The Future of the Great Lakes Region

The Great Lakes region—home to 50 million people in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin—has become a fixture in our national political discourse. Many of the country’s social, economic, and political challenges are being played out here. 

After a decade of job loss, demographic shifts, and falling household incomes, evidence suggests that the area has strong foundations capable of sustaining future growth. By building on these strengths, the Great Lakes region can rewrite its Rust Belt narrative as a story of resurgence.

The Future of the Great Lakes report provides a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, demographic, and social trends in the region, coupled with projections on how those trends will play out between now and 2040. It also offers policy and philanthropic strategies that could help the region manage its challenges and set a path toward growth and long-term prosperity.

The report highlights four major implications of this research and aims to inform efforts to improve the quality of life and economic mobility of Great Lakes residents: 

  • Build ladders of opportunity and economic mobility for young people, especially young people of color. 
  • Welcome and integrate immigrants and their children so that they move to the region, stay there, and become economically productive members of their communities. 
  • Support older adults’ health, economic security, and public engagement. 
  • Address stressors facing the region’s distressed communities. 

In the coming months, Urban will produce policy issue briefs based on these implications. 

Read our blog post discussing this research. 

Also available (below) are fact sheets for the six Great Lakes states, highlighting recent economic trends and projecting future change.

 

This report was funded by the Joyce Foundation. We are grateful to them and to all our funders, who make it possible for Urban to advance its mission. 

The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders. Funders do not determine research findings or the insights and recommendations of Urban experts. Further information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles is available at www.urban.org/support.  

These fact sheets are companions to the Future of the Great Lakes Region report that provides a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, demographic, and social trends in the region, coupled with projections on how those trends will play out in the future. These six fact sheets highlight economic and demographic trends particularly salient for each of the states in the region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin).

Future of the Great Lakes: Illinois State Facts

These fact sheets are companions to the Future of the Great Lakes Region report that provides a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, demographic, and social trends in the region, coupled with projections on how those trends will play out in the future. These six fact sheets highlight economic and demographic trends particularly salient for each of the states in the region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin).

Future of the Great Lakes: Indiana State Facts

These fact sheets are companions to the Future of the Great Lakes Region report that provides a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, demographic, and social trends in the region, coupled with projections on how those trends will play out in the future. These six fact sheets highlight economic and demographic trends particularly salient for each of the states in the region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin).

Future of the Great Lakes: Michigan State Facts

These fact sheets are companions to the Future of the Great Lakes Region report that provides a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, demographic, and social trends in the region, coupled with projections on how those trends will play out in the future. These six fact sheets highlight economic and demographic trends particularly salient for each of the states in the region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin).

Future of the Great Lakes: Minnesota State Facts

These fact sheets are companions to the Future of the Great Lakes Region report that provides a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, demographic, and social trends in the region, coupled with projections on how those trends will play out in the future. These six fact sheets highlight economic and demographic trends particularly salient for each of the states in the region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin).

Future of the Great Lakes: Ohio State Facts

These fact sheets are companions to the Future of the Great Lakes Region report that provides a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, demographic, and social trends in the region, coupled with projections on how those trends will play out in the future. These six fact sheets highlight economic and demographic trends particularly salient for each of the states in the region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin).

Future of the Great Lakes: Wisconsin State Facts