November 24, 2014

Study predicts big population jump

Wisconsin’s population could grow by 800,000 people over the next three decades. A report from the state and UW-Madison Applied Population Laboratory projects a 14 percent growth rate over the next 30 years, which would bring the state population up to 6.5 million residents by 2040.

The report is based on 2010 census data and other population projection models, according to David Egan-Robertson with the UW-Madison Applied Population Laboratory. He says it’s meant to help officials get an idea of the possible age distribution, mortality rates, and migrations into the state in the coming years.

Egan-Robertson says they expect the most rapid growth over the next decade or so, as the economy improves. The addition of more jobs will spark new migration into Wisconsin, which usually increases birth rates as well.

Growth could drop off around 2026, as the leading edge of the baby boomers start hitting their mid-80s. Egan-Roberts says nearly one-in-four Wisconsinites are expected to be age 65 or older by 2040, which is almost double the level of where that demographic currently rests.

Information from the report is expected to help the state project and plan what infrastructure improvements and additional services may be needed as the make-up of the population changes.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:20)