Measuring progress. Inspiring action.

About the project

Minnesota Compass is a social indicators project that measures progress in our state, its seven regions, 87 counties and larger cities. Compass tracks trends in topic areas such as education, economy and workforce, health, housing, public safety, and a host of others.

Compass gives everyone in our state – policymakers, business and community leaders, and concerned individuals who live and work here – a common foundation to identify, understand, and act on issues that affect our communities.

It does this by:

  • Providing unbiased, credible information.
  • Tracking trends and measuring progress on issues that impact our quality of life.
  • Identifying disparities by including trend data by race, age, gender and income whenever possible.
  • Providing additional resources for addressing issues.

Project development

Momentum for this initiative began in 2008 when a similar project, Twin Cities Compass, was launched. Leaders from around the state felt that Compass could be applied to their communities as well. After talking with leaders in business, government, nonprofit and philanthropy from around the state, a group of funders decided to work with Wilder Research to implement Minnesota Compass.

Using Compass

Get facts that matter

Compass gives measurable information in each topic area that shows trends over time. The indicators generally are put into two categories: Key Measures and More Measures. What’s the difference? Key Measures were chosen by topic advisory groups as the most credible and compelling based on criteria developed by a technical committee. More Measures provide additional data in order to gain a more in-depth understanding of the issue, to improve our quality of life.

More about the data

Learn how others have tackled an issue

In each topic area, there is an Ideas at Work section, which is a compendium of local and national strategies and initiatives, backed by research and evaluation, that have been implemented to reach goals and improve quality of life.

Dig deeper

Delve into our virtual library, which contains reports and studies on a wide variety of topics. Don’t see something you think would be of value to others? Recommend it to us.

Improve your community by improving Compass!

Have an idea to enhance our web site? Do you know of a study, report or initiative you think would interest others? Do you have ways to get involved that you’d like to share with others? Have praise to lavish or a bone to pick? Let us know! Contact us to join our mailing list or sign up for an RSS feed from our homepage (all new reports) or by topic of interest (on each topic section library page).

In the media

See how Compass is informing the news


Compass Points 2018

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