Why Is Minneapolis Growing Faster Than Chicago?

The data shows Minneapolis recovered from the recession more quickly than Chicago. And its growth rates continue to surpass those of its larger neighbor. Why did this happen, and which policies deserve credit?

1 minute read

April 22, 2015, 8:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Minneapolis Celebration

estudiante / Flickr

In a piece for the Chicago-based Metropolitan Planning Council, Chrissy Mancini Nichols examines the question: why has Minneapolis recovered from the recession quicker than Chicago? Despite their different sizes, the two Midwestern cities share a good deal in terms of geography and weather.

Mancini writes, "It's not just the coasts or warm weather areas that are growing faster than the Chicago region. Midwestern counterparts are outpacing us too. From 2010 to 2013, the Minneapolis region's population grew more than three times faster than the Chicago region, and the city of Minneapolis almost five times faster than the city of Chicago."

Comparing the cities points to several policy changes that could improve Chicago's economy. They include:

  • Reduce local competition via tax incentives meant to lure businesses to different locations within the Chicago metro area. These may have local benefits, but impede spending to enhance regional growth.
  • Invest instead in education to develop a skilled labor pool.
  • Focus on efficient transportation: "Travel time to work in the Minneapolis region is 11 minutes less per day than Chicago, adding up to an extra hour a week of free time for Minneapolis workers."

Monday, March 23, 2015 in Metropolitan Planning Council

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