Skip to main content

Minnesota's lake country could see population spurt as retirees move there

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Minnesota's lake country communities rely on people who own second homes in their areas, but local leaders haven't known very much about those part-time residents until recently. A study from the University of Minnesota Extension suggests they should get ready to see more of them become permanent residents.

Extension researchers recently surveyed second homeowners in eight central and western "high natural amenity" counties and found the population in those areas is likely to grow significantly in the next decade, as part-time residents retire and move to their seasonal homes permanently.

The study determined that people who own second homes are generally older, are well educated and make more money than the average Minnesotan, the Brainerd Dispatch reports.

They also spend an average of $3,000 each year in lake country, which includes expenses for groceries, gas, restaurants and other businesses.

The eight counties - Cass, Aitkin, Hubbard, Becker, Otter Tail, Douglas and Pope - have a large number of second homes that are vacant at least part of the year. The average is 31 percent across all eight counties, but in Aitkin County that about half of all its homes are owned by part-time residents.

More than half of those who responded to the survey said they plan to move to lake country full time over the next 10 years, and that would add up to about 46,000 new permanent households.

Those new residents could put a strain on local services, but they also could make significant contributions, the study said.

"Second-home communities could benefit from the talents and leadership skills seasonal residents bring and should undertake strategies to welcome and integrate them, especially in preparation for their permanent transition to the community," researchers said.

Integrating those new residents will likely be a challenge; while the respondents said they feel very attached to their second homes, they are less attached to the nearby communities, according to the Dispatch.

Researchers also asked the respondents to name what they thought would be the most important challenges facing the area in the next 20 years, and tops on the list were water quality and environmental issues. That was followed by concerns over tax rates and infrastructure.

The quality of Internet service was rated lowest of all the local services provided, according to the survey. About 25 percent of the respondents telecommute, and about a quarter of them ranked their Internet service as poor.

That finding dovetails with another report last fall that laid bare the huge disparity in broadband speeds between those living in the Twin Cities metro area and those living in rural Minnesota.

A report by Connect Minnesota reveals that just 0.06 percent of residents in rural northern Minnesota Aitkin County have access to a high-speed internet service, compared to more than 90 percent of those living in the metro area.

Next Up

Melvin Carter

What's in Mayor Melvin Carter's budget proposal?

Here's what the St. Paul mayor is putting his focus on for the upcoming year.

WCCO building

Digital, streaming employees at WCCO-TV vote to unionize

The 15 employees will join on-air talent and producers as members of the SAG-AFTRA union.

unnamed-3

Police arrest man suspected of sexual assault, weapons threat in Eagan

The investigation prompted a SWAT response in an Eagan neighborhood on Tuesday.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, August 16

The latest reporting period averaged just under 1,300 new cases per day.

USATSI_12923669

Jason and Carly Zucker sell Edina home for $4.18M

The property was bought in 2020, months after Jason Zucker was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Legacy Lot Random (1 of 6)

Gallery: Luxury living is par for the course here

Cragun’s Golf Resort Communities Offer Stunning Views Along with Resort-Style Living

Screen Shot 2022-08-18 at 8.10.56 AM

Restrictions in place as Emerald Ash Borer found in Sherburne County

The county is now the 36th in the state with a confirmed presence of the invasive insect.

Fire, firefighters

Home that was scene of June standoff engulfed in fire

Authorities arrived to find the home fully ablaze.

Rosland park bridge

Crosstown Hwy. 62 reopens as footage emerges of truck hitting bridge

The westbound lanes were closed in Edina from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday night.

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 8.31.42 PM

Flash flooding as torrential rain hammers Cambridge

Flooding and damage from a non-severe storm Wednesday evening.

Related