Washington, D.C. – The region will add more than 1.5 million people and 1.1 million jobs over the next 30 years, according to the most recent draft of forecasts jointly developed by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and area governments. The figures show the region’s population will increase from 5.4 million to 6.9 million and jobs will increase from 3.1 million to 4.3 million between now and 2045. The forecasts were presented to area officials at the March COG Board of Directors meeting.
The region’s central jurisdictions—the District of Columbia, Arlington County, and the City of Alexandria—will experience the fastest change in population growth by 2045. These jurisdictions will grow by 42 percent, or nearly 436,000 people. The District of Columbia will experience the majority of that growth (315,000 people).
The region’s outer suburbs will experience a faster rate of employment growth (58.4 percent) than its central jurisdictions (32.7 percent) and inner suburbs (31.4 percent) during this time span. The inner suburbs will continue to have the largest share of the region’s population and employment in 2045.
This round of forecasts also considers employment change by sector. The professional and business services sector, which is comprised of high wage and high skill industries, will see the largest employment growth, with the addition of nearly 602,000 jobs.
The regional aspiration is that much of this growth will end up in Activity Centers, or transit-accessible mixed use areas, according to COG Executive Director Chuck Bean.
View the Cooperative Forecasts.
The Cooperative Forecasts have been developed jointly by COG and local planning departments since 1975. The forecasts are used by local governments and regional and federal agencies in areas such as transportation planning, air and water quality, and housing.
In a separate presentation, George Mason University’s Dr. Stephen Fuller discussed the region’s economic outlook. He emphasized the importance of repositioning the economy to focus on advanced industries, leveraging metropolitan Washington’s global connections, and developing a workforce and housing that can support and sustain the region’s growth.
“Our connectivity to the world is greater than any other metro area, we just have to trade on it,” said Fuller.
To address these challenges and identify opportunities for collaboration, COG Board Chairman and Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner announced earlier this year that regional economic competitiveness will be a priority for COG in 2016, as federal cutbacks, such as the decline in procurement, are felt across the region.