting to move back here because every other state will be dried up.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

Wasn't there a movie based on that idea?


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have water?


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

And when Moderate Mitt takes away our guns we won't be able to defend our water!!

sojourner truth

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

433 people are going to really shoulder the burden of the county wide transportation service if the City of Ann Arbor pays for most of the expansion and AATA gives up its authority to the county. The projected cost over 30 years is $60,000,000. Good luck to those folks!

hut hut

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

After the Apocalypse there will be nothing left, so why bother making predictions.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

Ah, no. December 21, 2012. That is according to the Mayan calendar.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

I thought that was supposed to be when all the computers crashed on New Year's Day of 2000!


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

If survives I'm sure we'll all still be here complaining about: 1) The current mayor's lack of concern about having an adequate police force 2) Public art 3) The University's indifference to AA taxpayers 4) Rich Rodriguez 5) moderators

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

I probably won't be around anymore but if I build a list of generic complaints perhaps you guys could keep my "legacy" alive. I'll e-mail you the list and the requisite log in password.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

I feel compelled to add my list to yours: a) Those Stadium bridges are really going to get on my nerves in 2040. b) The weather will always be predictably unpredictable. c) The snowplows will always be later than immediately. d) Roads somewhere in the city will always be in a state of disrepair. e) Taxes are too high while government services are too low.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

Ha, huge loss of 25-34 year olds...good luck Washtenaw...and Michigan