According to the just-released preliminary results of the 2010 Census, between the year 2000 and the year 2010, the population of Minneapolis went from 382,618 to 382,578, a decline of just forty people.
This stability in our population is extremely interesting, given the number of new housing units that have been built over the past ten years. We now have 178,287 housing units, up more than 9,000 from the 168,606 we had in 2000. So why not more people?
The answer becomes apparent when you look at the change in the housing vacancy rate. In the booming economy of 2000, only 3.7% of housing units were vacant. In 2010, during the Great Recession that was caused in large part by the collapse of the housing and financial systems and the ensuing foreclosure crisis, the vacancy rate had more than doubled, to 8.7%. The raw numbers are just as striking: in 2000, only 6,254 housing units were vacant, and in 2010 that number had jumped to 14,747.
One thing that can be ruled out relatively safely is a change in household size. On average, there were 2.35 people per occupied housing unit in 2000, and that number has barely budged - there were 2.34 people/unit in 2010.
The numbers' story is pretty clear: we had a lot of growth in housing stock throughout the last decade, but then we were swamped by a terrible recession, one of whose main impacts was to push low-income homeowners out of their homes.
This has some implications for the next redistricting process. Because Ward 2 (thankfully!) had fewer forclosures than most other wards, and many fewer foreclosures than certain wards, it likely now has more than its share of the City's population, and is likely to shrink relative to other wards. The wards that were hardest-hit by foreclosures (1, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9) are likely to get geographically larger.