Fifty-Six Percent Increase in MN Children Living in Poverty

September 28, 2010

For Immediate Release

Fifty-Six Percent Increase in Minnesota Children Living in Poverty

ST. PAUL, MINN–The percentage of children living in poverty in Minnesota increased 56 percent since the beginning of the decade. Between 2008 and 2009, almost 34,000 more children were living in poverty. Almost 60,000 more Minnesota children lived in poverty since 2000 according to the American Community Survey. (Poverty is defined as an annual income of below $21,947 for a four-person family.)

Compared to other states, Minnesota’s children are doing worse, dropping from 5th place to 12th place in the percentage of children living in poverty. 

What does this mean for our state’s future? What we know is that children’s outcomes worsen over time when impacted by poverty. With less food, warmth, and other basic needs and more family stress, babies can’t thrive. In fact, their brains suffer as a consequence of these ‘toxic stresses.’ 

With more Minnesota children living in poverty, the state will suffer even greater long-term fallout. Conversely, investments in children today can reap tremendous dividends in the future. By investing in education, food supports, quality child care, safe neighborhoods, health insurance for every child, we as a state can look forward to a successful and prepared workforce. Businesses prosper with a solid workforce and the state can reap the ensuing benefits.

Jim Koppel, CDF–Minnesota director expressed his alarm at the numbers of children in poverty: “We know that every child that’s left behind today will do worse in school, have a greater chance of dropping out, and earn less as an adult. By investing in our children, we are really putting our dollars to work towards our futures, our retirements, and our communities. Minnesota has led the nation but we are falling behind – we must do better for our children today for the sake of our tomorrows.”

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See tables ACS Child Poverty Data: MN Statewide and the 7-County Metro Area 2000 to 2009