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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

January 22, 2015 at 9:21 AM

Imagining Seattle in 2030

Much of the conversation lately has focused on how newcomers are changing Seattle (even if that has been the case for much of the city’s history). There are legitimate concerns about how fast population growth — combined with globalized hypercapitalism — will change the character and authenticity of the place. And impose big costs. I wrote about some of this in the Pacific NW Magazine earlier this month.

How will the metropolitan area look in 2030? A new interactive tool from the Urban Institute offers some educated guesses.

Population would increase 20.4 percent or by 872,374, based on average trends. The population would remain overwhelmingly white, although minority cohorts would grow.

Is that a lot or a little? The scenario has Phoenix growing by 37 percent or nearly 1.7 million, and Portland by 19 percent or 406,441. Parts of the Rust Belt and Plains states would lose population. You can filter and fiddle with the tool to dig down to ages, rate of growth, etc.

There are admitted limitations, including the affects of climate change. It’s difficult to believe the urban Southwest can pay for the power or water to keep adding so much population as temperatures keep rising and snowmelt keeps diminishing. Sea-level rise doesn’t promise much of a future for Florida. Meanwhile, the old Midwest and Northeast might be positively balmy.

But maybe Bertha will be done, one way or the other, by 2030.


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Call ECB stat!

It’s a deflation attack

Ooops, they slipped on Greece


 

 

Comments | More in | Topics: Seattle growth, Seattle population

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