ABAG Releases Preliminary Bay Area Growth Projections


The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has released proposed preliminary revised projections for the Plan Bay Area 2040 update.


Population is projected to rise from 7.2 million in 2010 to 9.4 million in 2040, employment from 3.4 million in 2010 to 4.6 million in 2040, and households from 2.6 million in 2010 to 3.4 million in 2040.


These levels are a slight increase from ABAG’s previous forecast, released in 2013, ranging from a 1.5 percent increase in population over the Projections 2013 level, a 2.1 percent increase in employment projections and a 2.4 percent increase in household projections.


The preliminary projections also include a regional housing control total of 3.6 million housing units, which covers not only housing for the higher household count but additional units to mitigate an estimated increase in commute flow (requirement of a legal settlement with the Building Industry Association after Plan Bay Area 2013).


Housing unit projections are 4.2 percent higher (147,001 more units, which includes the legally required 28,000 units to offset the projected in-commute numbers) than in Plan Bay Area 2013.


ABAG’s projections are being updated as part of a minor update to Plan Bay Area. The projections update recognizes changing information on economic conditions and population growth in the region over the past five years and also applies new analytic tools.


ABAG is releasing these preliminary projections to the ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC) committees to provide opportunity for review, comment and discussion before the numbers are finalized for the Plan Bay Area 2040.


“This preliminary update is one of many futures possible for the Bay Area. Developed through various methodologies, what we are calling ABAG 2017p,reflects an economy that continues to grow, but not always at the rate experienced from 2010 to 2015,”said ABAG’s Chief Economist, Cynthia Kroll.


“After the boom of the past five years (when recovery from a recession mixed with new industry expansion), the region’s employment growth rate could slow compared to the nation for some period,” she said. “Over the longer term, population and housing will also need to expand to enable the region to maintain a competitive edge.”


Building on the completed State of the Region report released in March 2015, these modified projections frame the regional forecast for the 2017 update of Plan Bay Area. “We are seeking a ‘realistic’ set of numbers, meaning a projection that could reasonably occur given feasible relaxation of our most constraining limitations. At the same time, Plan Bay Area is aspirational and intentional, prescribing policies to help overcome barriers and allow housing, household, population and job growth,” commented Kroll.


Plan Bay Area is the region’s long-range transportation and housing plan with the long-term goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks, house the region’s projected population, improve public health and maintain and improve the region’s transportation infrastructure, and open space.


Developed by ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and adopted in July 2013, the plan is currently undergoing a minor revision. More information is available at http://planbayarea.org/plan-bay-area.html.


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