Minnesota Continues to Lag Behind in Ensuring Success for Children of Color and Children in Immigrant Families

October 24, 2017
For More Information Contact:
Jessica Anderson janderson@childrensdefense.org

New report shows policies and investments focused on opportunities to support success needed for future prosperity of Minnesota’s children of color, American Indian and children in immigrant families

ST. PAUL, Minn.— The new Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children report, released today from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, shows Minnesota continues to fall dramatically short in key child well-being indicators and access to opportunity for children of color and American Indian children when compared to white children in the state and children of color in other states.

As Minnesota continues to see a dramatic and permanent population shift in the increasing number of aging adults and people of color, the state’s vitality and economic prosperity depend on the success of all children, especially the state’s American Indian children and the ever-growing number of children of color.

With national and statewide conversation on race and immigration intensifying, the Race for Results report gives particular emphasis to the well-being of children of color, children in immigrant families and American Indian children. It shows that Minnesota has some of the best outcomes for white children but falls dramatically short in the well-being of children of color, children in immigrant families and American Indian children.

The report uses an index to compare how children are progressing on key milestones across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state level. Using a composite score of these milestones on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 1,000 (highest), the index shows persistent, significant disparities among Minnesota’s African-American (380), American Indian (363) and Latino children (460) compared to Asian and Pacific Islander (650) and white children (789). Minnesota’s index score for white children is the fifth best in the country. However, compared to the states with sufficient data to be scored, Minnesota’s index scores for African-American and Hispanic/Latino children fall in the lower half; the state’s index score for American Indian children is in the lowest quarter of states and the index score for Asian and Pacific Islander children is the third worst behind Alaska and Hawaii.

Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN) echoes the Casey Foundation’s urgent call for local, state and federal policymakers to expand existing policies that work and implement new programs and policies that will benefit all children.

“For many Minnesota children, especially children of color and American Indian children, structural and institutional policies and racism make the path to success steeper, and as a state, we need to level the playing field for all children,” said Bharti Wahi, CDF-MN executive director. “Today’s children will offer new ideas and skills that will improve our future, but only if Minnesota works hard to foster equal opportunities for all its children by investing in effective programs and policies that target specific populations and improve health, education and economic outcomes for families.”

The Race for Results report lays bare that despite some progress, a stark gulf in prosperity continues to affect Minnesota children living in immigrant families, many of whom are children of color:

  • 226,000 (18 percent) Minnesota children are immigrants or children of immigrants. 
  • One in two Minnesota children living in immigrant families is low-income, defined as 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold or just less than $50,000 for a family of four. 
  • Administrative decisions threaten the stability of nearly 7,000 young Minnesotans who are either enrolled in or have applied to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. More than 90 percent of DACA participants nationwide are employed or enrolled in school.

Despite these barriers, children in immigrant families continue to push forward to carve out a better life.

  • Eighty percent of Minnesota children in immigrant families live in two-parent households compared to 76 percent of non-immigrant children. 
  • Eighty-five percent of Minnesota foreign-born young adults were in school or working. 
  • Young Minnesota children in immigrant families are enrolled in early childhood education programs at nearly the same rate (57 percent) as their U.S.-born peers (58 percent).

“Policies and investments in programs that support a two-generation approach to child and caregiver success, prioritize the needs of children in immigrant families, children of color and American Indian children, and promote culturally relevant family supports are necessary to ensure our children thrive now and in the future,” Wahi said.

“Specifically,” she added, “the state can start by fully funding the Child Care Assistance Program that makes child care more stable and affordable for families, create a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave Program to eliminate the disproportionate access to paid leave after the birth or adoption of child or to care for a sick relative and improve the Minnesota Family Investment Program by increasing the cash grant and attention to and developmental tracking of children accessing the program.”

The Casey Foundation released the first Race for Results report in 2014; the 2017 report is the second edition. The ongoing series reflects the Foundation’s and CDF-MN’s commitment to examining data and offering data-informed policy recommendations on issues of racial and ethnic equity.

Release Information The 2017 Race for Results report will be available October 24 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at www.aecf.org/raceforresults/. Additional information is available at www.aecf.org/. The website also contains the most recent national, state and local data on numerous indicators of child well-being. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about Race for Results can use the Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org.

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About Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota The Children's Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.