AGMV Youth Incentive Program Press Release

Cash Prizes Available for Schools and Youth Groups

Regional planners look to local youth for input on how Madison and Dane County should grow

For release:          Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Contact:               Steve Steinhoff, Deputy Director, Capitol Area Regional Planning Commission

MADISON, WI – Local youth will soon have a say in how Madison and Dane County grows. As an added bonus, local leaders from business, government and the nonprofit sector are offering cash donations to the youth groups that are the most engaged in a new initiative to gather public feedback.

The regional planning effort is called A Greater Madison Vision whose mission is to develop a shared vision and plan in order to guide public and private decisions about how the region grows. With more public input, we can foster exceptional quality of life, economic opportunity, and a healthy environment for all.

Dane County residents – including students and youth involved in local clubs, faith groups and other activities – will be able to give their feedback September 12 through November 12 through A Greater Madison Vision’s online survey to allow people to share their needs in 10 minutes. The online survey will explore four alternative futures considering housing, jobs, transportation, roads, rural preservation, water and the environment, and ask people to provide their opinion on how the region should grow.

Organizations that generate the most survey completions can earn cash donations. Smaller youth groups, schools, or faith groups (with budgets under $100,000) could earn a first-place prize of $4000. Larger groups (with budgets over $100,000) could win up to $6000.

“Goodman Community Center will encourage students to take A Greater Madison Survey because it helps them understand that their opinion matters about how our region grows,’ said Megan Dow, Youth Programs Manager. “The survey tackles issues that will be important to the next generation of Dane County residents. It’s never too early to start teaching young people that urban planning and government decisions about resource sharing depend on their input and involvement.”

Youth groups can participate by contacting Malissa at by August 17, 2018.

A Greater Madison Vision will develop a shared vision and plan to guide public and private decisions about how the region grows, to foster exceptional quality of life, economic opportunity and a healthy environment for all. Learn more online at


View PDF of press release.

Population in Greater Madison Region counties rebounds in 2017

The Applied Population Lab (APL) at UW-Madison reported in April that, while Dane County continues to lead population growth in the state, many other counties have recently rebounded from earlier declines and slow growth. The Regional Planning Commission looked at the data for the counties surrounding Dane County to see if this rebound applied to them as well.

Between 2010 and 2017 Dane County grew by an estimated 48,341 people. That increase constituted 45% of the state’s population growth of 108,195. As previously reported, Dane County’s growth during this period already surpassed the state of Wisconsin’s population projection for the county during 2010 to 2020 decade, of 42,547.


Source: UW-Madison Applied Population Laboratory, “April Notes from APL,” reporting data from U.S. Census Bureau county population estimates.

The APL also reported that suburban, manufacturing and recreation/retirement counties have rebounded, and are gaining in-migrants. Compared to the 2010 to 2016 period, where most counties lost population or showed slow gains, year from 2016 to 2017 showed much stronger increases.

The Regional Planning Commission looked at the data for the counties surrounding Dane County to see if this rebound applied to them as well. The chart below shows that Dodge, Green and Iowa counties rebounded from average annual population declines during 2010 to 2016, to experience population increases.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, county population estimates (PEP_2017_PEPTCOMP_with_ann)

The other counties – Columbia, Rock, Sauk and Jefferson – show significant increases in annual population gains from the 2010-2016 to 2016-2017 periods. Sauk County in particular more than tripled its annual increase, while Dodge also experienced a large increase.

A significant increase in net migration (in-migration minus out-migration) accounted for most of the rebound among these seven counties. All of them except Jefferson experienced negative net migration from 2010 to 2016. Yet, all seven of them turned that around in 2017 with increases in net migration.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, county population estimates (PEP_2017_PEPTCOMP_with_ann)

Dane County also experienced healthy net migration of an estimated 3,213 for the year between 2016 and 2017. However, the Census estimates that this was a decrease from the annual average of 3,860 from 2010 to 2016.

While it is too soon to draw many conclusions from a single year of data, the rebound of Wisconsin counties, and counties within the Greater Madison region, is a positive sign. Perhaps the strong national and state economy is attracting more people. Perhaps the vibrant Madison region growth is spreading out to adjacent counties. The coming years will fill in this picture.

Scenarios Survey – Coming September 12, 2018!

scenario survey starts september 12

A Greater Madison Vision is pleased to invite the public to participate in our Scenarios Survey!

Survey runs September 12 through November 12, 2018

Over the next 25 years, the Madison Region’s population is expected to grow by 157,000 people. Take our scenario survey to help us develop a shared vision and plan to guide public and private decisions about this growth.

How will we address a doubling of the aging population, increasing racial and ethnic diversity, and changing housing and living preferences?

Will driverless cars, job automation, artificial intelligence, and e-commerce expansion impact life in the region?

Will social and political changes such as the urban-rural divide and the shifting of responsibilities between local, state, and federal government change how we solve problems?

Will environmental changes, such as climate change and water pollution, influence our decisions?


You can explore and evaluate choices for future growth and development in our region through an online survey between September 12 and November 12, 2018. The survey gathers public input for the next regional land use plan, which will guide regional growth and development through 2050.

National Trend Toward Suburban and Rural Growth: Where Does Madison Fit In?

Following the Great Recession, the larger, more urban metro regions grew faster while suburban and rural areas declined or grew more slowly. A recent study of newly released census data by the Brookings Institution showed that growth patterns are returning to pre-recession trends: more growth in suburbs, exurbs and rural areas. There was, however, one exception: more growth in “middle of the country” metros.

How does the Greater Madison area fit in the national picture of recent growth?

The Madison metropolitan area (Columbia, Dane, Green and Iowa counties) were one of the “middle of the country” metro regions gaining population.

According to the new data, the greater Madison region grew by 47,652 people between 2010 and 2017, to a total of 654,230. That equates to an annual average growth rate of 1.1%. Most of the growth occurred in Dane County, which grew by 47,209 people, at an average annual growth rate of 1.4%.

However, Madison is growing much slower than the top ten fastest growing US metro areas, which grew at annual rates of 2.5% to 4.0%. This includes the Austin region, which added 55,269 people in one year (2016 to 2017), an increase of 2.7%. During that same year, the Madison region added 6,798 people, ranking number 60 for annual growth among the top 100 most populous regions in the country.

Where did that growth in the Madison region occur? Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) population estimates* for Dane County show 48% of the growth from 2010 to 2017 occurred in the city of Madison. The small cities – Sun Prairie, Verona, Stoughton, Middleton, Monona and Fitchburg – accounted for 22% of the growth. The 19 villages captured 16% and the unincorporated towns 14%.

How and where will the Greater Madison region grow in the future? A Greater Madison Vision explores this question in different alternative futures. Stay tuned to learn more about the different futures and the chance to tell decision makers what type of future you want for the region.

* DOA population estimate differ somewhat from U.S. Census estimates. DOA estimates a Dane County increase of 35,376 from 2010 to 2017; an annual average increase of 1.0%. 

Is the Greater Madison Region’s Population Poised to Take Off?

A Greater Madison Vision projects that Dane County’s population will increase by about 157,000 people between 2015 and 2050. If that were to happen, about 670,000 people would live in Dane County by 2050.

But could growth happen faster than official predictions anticipate? Some signs certainly point that direction.

157,000 additional people would be approximately two full Camp Randall stadiums’ worth of new residents.

First, the Madison region stacks up well against top tech industry regions like San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston. In fact, just this week, an economic study reported that the Madison region’s economy is the 13th strongest in the nation. Various firms, investors, analysts, and tech workers are taking notice.

Ranking 6th among the top metros in advanced industry output and 11th for job growth, the Greater Madison Region’s tech industry experienced a 30 percent growth rate, leading the country within that industry.

Second, the recent addition of direct flights between Madison and San Francisco strengthens the connections between Madison and the Bay Area’s tech sector.

If these signs do indeed point to a high-tech economy that’s about to take off, how much additional population growth might we see? Two “what ifs” shed light on that question.

1) What if growth in the region continues its recent, faster pace?
Since 2010, Dane County grew faster than the State of Wisconsin’s official demographic projections. If growth continues at that pace, the county would add about 253,600 people by 2050, an additional 96,000 residents compared to the standard projection.

2) What if the region is at a “tipping point” similar to what other regions have experienced, and population growth accelerates?
The City of Austin, TX has experienced extremely rapid growth in the past generation or two. Austin’s population in 1970 was about 250,000, or about where Madison’s is now. Today, Austin is home to 950,000 people, with over 2 million people in its metro area. Needless to say, Austin’s growth vastly exceeded what the official State of Texas numbers predicted. Austin revised its own growth projections upward based on recent in-migration and thinks that its population by 2040 could be 38 percent higher than the state projections. Austin, like other cities, experienced a huge population and economic boom associated with a rapidly expanding tech and services economy. If we applied that same logic to projections for the Madison region, we could add 350,000 people by 2050.

Current signs point to faster growth than projected. This has implications for how we invest in transportation, what kinds of housing and neighborhoods we build, how we protect the health of our lakes, rivers, and soil, and many other issues. How much will Madison grow? Only time will tell, but it is smart to consider the possibilities.