Monday, January 17, 2011

Demographics, Minnesota, 2025

A couple weeks ago Jenny Turner, Matt Lee, Nick Bancks and I lead the December Minnesota Library Futures Initiative December meeting, titled, “Minnesota in 2025”. One of the purposes was to formulate an idea of what the landscape of the state in 2025 will be. With this in mind, I was in charge of facilitating a small group discussion about the changing demographics in Minnesota, 2025. Though our readings provided numerous statistics and insights, there were some facts that bubbled up to the top.

● As the baby boomers age, the population will increasingly become grayer, with 18.4% of the population being 65 or older by 2025, up from 16% in 2010.

● The Latino population will increase dramatically by 2025. Currently, the Latino population represents 4.7% of the population. In 2025, they will represent 7.1% of the population. Further, all regions of Minnesota will see growth in the Latino population, though most will live in the Metro Area.

● The African American population will grow from 264,900 in 2010 to 388,000 in 2025, with an overwhelming majority living in the Metro Area.

● The Asian American community will grow as well, from 223,300 to 329,900 in 2025. They will represent 5.3% of the population by 2025

● It is also worth noting that, although the state will become more diverse, we will likely trail the rest of the nation in diversity and people of color. In 2005, the United States was roughly 67% white, and by 2040 that percentage will drop to 51% by 2040. In contrast, Minnesota’s population is currently 87% white and will likely be 78% white by 2025.
So what does this mean for libraries? Although it is hard to project, a few topics were discussed in detail by the group.

● While the whole state will see the diversification, it will likely be the out-state areas that it will be the most noticeable, and there could be challenges to providing services to the new populations , especially in the communities that are ill prepared for the change.

● It will important to service the diverse community by providing staff and resources specific to the communities, like outreach liaisons and programs and information literacy classes offered in the languages that the community speaks. This will, however, cost money. Currently, many library systems support outreach services with short-term and expiring funding sources like grants. It will be important for library systems to re-evaluate how they fund these programs if they want to continuously support the growing immigrant community.

● The Boomers are currently a core user of public libraries, but we often do not focus our services on the older communities. It will be important to not alienate the Boomers by continuing to focus on the younger population.

● Also, it was noted that the library workforce will be aging with the community. It will be important to take advantage of the knowledgeable staff we have in the library world, and use their expertise to create change in services.

What do you think? How will the changing population effect how we serve Minnesota in 2025?

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