You Won’t Believe The Size of Rochester’s Daytime Population
It's no surprise that many people commute into Rochester to work downtown at Mayo Clinic each weekday, but just how big does the population get each day?
A friend and I were talking not too long ago about downtown Rochester, and how the many people you see on the sidewalks downtown during the week reminded him of being in a much bigger city-- like St. Paul, for example-- or on the U of M campus in Minneapolis between classes.
I said that I thought I recalled seeing a survey that put Rochester's weekday population much higher than our most recent 2018 population estimate of 115,733 (according to this World Population Survey), courtesy of all the commuters who might live elsewhere in Minnesota but head here to Rochester to work each day.
And sure enough, if you look at this survey from 2013, it shows that Rochester's population swells by a significant amount during the workday. According to this Post-Bulletin story, there are nearly "5,000 daytime commuters in Rochester," Phil Wheeler, the now-retired former planning director for Rochester/Olmsted County, said. Of course, that story is now five years old, and most likely, that number has gotten even larger.
So, when you add up all of Mayo Clinic's and IBM's daily commuters, along with Rochester Public Schools commuters as well as the over 6,000 hotel rooms the story says are available in the Med City, puts our workday population closer to 165,000 or even higher.
That's a pretty big number, which makes for a fairly decent-sized city. It's no surprise Rochester is already the third biggest city in Minnesota behind Minneapolis and St. Paul and is the largest outside the Twin Cities metro area.
Of course, here's another reason to believe those numbers: Check out the traffic on Civic Center Drive or Highway-52 north any weekday afternoon between 4 and 6 p.m.!