2. More residents and jobs: In 2040, Minneapolis will have more residents and jobs, and all people will equitably benefit from that growth.

Photo: Photo by Metro Transit (via flickr.com)

The population of Minneapolis peaked at almost 522,000 in 1950. At its height, this population supported a bustling streetcar network, convenient neighborhood retail nodes and other services whose traces are still felt in the city. But by 1990, many of these advantages of urban living had faded away, and Minneapolis’ population dipped to a low of 368,000. The downturn in manufacturing, discriminatory housing and lending practices, suburban growth and flight, less centralized employment centers and more encouraged this loss of population, as well as exacerbated patterns of inequity that are still apparent today.


However, since 2000 Minneapolis has experienced growth that has increased demand for housing. This has prompted the creation of new housing units to help meet the needs of the dynamically changing population, new grocery stores to fulfill basic needs, renewed vitality in commercial areas, new and expanded industries, new and recapitalized parks and open spaces, and increased frequency, speed and reach of transit.

Yet this growth has not been without its challenges. The recent demand for urban living has outstripped the supply of housing available in many areas of the city, which has escalated housing prices at rates faster than wages for many people in the city. As a result, the city has seen an increase in cost-burdened households (households where more than 30 percent of household income goes toward housing) and residents who have been priced out of their neighborhoods.

Overall, 37 percent of all households in Minneapolis are cost-burdened, but this is not equal across racial groups. Over 50 percent of black and American Indian households, and over 45 percent Hispanic households in Minneapolis are cost-burdened, whereas one in three white households are cost-burdened. For a growing number of people, especially people of color, incomes are not keeping up with rising housing costs, resulting in fewer housing units in fewer neighborhoods that are affordable, especially for renters.


Since 2000, overall household incomes in Minneapolis have slightly decreased – but not equally across racial groups. White non-Hispanic and Asian households have seen increases in household income since 2000, while black households have experienced an approximately 40 percent decrease in income.


Businesses also face the stresses of rising rents and displacement. As rents rise, small retail and service businesses are often the most impacted. These small businesses tend to embody neighborhood and cultural identity, and their loss has repercussions beyond just the loss of jobs and retail or service establishments.

One of the primary factors influencing a resident’s ability to afford housing is employment, and in the past 15 years Minneapolis has seen growth in many industries, resulting in refreshed economic vitality and new jobs. Educational disparities hinder the ability of residents of color to prepare for and participate in the continually evolving economy. In Minneapolis less than half of black, American Indian and Hispanic residents have more than a high school education, compared with 83 percent of white non-Hispanic residents. These educational disparities create barriers to finding employment that pays a living wage.


One promising avenue is production and processing businesses, which provide economic opportunities for those who may lack higher levels of education by offering living wages compared with the retail, accommodation and food service industries. Production and processing businesses in the region have average monthly starting wages for workers of color that are twice as high as retail businesses and nearly two-and-a-half times as high as accommodation and food service businesses.

A crucial element of residents’ ability to access employment and of a vibrant economy generally is public transit. While transit has improved in Minneapolis, it is still far behind the level of transit accessibility and mobility the city’s residents once enjoyed as they accessed jobs, services and housing.

Private investment also has helped stimulate the city’s economy, but like so much else it has not been equal across the city. While some areas have benefited from new market-led investments, other areas have seen very little. Encouraging a more equitable distribution of private investment, continuing to expand and improve the transit system, and working to increase options for affordable housing and living-wage jobs are necessary to ensure that the benefits of growth are experienced by all residents.

To achieve the goal equitably benefiting from that growth. the City of Minneapolis will create new opportunities for people to live throughout the city by allowing and encouraging the development of new multifamily housing of various sizes and affordability levels, including in areas that today contain primarily single family homes. Along with creating these new opportunities, the City will take proactive steps to minimize residential displacement, including by preserving naturally occurring affordable housing and offering homeownership support.

The City will also support the growth of existing businesses and the creation of new businesses, while helping prepare Minneapolis residents for the jobs that result. This includes maintaining and expanding areas of the city for production, processing and distribution of products, services and ideas.

Achieving the above will require the City to support, build and maintain a multimodal transportation system that promotes growth in a sustainable manner. And it will require the City to coordinate the development of housing, businesses and infrastructure in geographic areas where a district-wide approach has the greatest opportunity to achieve growth that can benefit everyone.


26 Policies relate to this goal. Click on a policy below to learn more about it.

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