An essential step in the regional planning process is the projection of the probable nature and magnitude of changes in factors which are largely beyond the influence of the planning process but which must be considered in the preparation of a comprehensive plan. Among the most important of these factors are those relating to the size, distribution, and composition of the population and to the number, distribution, and types of employment opportunities, or jobs. Accordingly, SEWRPC periodically carries out demographic studies that project the future size, distribution, and composition of the resident population, and economic studies that project the future number, distribution, and types of jobs. These forecasts serve as a basis for updating and extending the comprehensive plan for the Region.
Population and Economic Forecasts for the Year 2050
In 2013, under the guidance of the Advisory Committee on Regional Population and Economic Forecasts, the Commission completed the work of updating and extending its population and economic forecasts for the Region to a new forecast year. The forecasts were prepared for the forty-year period from 2010 to 2050. The previous Commission forecasts pertained to the period from 2000 to 2035. The 2010-2050 forecasts will serve as basis for updating and extending the regional land use and transportation plans and other elements of the comprehensive plan for the Region to the year 2050.
As in prior demographic and economic studies, the Commission prepared a range of future population, household, and employment levels—high, intermediate, and low—for the Region. This approach recognizes the uncertainty that surrounds any effort to predict future socioeconomic conditions. Under this approach, the intermediate projections are considered the most likely to be achieved for the Region overall, and, in this sense, constitute the Commission’s “forecast,” to be used as a basis for the preparation of the year 2050 regional land use and transportation plans and other regional plans. The high and low projections are intended to provide an indication of the range of population, household, and employment levels which could conceivably be achieved under significantly higher and lower, but nevertheless plausible, growth scenarios for the Region.
Under the intermediate-growth scenario, the population of the Region would increase by 17 percent, from 2,020,000 persons in 2010 to 2,354,000 persons in 2050. Households would increase by 22 percent between 2010 and 2050, accompanied by a continued modest decline in average household size. Employment in the Region would increase by 18 percent, from 1,176,600 jobs in 2010 to 1,386,900 jobs in 2050.
The 2010-2050 projections are documented in SEWRPC Technical Report No. 10 (5th Edition), The Economy of Southeastern Wisconsin, and SEWRPC Technical Report No. 11 (5th Edition), The Population of Southeastern Wisconsin.