The Next 150
Even as Minnesota celebrates its past, we wanted to look to the future. So on the occasion of the state’s sesquicentennial, we consulted the experts, followed the evidence, and came to some surprising conclusions about the next century and a half. Just try proving us wrong.
We will be alone and childless. (And that’s not just your mother talking.)Get out the Hank Williams records. The Minnesota State Demographer’s office projects that by 2035, some 31 percent of all Minnesota households will have just one person. At the same time, the number of childless couples is on pace to grow 21 percent by 2015.
We will be rich.If our population continues to grow 1 percent annually while our economy grows 2 percent every year, Minnesotans’ per capita income should double in 36 years, says Art Rolnick, vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Extrapolating from our 2006 per capita income, we should each be pulling down about $161,462 in 2158. Drinks are on us.
We will be Utah (politically speaking).In 2004, George W. Bush scored big in the country’s fastest-growing counties—the exurbs—winning them by a robust 21 points. The Twin Cities, meanwhile, is ranked first in the country in its rate of exurban growth, and third in the number of people already living there. Seeing red yet?
We will be immortal.This winter, Doris Taylor and her team of researchers at the University of Minnesota announced that they had reanimated a dead animal heart. If the future sounds like the theme song from Fame—we’re going to live forever—we may be the first to sing it.
We will be commuting to Rochester.Last year, Fast Company magazine ranked Rochester as one of 20 cities “on the verge of becoming a fast city”—a boomtown. Why? Because from 1997 to 2006, the Rochester area added jobs more than twice as quickly as the nation and Minnesota as a whole. In 2001, Rochester’s per capita income overtook the state average and for the past five years its population has grown 36 percent faster than the rest of the state. The Mayo Clinic is still expanding and its new partnership with the University of Minnesota on biotechnology is expected to light a fire under the state’s bioscience industry. It’s no wonder why the U decided to open its newest campus there last year.
We will make little more than Spam—and still do fine.Minnesotans won’t be making T-shirts anytime soon—or any cheap goods. In fact, the only manufacturing we’ll do in the future is of products where quality matters more than price, says state economist Tom Stinson, like pacemakers or high-end computer parts, as well as things consumed within the U.S. itself, like meat. “We won’t be importing Spam from Taiwan,” he says.
We will kidnap Canadians to work here.Once the baby boomers retire, there will be plenty of jobs for everyone else—too many, in fact, given the size of the generations succeeding them. And in few places might the competition for workers become more fierce than in Minnesota, says Stinson, given our growing economy and, um, climatological disadvantage. “I don’t think there are a lot of 16- or 17-year-olds in Southern California thinking, ‘When I turn 18, I’m moving to Minnesota!’” says Stinson. “But there are more than a few here thinking the other way around.”
China will take over the world—with our help.Where’s the largest Chinese student population in North America? At the U of M. Since 2001, a U institute has also held courses for Chinese students in China, and the Carlson School’s executive MBA program was the first authorized by the Chinese government to be implemented in a Chinese university. Can you say ?