People working in the Brainerd lakes area in 10 years will have to be faster and smarter and work with more up-to-date technology.
Growth is evident in Crow Wing County, especially with its aging population. State Demographer Tom Gillaspy told the annual meeting of the Brainerd Lakes Ar a Development Corp. Friday the county will continue to grow, but the labor force will steadily decrease. People will either be ready to retire or will be retired.
According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau, county residents who are 45 to 64 are expected to grow 21 percent before 2015. The 64 or older group is expected to grow by 54 percent by 2015.
This is one fact Gillaspy shared with nearly 185 people at the 18th annual BLADC meeting at the Ramada Inn in Brainerd.
Gillaspy said Crow Wing County's population currently is 55,000 and is predicted to be 90,000 by 2030.
Minnesota is the leading growth state in the upper Midwest, said Gillaspy. He said many of the neighboring states, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, are seeing a decline in population. A few things that are driving the growth are changes in households, people's age and the work force, Gillaspy said.
Many parts of Minnesota are growing, especially the area Gillaspy calls the "extended Twin City metro area," which extends the Twin Cities area to St. Cloud, Rochester and Mankato.
"There are 13 counties that are the fastest growing counties in the nation and seven of these counties are in this area," said Gillaspy. "The north central area from Brainerd to Bemidji will continue to see strong growth. There is not a major growth city to the west of Fergus Falls until you get to the west side of Washington state."
A factor that is driving growth is migration. The counties of Crow Wing, Aitkin, Carlton, Mille Lacs, Kanabec and Pine have seen a substantial increase of the number of adults who migrated. From 1995 to 2000, 9,500 adults age 35-54 and 7,000 children age 17 or younger moved to these counties.
The number of people living alone who are 65 will increase 93 percent by 2030. People living alone who are younger than 65 is expected to grow 32 percent.
Gillaspy said developers have been building three- to five-story homes for the "empty nesters" and it doesn't make sense because of the stairs.
"There will be a builder boom for the single people," he said.
Sheila Haverkamp. BLADC executive director, said the presentation provided insight on the community to business owners.
"We have so many reasons to celebrate and be proud," said Haverkamp. "Not only does Crow Wing County have natural beauty, retail and recreation opportunities, it also is boosting its economic development and job creation.
"The challenge will be to be progressive in our vision for the future."
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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