Number of Minnesota Children in Poverty Remains High

October 3, 2009

Problem Costs Minnesota an Estimated $5.7 Billion Each Year

The number of Minnesota children living in poverty remains high compared to the start of the decade, costing the state billions of dollars each year, according to the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book by Children?s Defense Fund-Minnesota.

This year's Data Book, The Building Blocks for Successful Children (PDF), has found that 140,000 Minnesota children lived in poverty in 2008. That is more than a 20 percent increase since 2000. While poverty numbers for 2008 were released just days ago, they do not capture the current full economic impact of the recession. In the Data Book, projections estimate that another 44,000 - 56,000 children could enter the ranks of poverty before the economy recovers.

"Poverty for children is not merely unfortunate, it is damaging to our children and to our state's future," said Jim Koppel, CDF-Minnesota Director. "Children living in poverty do not have safe, healthy housing, quality childcare, nutritious meals, and health care coverage. Because of the environments these children live in, they are likely to fall behind in school and be unprepared for the workforce. Our policy makers need to understand that the programs and policies they create can reverse this trend, which is in the long-term interest of our state."

The annual KIDS COUNT publication provides state data based on a variety of indicators that show how Minnesota's children and families are doing. The 2009 book focuses on the Building Blocks of Success for children, highlighting the developmental supports children need to succeed.

The book reports some alarming statistics, but it also highlights actions to eliminate poverty. The book includes a list of organizations that work with families and children to strengthen their supports for future success. These Stars of the State use creative ways to support Minnesota families. View additional county-level data at KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


Losing Ground:

  • 11 percent of Minnesota's children lived in poverty in 2008.
  • 24 percent of Asian children in Minnesota live below the poverty level in 2007, the worst among all 32 states participating in KIDS COUNT with enough Asian children to produce reliable estimates.
  • 88,000 Minnesota children did not have health care coverage in 2008, an increase from 2007.
  • 270,247 (33 percent) Minnesota children received free/reduced price lunch during the 2008-2009 school year.

Gaining Ground:

  • Students dropping out of school has declined 57 percent since 2000.
  • 6,277 children were abused and neglected, a 33 percent decrease from 2002.
  • 10,895 children were arrested for a serious crime, down from 15,398 in 2000.

Kara Arzamendia, Research Director
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