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).
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
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
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 college. Each group was significantly higher from the next education category.
Poverty in Minnesota by education
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
|Big Stone County||13.2%||22.5%|
|Blue Earth County||18.9%||15.0%|
|Crow Wing County||11.8%||14.8%|
|Lac qui Parle County||8.3%||8.8%|
|Lake of the Woods County||7.2%||5.9%|
|Le Sueur County||9.1%||10.9%|
|Mille Lacs County||12.8%||16.6%|
|Otter Tail County||11.0%||14.6%|
|Red Lake County||11.8%||15.7%|
|St. Louis County||17.0%||20.6%|
|Yellow Medicine County||13.2%||19.4%|