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While there are many unknowns for Minnesota in 2025, the following trends emerged as having probable impacts on libraries:
An aging population.
In addition to growing older, there will likely be “different shades of gray”, with some of the population able to retire at 65 years old or even younger, and another large portion of “boomers” continuing to work into their elder years due to financial needs. Those who continue to work will need to increase their skills to stay competitive in the workforce.
An increasingly diverse population.
While the population will continue to age, it will also become increasingly diverse, with a large growth in people of color living in Minnesota by 2025. However, Minnesota will continue to be less diverse than the nation as a whole.
A new workforce.
The “Great Recession” we are currently in will likely lead to a jobless recovery; the new workforce will need to be agile and focused on productivity.
Continued funding woes.
Public funding will be affected by a changing tax base, a potentially more polarized congress, and an aging workforce who will increasingly use social services and will have a decreasing taxable income. As these factors make volatile state revenue funds more competitive, libraries may need to to shift priority services to more stable and consistent funding and at the same time continue to look for additional diverse and creative funding sources.
The Minnesota Library Futurists are NOT demographers. We recommend libraries look to the following resources for authoritative information about demographic trends:
“Minnesota and the New Normal” presentation slides from Tom Stinson (State Economist) and Tom Gillaspy (State Demographer), Jan. 2011
“Minnesota Population Projections by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2005-2035” by Martha McMurry
“The Long Run Has Become the Short Run: budget implications of demographic change” by the Minnesota State Demographic Center, Feb. 2011
“Budget Trends Study Commission, Report to the Legislature” January 12, 2009