Measuring progress. Inspiring action.

March 2017

New ways to build, compare, and draw data, oh my!

Now you ca compare profiles!Ellen Wolter

Minnesota Compass is excited to announce two new features to help you use data to learn more about your community!

Compare custom profiles side by side!

We created a new ‘Compare’ tool for Minneapolis-St.Paul, Duluth, and the Twin Cities that allows you to view and compare two data profiles side by side for easier viewing and analysis. You decide the data profile that you need and when you’ve made your selections, click View Profile and you’ve got your profile, tailored just for you.

Now you can easily build and compare profiles to learn:

  • How your community fares compared to another, similar area
  • Differences across geographic regions, such as school districts and counties, or between areas you create (e.g., Twin Cities East Metro vs. West Metro)
  • Characteristics of planned and existing transit corridors

Visitors to the Minnesota Compass website can still draw and build profiles by selecting predefined areas, such as counties, cities, and school districts, on the map to pull population, housing, and workforce characteristics into profiles.

View data along the light rail and rapid bus transit lines!
Now you can also pull data for transit corridors and officially designated neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as official Minneapolis “communities” (made up of several neighborhoods).


Build a comparison profile


Four new ways to build a profile:

1. Compare one city to another

Compare one city to another -- like MInneapolis and St. Paul


With the new comparison tool, you can easily pull, view, and analyze data from two similar geography types, such as two cities. For example, you can compare the ways Minneapolis and St. Paul are similar or different. While there are many similarities between these “Twin Cities,” did you know:

  • 47% of Minneapolis residents have a college education compared to 39% of St. Paul residents.
  • 70% of St. Paul residents travel less than 10 miles to work compared with 78% of Minneapolis residents.
  • There are more households with children under 18 in St. Paul (31%) than in Minneapolis (24%).
  • The foreign-born population in St. Paul (19%) is slightly higher than in Minneapolis (16%).

See Minneapolis and St. Paul profile here


2. Combine multiple areas for comparisons.

Compare two regions, like MSp and Shakopee


Create a profile specific to your needs by combining multiple areas into one. For example, Amazon recently brought jobs to the Shakopee region. However, community leaders have identified concerns about whether the surrounding workforce can fill these jobs. Using our tool, community leaders interested in better understanding the workforce for Shakopee and the surrounding area could build a profile and learn that there are a higher number of unemployed residents living in St. Paul and Minneapolis compared to Shakopee and surrounding cities (8% compared with 4%). They could also learn that 17 percent of households in Minneapolis and St. Paul do not have a car, making transportation challenging for those workers who are interested in jobs in the West Metro. Also, housing is less affordable in this area than it is in the Twin Cities—the median rent in the region around Shakopee in 2015 was $1,142 and in the Twin Cities was $869.

See MSP and Shakopee area profile here


3. Compare a neighborhood to a city.

Compare a neighborhood to a city -- for example, the child poverty rate in the City of Minneapolis compared to the Phillips community of Minneapolis


Now you can compare different geography types (e.g., cities vs. counties, neighborhoods vs. cities). For instance, if you are working with Minneapolis Public Schools to create an early childhood education program in south Minneapolis, you might want to know the number of kids living in poverty in the Phillips community compared with the total number of kids living in poverty in the Minneapolis School District. Our custom mapping tool estimates the total number of kids living in poverty for multiple geography views, such as neighborhoods, cities, school districts and counties. Poverty data from the American Community Survey is adjusted to fit within geographic regions, such as the Minneapolis School District. Using our new profile comparison feature, you would learn that the Phillips community has a much higher poverty rate among kids under 5 than all of Minneapolis:  57 percent of children under 5 live in poverty in Phillips compared with 30 percent in Minneapolis as a whole.

See Phillips Community and Minneapolis profile here


4. Look at data along light rail and rapid bus transit corridors.

Look at data along Light Rail Transit and Bus Rapid Transit corridors, as shown on this map of the Minneapolis-St. Paul region


Data is now available along light rail and rapid bus transit corridors. All currently operating and planned station areas and lines available from Metropolitan Council have been incorporated. Use either the light rail station area view or the rapid bus station area options, which provide data along the ½ mile area around a station. You can build a profile for individual station areas or combine them to see characteristics of an entire operating or planned transit corridor, such as the Green Line or Blue Line.

Or use the new comparison tool to build a profile to compare station areas or transit corridors. For example, you are interested in developing affordable housing near the proposed Green Line and would like to know the poverty and workforce characteristics of residents living near the planned Blake Road and West Lake light rail stations. Using the comparison feature, you learn that more residents living near the Blake Road station area live in poverty (17%) and do not have a vehicle (14 %) compared with the West Lake Station area (8% and 5%), respectively.


See Blake Road and West Lake station area profile here  


The comparison tool is now available for the Twin Cities, Duluth, and Minneapolis-St. Paul neighborhood custom profiles. Check them out now!


What’s next?

We are working to expand these features statewide. As we develop these enhancements, we will be reaching out to regional stakeholders to learn more about local data needs. Please connect with us if you are interested in providing feedback!

Ellen Wolter is a research scientist at Wilder Research and leads the geographic profiles section of Minnesota Compass.