Minnesota 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book

October 28, 2013
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Elaine Cunningham Outreach and Communications Director Office: 651-855-1176 Cell: 651-335-3236

Minnesota 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book

As income inequality grows, childhood investments that start early and focus on education are key

St. Paul, MINN– Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota will release the 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at South Central College (Conference Center C) in Mankato. This year’s Data Book examines the growing economic opportunity gaps that exist for children in our state and how difficult it is for families to depend on work alone to move toward economic stability. Specifically, the book highlights economic inequalities that have grown tremendously over the past few decades causing deep divides across income. Over the last 30 years, income growth in Minnesota has not been shared equally, with those in the top fifth gaining almost $80,000 (78%) and those in the bottom fifth only gaining a little over $4,000 (18%).

Reviewing data pre and post recession for Minnesota, the share of household income fell for every income quintile except those in the top. The most affluent Minnesotans had their share of income grow by more than 2 percent from 2006 to 2011 compared to the bottom quintile that fell by more than 6 percent during the same period. This suggests that families can be working hard but lose ground as expenses like housing, utilities, transportation, tuition and child care continue to increase.

“Related to economic inequality is economic mobility, which measures how much working hard can help people move up and down the income ladder,” said Peggy Flanagan, executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. “Contrary to popular belief, research shows that the income an individual is born into might have more to do with future income than actual work ethic.” For those Americans born at the top and bottom of the income distribution, about 40 percent will stay there as adults. In Minnesota, the average household income in the bottom quintile is $13,424, while average household income at the top is about $177,000 or 13.2 times as much. “This suggests that for the majority of Minnesotans, movement from rags to riches is more of a fairy tale than reality,” adds Flanagan.

To close this divide, the Data Book highlights the importance of starting with investments in early childhood education so that children are ready to achieve from the start.

“Another way to close the divide is to raise our state’s minimum wage,” said Alexandra Fitzsimmons, legislative affairs and advocacy director for Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota.  “An annual earnings increase of $1,000 during early childhood improves school readiness and puts children on a more secure path to success. Importantly, raising our state’s minimum wage to $9.50 means that 137,000 Minnesota children will have more secure childhoods.”

Wednesday’s Data Book release will include a panel discussion with local and statewide experts who will address demographics, early childhood, educational attainment and economic mobility and inequality. The event is free and open to the public.

                        Date:   Wednesday, October 30, 2013

                        Time:    10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

                        Where:  South Central College, Conference Center C

                                    1920 Lee Boulevard, North Mankato, MN 56003

 The Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book is published annually by Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, which, is a statewide policy and advocacy organization that provides a strong and effective voice for all of Minnesota’s children.

Download the Minnesota 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book at http://www.cdf-mn.org/research-library/kids-count/.

 The Minnesota KIDS COUNT publication provides state data based on a variety of indicators that show the well-being of Minnesota’s children and families. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children. KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.