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How Different Groups are Faring in Minnesota’s Economy

A look at different statistics for 17 cultural groups in Minnesota helps illustrate how different residents are doing economically.

How Different Groups are Faring in Minnesota’s Economy
The unemployment rates for most Minnesotans of color are higher than for white Minnesotans. (Photo by: Eduardo Cabrera / Unsplash).

On-the-whole, Minnesotans are doing better than they were a few years ago. We learned that much from a Census release in September 2018 that showed that incomes are rising.

But we also learned then that there are stark disparities when you look at the economic status of black, white, Asian, Hispanic and Latino, and Native American Minnesotans.

A newer report shows there are lots of disparities within those broad racial and ethnic groups, too.

Here are five things we learned from newer data on the economic status of Minnesotans. Released by the Minnesota State Demographic Center in January, this report looks at stats for 17 cultural groups, helping us better understand the nuances of the state’s population, and disparities between different groups.

There are a lot of cultural groups that make up the 19.7 percent of Minnesotans who are people of color.

African-American Minnesotans and Mexican Minnesotans make up the largest cultural groups among Minnesotans of color, followed by Hmong and Somali Minnesotans. (Note that because of population size, there can be significant margins of error in the data, and not all cultural groups are included in the data because some weren’t large enough to make estimates about).

Minnesotans of color tend to be much younger than white Minnesotans

That’s especially the case for Somali, Hmong and Mexican Minnesotans, nearly half of whom are under age 21. While the median Minnesotan is 37 years old, and the median white Minnesotan is 41, the median Somali and Hmong Minnesota is 22, and the median Mexican Minnesotan is 23.That means Minnesota’s future workforce is going to be significantly more diverse than its current workforce.

The share of Minnesotans with a bachelor’s degree or higher varies a lot by cultural group

Asian Minnesotans have some of the highest rates of education in the state — and some of the lowest: 84 percent of Asian Indian Minnesotans adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher; and Chinese, Korean and Filipino Minnesotans also have high rates of educational attainment. But just 11 percent of Lao Minnesotan have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

That means that unless Minnesota can address some of the inequities in who goes to college, it’ll be tough for the state to make up for that looming workforce shortage, said Megan Dayton, senior demographer at the Minnesota State Demographic Center.

Incomes vary a lot, too

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Among Asian Minnesotans, for example, Asian Indian Minnesotans have a median household income of about $105,000, the highest of any group in the state, while Hmong Minnesotans’ median household income is around $61,000 and Korean Minnesotans’ is around $53,000.

It’s not just foreign-born Minnesotans who are having a tough time economically

The unemployment rates for most Minnesotans of color are higher than for white Minnesotans. What’s more, the unemployment rates for Ojibwe and African-American Minnesotans are higher than they are for Somali and Hmong Minnesotans, and other groups that include many new Americans. For other indicators, the patterns are much the same.“We definitely have some long-festering barriers for some particular communities of color,” Dayton said. “And these folks are not new immigrants.”

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