Report: Solving Wisconsin’s Workforce Challenges Could Exacerbate Housing Shortage

If state lawmakers succeed in their efforts to attract more residents to Wisconsin to address longstanding workforce shortage woes, doing so could further exacerbate the state’s growing need for sufficient housing offerings, according to a new report.

At the core of both issues is Wisconsin’s aging baby boomer population, which will continue to age out of the statewide labor pool over the next decade, yet is projected to increase its share of the state’s limited workforce housing offerings, according to a report released Monday by the Wisconsin Counties Association’s nonpartisan research arm Forward Analytics.

Wisconsin’s adult population is projected to grow by about 204,000 between 2020 and 2030, marking a smaller overall growth compared with the two previous decades, according to the report. At the same time, the number of Wisconsinites 65 or older is also expected to grow by more than 330,000 by 2030, while the population of those under 65 years old is projected to decline by about 130,000 based on migration patterns.

“The modest increase in the number of adults combined with the shift in the age structure of the adult population is what will drive the need for additional housing,” the report notes.

The report notes that Wisconsin will need to build roughly 140,000 new housing units by 2030 in order to compensate for the loss of workforce housing caused by the state’s aging population.

That need for housing will only increase if the state attracts more working age residents, something lawmakers hope to achieve to address the state’s longstanding workforce shortage challenges.