Poverty: Facts & Figures

Tracking how many people in Minnesota live in poverty can help describe the burden of poverty in our state, show trends over time, and help identify disparities. A family of two adults and two children was below the poverty threshold if their annual household income was less than $24,036, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 thresholds. See About the poverty data for more information.

Poverty affects health

Poverty is related to health. People living in poverty have a greater risk for things like asthma attacks and hospitalizations, childhood lead poisoning, and cardiovascular disease. People in poverty often live in areas with more outdoor air pollution (e.g., particulate matter).

Poverty has increased in Minnesota

The prevalence of Minnesotans living in poverty has gone up over time, for both age groups shown in the chart below. In Minnesota, about 12% of people of all ages (and about 15% of children under the age of 18) were in poverty in 2014. Poverty increased significantly in 2009 and has since remained relatively stable. Although Minnesota has a lower proportion of people living in poverty than the U.S. average, it affects more than one in nine Minnesotans.

Poverty in Minnesota over time

Source: American Community Survey 1-year estimates.

There are racial and ethnic disparities in poverty

The prevalence of poverty in Minnesota differs between race and ethnicity groups. The groups displayed in the chart below are defined by the census and are not mutually exclusive. The most recent 5-year estimate indicates that 37% of black Minnesotans and 36% of American Indian or Alaska Natives living in Minnesota are in poverty, the highest prevalences compared to the other racial/ethnic groups, followed by 24% of Hispanics (of any race). White Minnesotans had the lowest prevalence of poverty at 9%.

Poverty in Minnesota by race and ethnicity

Source: 2014 American Community Survey 5-year estimates (2010-2014). Note: these categories represent the single race alone and both Hispanic and non-Hispanic ethnicity (unless otherwise noted). "Other race" includes responses such as multiracial, mixed, interracial, or a Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish group.

Educational attainment and poverty are related

The prevalence of poverty decreases for Minnesotans that have received more education. In 2014, a quarter of adults that had not completed high school were in poverty, compared to less than 10% of Minnesotans that either attended or completed collage. Each group was significantly higher from the next education category.

Poverty in Minnesota by education

Source: 2014 American Community Survey 1-year estimates.

Poverty differs across the state

The prevalence of poverty differs by geography across the state. In 2014, about 12% of all Minnesotans were in poverty and 15% of children. In the metro area, Hennepin and Ramsey Counties had a significantly higher proportion of residents of all ages living in poverty than the statewide average, at 13% and 17%, respectively. Other than those counties, the metro area had a lower proportion of residents of all ages living in poverty. The prevalence of poverty was also higher in several counties across the state, but especially in the Northeast and Northwest regions of the state.

Childhood poverty followed a similar geographic pattern, with significantly higher poverty in Hennepin (18%) and Ramsey (25%) Counties, a lower proportion of children in poverty in the other metro area counties, and several counties across the state (but especially in the Northeast and Northwest regions) with higher poverty than the statewide average of 15%.

Poverty in Minnesota

Below 100% poverty threshold. Source: 2014 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. These poverty maps and the accompanying data table are available for download.
Children aged 0-18 years below 100% poverty threshold. Source: 2014 American Community Survey 5-year estimates (2010-2014). These poverty maps and the accompanying data table are available for download.
Region All ages Children
Minnesota 11.5% 14.8%
Aitkin County 11.9% 13.2%
Anoka County 7.6% 10.5%
Becker County 13.5% 18.5%
Beltrami County 20.5% 26.0%
Benton County 14.2% 18.0%
Big Stone County 13.2% 22.5%
Blue Earth County 18.9% 15.0%
Brown County 8.4% 9.3%
Carlton County 13.7% 16.0%
Carver County 4.4% 4.5%
Cass County 17.0% 28.7%
Chippewa County 11.2% 17.2%
Chisago County 6.4% 5.3%
Clay County 12.9% 14.2%
Clearwater County 16.7% 24.1%
Cook County 8.7% 12.1%
Cottonwood County 16.2% 20.3%
Crow Wing County 11.8% 14.8%
Dakota County 7.8% 10.8%
Dodge County 6.7% 9.2%
Douglas County 10.0% 11.1%
Faribault County 13.2% 22.2%
Fillmore County 11.4% 15.6%
Freeborn County 11.5% 15.0%
Goodhue County 10.4% 15.3%
Grant County 9.9% 16.0%
Hennepin County 12.9% 17.5%
Houston County 11.3% 16.6%
Hubbard County 12.6% 18.7%
Isanti County 7.2% 7.3%
Itasca County 13.1% 20.1%
Jackson County 11.1% 16.1%
Kanabec County 14.8% 22.8%
Kandiyohi County 13.4% 22.0%
Kittson County 10.3% 13.3%
Koochiching County 15.9% 18.3%
Lac qui Parle County 8.3% 8.8%
Lake County 13.5% 22.4%
Lake of the Woods County 7.2% 5.9%
Le Sueur County 9.1% 10.9%
Lincoln County 9.7% 8.0%
Lyon County 14.0% 17.9%
McLeod County 7.8% 11.1%
Mahnomen County 26.7% 39.4%
Marshall County 7.7% 8.1%
Martin County 10.6% 17.3%
Meeker County 10.3% 14.0%
Mille Lacs County 12.8% 16.6%
Morrison County 12.1% 12.8%
Mower County 14.9% 20.1%
Murray County 10.0% 13.3%
Nicollet County 10.7% 9.1%
Nobles County 16.2% 21.4%
Norman County 13.0% 21.2%
Olmsted County 8.7% 9.9%
Otter Tail County 11.0% 14.6%
Pennington County 9.0% 9.8%
Pine County 15.2% 21.7%
Pipestone County 11.7% 16.6%
Polk County 13.0% 15.0%
Pope County 9.6% 10.5%
Ramsey County 16.8% 24.6%
Red Lake County 11.8% 15.7%
Redwood County 10.6% 15.0%
Renville County 11.9% 19.3%
Rice County 11.8% 16.9%
Rock County 13.6% 19.4%
Roseau County 10.3% 15.9%
St. Louis County 17.0% 20.6%
Scott County 5.7% 6.5%
Sherburne County 7.8% 9.0%
Sibley County 10.8% 19.2%
Stearns County 13.4% 12.6%
Steele County 11.0% 17.1%
Stevens County 17.2% 9.9%
Swift County 10.4% 14.4%
Todd County 16.1% 25.5%
Traverse County 9.3% 10.5%
Wabasha County 7.6% 10.8%
Wadena County 17.2% 24.1%
Waseca County 9.9% 13.8%
Washington County 5.7% 7.0%
Watonwan County 9.9% 13.1%
Wilkin County 9.2% 8.8%
Winona County 15.1% 12.7%
Wright County 6.3% 7.3%
Yellow Medicine County 13.2% 19.4%
Below 100% poverty threshold. Children aged 0-18 years. Source: 2014 American Community Survey 5-year estimates (2010-2014). These poverty maps and the accompanying data table are available for download.