MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minneapolis ranks among the top 10 major U.S. cities in people living alone, while its suburban counties have some of the nation's highest proportions of married couples with young children, according to a U.S. Census Bureau analysis.
Of Minneapolis households, 40 percent are occupied by one person, which surprised people who work with demographic data.
"I think we have to ask whether that is a sustainable mix over the long term," said urban-affairs analyst Curt Johnson.
At the same time, nearly 40 percent of the homes and apartments in fast-growing suburban counties, such as Carver and Scott, house married couples with children under 18.
Several suburban counties in Minnesota rank among the top 10 percent of U.S. counties in that category.
Many factors contribute to the high portion of one-person households, including the availability of well-paying jobs, the presence of a large gay and lesbian population and the attraction of students to the University of Minnesota and other colleges.
"There are just oceans and oceans of brick ten-plexes full of urban professionals who've just graduated, who have their first job and who will probably buy in the suburbs or in southwest Minneapolis once they marry," said state Sen. Myron Orfield, a Minneapolis DFLer who specializes in urban issues.
The number of those living alone increased from 38 percent in 1980 to just over 40 percent, but the number of households remained steady, meaning nearly 4,000 more people in Minneapolis are living alone.
The city's national rank in that category, among cities of at least 100,000 people, also has crept up. Minneapolis just missed the top 10 in 1990 but now stands at No. 7.
St. Paul's proportion of single-occupant households, 36 percent, also represents a steady increase over recent decades but places the city lower on the national list: 26th among 245 cities with at least 100,000 population.
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