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Population Forecast

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning 2040 Forecast of Population, Households and Employment was developed in support of the GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan adopted in October 2010.  GO TO 2040 was updated in accordance with federal law in October 2014, with an adjusted forecast.

The primary function of these data is to serve as an input for CMAP transportation modeling activities, which are an important component in air quality conformity evaluations of the region's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

The GO TO 2040 forecast was developed through the creation of a "reference scenario" based on current population and land use trends. Mathematical modeling techniques were then employed to evaluate how the distribution of population and employment would change in response to different planning strategies that might heighten or dampen the amount of socioeconomic activity within a given area. The data in this forecast reflect the CMAP Preferred Regional Scenario, which was developed in part through a series of Invent the Future workshops held throughout the region between May and September 2009.

This adjusted forecast, released with the GO TO 2040 plan update in October 2014, applies official 2010 population and employment totals to correct for base-year overestimates in the original forecast;  localized growth projections were also modified to reflect updated land use and development assumptions. See Socioeconomic Forecast Update Overview (link below) for more information.

The table below (revised October 2014) summarizes the expected outcomes of the GO TO 2040 Preferred Scenario in comparison to base-year (2010) conditions. These data are used for a variety of regional land use and transportation planning efforts.  

Revised 2040 forecast, October 2014

Associated Files to Download

Excel spreadsheet (132 Kb, revised October 2014) containing 2040 forecast summaries of population, households and employment by county, township and municipality.  Note that the 2010 data presented in this spreadsheet are subzone-level aggregations, and not direct Census figures. Selected 2010 Census SF1 results for CMAP Counties, County Subdivisions (Townships), and Places can be found here (Excel, 265 Kb).

The PDF maps below provide a graphic depiction of the municipalities and townships that subzones were assigned to for generation of municipal/township forecast totals. Please be aware that these subzone aggregations were created for tabulation purposes only, and are not intended to suggest or predict the future extent of any community.

Municipal subzone assignment map (PDF, 8 MB)

Township subzone assignment map (PDF, 6 MB)

The GIS shapefile (2 MB zipped, 9 MB uncompressed; revised October 2014) represents CMAP subzones with 2010 and 2040 (projected) population and employment. Subzone-level forecast data are the result of modeling procedures which mathematically express policies reflected in the GO TO 2040 Preferred Scenario; as such, they cannot be considered precise at any specific (subzone) location. These data are only appropriate for planning purposes when aggregated to larger areas.

Socioeconomic Forecast Update Overview: An appendix to the GO TO 2040 Plan Update describing the processes involved in developing the updated forecast.  (PDF, 18MB)

Socioeconomic Validation and Forecasting Method: A primer on the methods used to develop datasets representing population and employment for long range plan strategy analyses and preferred scenario modeling for the original GO TO 2040 forecast.  This document is in two sections:  Base Conditions describes the efforts involved in developing an estimate of 2010 population and employment prior to the release of official figures.  While the updated forecast replaces these estimates with official figures, this section and associated appendices will serve as a useful guide to others facing a similar task.  Forecasting Urban Activity outlines the approach taken for developing the 2040 forecast, and is the foundation on which the current (October 2014) forecast is based.  (PDF, 2.5MB)

Users of these forecasts should adhere to CMAP's Forecasting Principles when preparing analyses related to GO TO 2040 implementation.

If you have questions regarding any of these documents, please contact us at

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