Trends overview

Minnesota is undergoing major demographic shifts, including an aging population and increasing racial and ethnic diversity. What does it mean for the future of our state?

Cradle to career success
Building a pathway to success begins early, but Minnesota is home to large gaps by race and income all along the cradle-to-career continuum. Our youngest residents are more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations, and these disparities will grow unless we address them now.

  • The gap in 3rd grade reading proficiency remains stubborn by income and race. Fifty-seven percent of all 3rd-grade students in Minnesota are proficient in reading, but 38 percent of lower-income students and 39 percent of 3rd-graders of color meet state reading standards.
  • Statewide, there are wide and persistent gaps in 8th grade math proficiency by income and race. Fifty-eight percent of Minnesota's 8th-graders achieve state standards in math; this drops to 36 percent of lower-income students and 39 percent of students of color.
  • Eighty-two percent of Minnesota's students graduate from high school on time, representing several years of improvement in our on-time graduation rate. Improvements in on-time graduation have been even more pronounced among students of color. In fact, students of all races and ethnicities that we track on Minnesota Compass have seen steady improvements in on-time graduation every year since 2011.

Read more about Minnesota's children and youth
Measuring our children's well-being
Elizabeth Carlson, University of Minnesota
Richard Chase, Wilder Research
Minnesota's students: 4 noteworthy trends
Allison Liuzzi, Wilder Research
Instilling the value of civic engagement in youth
Jennifer Valorose, Wilder Research

Strong, vibrant economy and workforce
On the whole, Minnesota has recovered from the economic downturn that took a toll on jobs, incomes, and other measures of economic well-being in the late 2000s. How well are we building a climate for competitive business opportunities and a prepared workforce to strengthen our economic vitality around the state?

  • Median household income stands at $65,600 in Minnesota, up $1,300 from the previous year and on par with median household income before the Great Recession.
  • But Minnesota is home to some of the largest racial gaps in employment in the nation. We rank among the bottom ten states in the gap in employment between whites and American Indians, Asian, Blacks, and Hispanics.

Read more about building a strong workforce and economy
Promoting a talented, diverse workforce
Michael Langley, GREATER MSP
Hiring difficulties: Skills gap or more complex?
Steve Hine, DEED
Building a Pipeline of Talent
Marilee Grant, Boston Scientific

Healthy Communities
Overall, Minnesota is home to active residents who feel that their work can have an impact as part of a larger community and who work together for common goals. But are we engaging diverse groups and creating opportunities for everyone?

Read more about creating healthy communities
A new look at civic engagement: 4 take-aways
Allison Liuzzi, Wilder Research
Looking at the Twin Cities' well-being through a new lens
Craig Helmstetter, Wilder Research
Starting a fire, to improve health
Paul Mattessich, Wilder Research
The case for place: An interview with Max Musicant
Max Musicant, The Musicant Group


Compass Points 2017

Includes notable trends, key demographics, and a dashboard look at how our state fares in key topic areas.

Featured trend

No change in median household income
aging trend

No change in median household income in most major cities

Most of Minnesota's major cities (10,000+ residents) saw no change in median household income between the 2007-2011 and 2012-2016 time periods, according to new five-year estimates from the American Community Survey. But 8 of 97 major cities in Minnesota saw median household income increase and seven major cities saw median household income decline.

See more median income trends.



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Nearly 78,000 people visited the Minnesota Compass web site approximately 123,000 times in 2017 to find reliable data and analysis about how Minnesota is doing in key areas. Here is the content on our site that was most popular in the last year.

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