In this study, we examine population and housing change, changes in industrial activity and occupational changes, and characteristics of commuters and the journey to work for those working away from home in 26 regional centers and their commute sheds in Greater Minnesota. We also explore ways in which Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) and Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) might be exploited to shed additional insight into the changing nature of the demographic, economic and commuting patterns that are now pervasive throughout Greater Minnesota. These data are evaluated to explore links between demographic and economic features of working-age populations, and relationships between worker and household characteristics and aspects of commuting activity on the other. The final chapter examines regional economic vitality and travel behavior across the Minnesota Countryside.
When population change in sample regional centers in the 1990s is compared with change in the nearby counties that comprise the centers' commuting fields, four situations appear: those where centers and their commuting fields both had population increases; centers with declining populations, but increases in the commuting fields; centers with growing populations, but with declines in their commuting fields; and situations where both the center and the commute field lost population.