KIDS COUNT-MN Children in High Poverty 94 Percent Increase

February 23, 2012

PRESS RELEASE - February 23, 2012                                                     


MN Children Living in High-Poverty Communities Increased 94 Percent Over Last Decade


ST. PAUL, MINN– The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show that about 7.9 million, or 11 percent, of the nation’s children are growing up in areas where at least 30 percent of residents live below the federal poverty level — about $22,000 per year for a family of four.


According to a new KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot released by the Annie E Casey Foundation on high-poverty neighborhoods, the number of children in high-poverty neighborhoods in Minnesota has almost doubled during the last decade from 35,000 (3%) to 68,000 (5%), which represents a 94 percent increase. Of the 50 largest cities, Minneapolis ranked 44 out of 50 for having some of the highest rates of children (36%) living in high-poverty neighborhoods. At the county level, 12 Minnesota counties had high-poverty neighborhoods. Only two of the 12 were located in the seven-county metro area. Beltrami County had the highest rate of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods followed by Blue Earth and Ramsey Counties.


According to the research, place and child well-being are connected. Communities with high rates of poverty often lack access to resources that are critical to healthy growth and development, including quality education, medical care and safe outdoor spaces.  As neighborhood poverty increases above 20 percent, undesirable affects start to appear for children living in those neighborhoods. Families are more likely to struggle with meeting basic needs and children are at higher risk for poor outcomes. To address these stark numbers, the report recommends investments in early childhood education and public work support programs to help these communities prosper.


These new numbers parallel data released in the 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book, which indicated a significant jump in child poverty over the last decade, as well as an increase in kids living in low-income families. Similar numbers are also supported in the Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book, a project of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota.


The new snapshot includes the latest data for states and for the 50 largest cities. This information is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center (, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. The Data Center allows users to create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and to view real-time information on mobile devices.






Kara Arzamendia, Research Director





Number/Percent of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods by county:

Beltrami: 3,160 (28%)

Blue Earth: 2,493 (21%)

Ramsey: 24,078 (20%)

Nobles: 912 (17%)

Mower: 1,395 (14%)

Hennepin: 29,293 (11%)

St. Louis: 4,054 (10%)

Clay: 796 (6%)

Sherburne: 986 (4%)

Winona: 372 (4%)

Stearns: 686 (2%)

Polk: 79 (1%)