A closer look at Minnesota’s inequalities

Minnesota continues to outperform most states on key measures like poverty, income and health insurance, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. However, a deeper look at the 2012 American Community Survey show that Minnesota’s communities of color live in a very different reality.

Our new issue brief, Minnesota: The Land of Unequal Opportunity, finds that Minnesota enjoys a lower poverty rate, a higher median income and a higher proportion of people with health insurance than most other states. However, many communities of color have higher poverty and uninsurance rates, and lower incomes than white Minnesotans. And people of color in Minnesota are often worse off than their national counterparts. For example, the poverty rate for African-American Minnesotans is almost 10 percentage points higher than the poverty rate for African-Americans nationally.

Minnesotans of Color Have Higher Poverty Rates Than U.S. Average
Minnesota United States
All Races and Ethnicities 11.4 percent* 15.9 percent
Black/African-American 37.8 percent* 28.1 percent
American Indian 31.9 percent 29.1 percent
Hispanic/Latino 25.7 percent 25.4 percent
Asian 15.9 percent* 13.0 percent
White (non-Hispanic) 8.1 percent* 11.0 percent
* Significantly different than U.S. average

Policy choices can enable more Minnesotans to share in the state’s overall success. Food assistance, child care assistance, Unemployment Insurance and affordable health insurance can help stabilize families. Increasing workers’ earning potential and improving job quality can help many more Minnesotans achieve economic security.

Minnesota is becoming more diverse, and we can’t afford to leave significant portions of our workforce on the sidelines. Minnesota’s future depends on the choices we’re making today.

-Caitlin Biegler

About Clark Biegler

Clark Biegler is the Minnesota Budget Project’s policy analyst. She researches and writes about state tax and budget issues. Clark holds a Master of Public Policy degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. She interned at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute in Washington, DC, Third Way in Washington, DC, Lutheran Social Services, and the Alabama State Office of Primary Care and Rural Health.
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