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Twin Cities region geographic profiles: 5 enhancements you will love

Ellen Wolter

The custom mapping tool and extensive contextual data found in the neighborhood profiles have quickly become among the most popular features on Compass, and we have begun to roll them out statewide. First up is the Twin Cities region!

We are excited to share these 5 enhancements:

Twin Cities region profiles1. Updated and more in-depth information about the region’s cities to better understand current conditions

In addition to updated information, the Twin Cities region profiles for cities with populations of 1000+ now contain more information about the people who live there and more context within topic areas. For example, the new profiles dig deeper into housing data, including detailing the number of homeowners and renters, the average household sizes for both owners and renters, the year households moved into their current units, and median rent. The new profiles not only show the number of people living in poverty, but also include the number living below 150 percent and 200 percent of the poverty level and more detailed categories for the number of people by age living in poverty.

2. Addition of forecasting and employment data to help guide future planning

New data sources have been added to the city profiles, including Metropolitan Council forecasts for population, housing, and employment.

The total population of Victoria, for example, is expected to grow by 75 percent between 2015 and 2040, whereas inner-ring-suburb of Eden Prairie and the city of Minneapolis are projected to grow 30 percent and 6 percent, respectively, during this time.

The Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) data which provide information on workforce characteristics such as worker earnings, industry of employment, and employment location have also been added providing much richer data about the  each city’s resident workforce than previously available on our site.

3. Custom mapping for the entire region

Previously limited to Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Duluth neighborhoods, our custom mapping tool is now available for the entire Twin Cities 7-county region.

This mapping tool allows planners and community leaders to identify and learn about small geographic areas where data may not be readily available. Our tool allows you to create a customized profile by selecting or drawing the geographic region of interest; the tool will then produce a data profile for this area showing demographic, housing and employment statistics for that area. For example, you may want to use this tool to:

  • See how many people are currently housing cost-burdened within a 1-mile radius of a current or planned subsidized housing development.
  • Identify the number of people living in the several census tracts that make up a redevelopment area within a city, as well as their demographic characteristics.
  • Find out the employment characteristics or current commuting modes for those living within a quarter mile of a current or planned transit corridor that goes through several cities.

Read a tutorial for using the custom profiles or explore the custom profiles tool.

4. More choices for building profiles: counties, cities, townships, and school districts

With the expansion to the Twin Cities area, users can now pull data profiles for counties, cities, townships, and school districts as well as build custom profiles within these geographic levels. For example, does your organization provide early childhood education programs for low-income children living in the East Metro? Build a data profile by clicking on Washington, Dakota, and Ramsey counties to build an “East Metro” profile to learn that 18 percent of children under age 5 live in poverty in the East Metro. Or use the school district layer to learn that 33 percent of children under age 5 living in the St. Paul Public School District live in poverty compared with 23 percent in the Roseville Public School District, and 6 percent in the South Washington County School district.

5. Going statewide!

The enhanced city profiles are available for all cities (1000+ population) in Minnesota. This is the first step in our plan to expand more comprehensive data profiles and custom mapping tools to all regions in Minnesota, with further options to contract for additional customization similar to Minneapolis-St PaulDuluth and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Service Area profiles. As we develop these enhancements, we will be reaching out to regional stakeholders soon to learn more about local data needs.

What’s next for the region?

In addition to our statewide expansion efforts, we are continuing to develop features for the Twin Cities custom mapping tool which will be rolled out in early 2017. These features will include a comparison profile report which will allow users to compare cities side by side. For example, a user may choose to view side-by-side data tables for the cities of Apple Valley and Roseville to allow for easy comparison of geographies. We will also be integrating new geographic layers. First up will be major transit corridors in the Twin Cities area followed by legislative districts in the coming year.

Ellen Wolter is a research scientist at Wilder Research and led the development of the new Twin Cities region geographic profiles section of Minnesota Compass.