Some water for your glass

half-empty-glassA couple of recent reports sing the praises of Minnesota. One finds that two of Minnesota's metro areas rank in the top five as the nation's most resilient. Another finds the Twin Cities to be the least stressful major metro in the US. But other recent reports highlight devastating trends in poverty and for kids in our state. Whether your glass is still half full, already half empty, or both, you can the find evidence below, and more, in a series of useful resources.


Minnesota: Resilient and Low-Stress

Are you stressed? Don't move out of Minnesota. Sperling's Best places recently found Minneapolis-St. Paul to be least-stressful large metro in US. We're not sure what this means exactly, but moving to Florida might not be the answer.   

In a somewhat more ponderous research article, HUD takes up the question of how to measure "resilience" of regions, which has become a hot topic for urban and regional planners. The article reviews various approaches and highlights one in particular, the Resilience Capacity Index (RCI), meant to systematically compare regions using a series of economic, sociodemographic, and community indicators. Rochester, MN comes out on top nationwide, with the Twin Cities taking the bronze. Several other top cities are also in the Midwest. The article notes that slower growth regions may have more resilience due to more stability, better affordability, higher homeownership and greater income equality.


And Now the Depressing Trends

It can be easy to feel weighted down by the kind of data that appears below. We have lots of work ahead of us, as these articles remind us. 

Concentrated Poverty up 94% since 2000 in MN

A 2012 Kids Count Data Snapshot looked at children living in high-poverty communities across the country. The report found a 94% increase in the number of Minnesota children living in high-poverty communities from 2000 to 2006-10. High poverty communities are those in census tracts with poverty rates of 30% or more, a critical threshold for the negative effects of poverty. By 2006-10, 68,000 Minnesota children were living in such communities, finds the Annie E. Casey Foundation report. Nationally, there was 25% increase in children living in high poverty areas in the timeframe considered.

Asset Poverty in Minnesota Has Increased 40% since 2006

A new study from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) finds that 22% of Minnesotans are asset poor. Asset poor households lack the net worth to subsist at the poverty level for three months if a layoff or other emergency were to result in loss of income. This threshold was $4,632 in 2011. The asset poverty rate for Minnesota households of color is markedly higher than for Minnesota overall, at 42%. From 2006 to 2009, the overall asset poverty rate increased by 40% in Minnesota, twice as fast as for the US as a whole.

Households with Children Living on $2 Up 130% in US since Welfare Reform

A new policy brief finds the number of American households living on $2 or less per person, per day, a metric typically meant to measure poverty in developing nations, reached 1.46 million households in 2011. This represents a 130% increase in the prevalence of extreme poverty from 1996, when welfare reform was enacted, and 2011. State-level data is not available for this brief, issued by the National Poverty Center (NPC).


Two Home Grown Resources: Successful Renting; Manufactured Housing manufhsgin MN

Successful Renting is a new guide from HousingLink that covers all phases of the rental process from finding a home to move-out day. It is a convenient resource to help people navigate the rental housing process.

The Minnesota Homeownership Center has created a fact sheet on considerations in purchasing a manufactured home. The resource includes: advantages and disadvantages to purchasing manufactured homes; living in a resident-owned or cooperative mobile home park; financing the purchase of a manufactured home; and steps to take when purchasing.


tccommunitylandbankTwin Cities in the National Spotlight on Foreclosure Response

The Minneapolis Federal Reserve recently published a very useful overview of the Twin Cities Community Land Bank. Learn more about what the land bank does (it's way more than just land banking) and how this innovative entity is pushing the envelope nationally.

PolicyLink has also featured the Twin Cities in a report on equitable foreclosure recovery. The report looks at the disproportionate impact of foreclosures on low-income people and people of color, highlights innovative efforts to assist homeowners, suggests sound policy responses. Featured in the report is the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro as a case study of creative approaches to foreclosure recovery (the other two cities are Portland and Seattle).

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