New data in 2012 highlight several troubling trends when it comes to the issue of affordable housing, even as Minnesota begins to recover from the recession. There is a startling shortage of adequate and affordable housing in most counties, and incomes for renters have fallen. Home prices have yet to recover. Families, and children especially, are still struggling under these conditions.

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Summary Findings

The supply of affordable housing is alarmingly low

        • 82 (or 94%) of Minnesota’s 87 counties do not have enough affordable and available rental housing for extremely low-income residents. Moreover, almost half of those counties need more than double their current supply to meet basic needs.
        • Construction of new multi-family properties from 2006-2010 reached a 50-year low.

Children are impacted the most by unstable, unaffordable housing

  • When a family is forced to choose between paying for housing, food, or medical care, children are less able to properly grow, develop, and perform well in school
  • Over 10% of kids in all but 8 counties live in poverty, and in some counties the rate is closer to 30%.
  • About half of Minnesota’s homeless population is under the age of 21.

Workers and families unable to afford housing

  • About half of all Minnesota renters and more than a quarter of owners paid more than they could afford for their homes in 2010, according to HUD affordability guidelines
  • According to the most recent data, 74 (or 85%) of Minnesota’s 87 counties have seen a decrease in median renter incomes since 1999, after adjusting for inflation.
  • Over the course of a year, the average food preparation or retail sales worker in Minnesota will fall more than $10,000 short of being able to afford decent, safe housing along with other basic needs.
  • Retail salespeople and food preparation workers, people who help keep the economy afloat, cannot afford a modest 2 bedroom apartment in any Minnesota county, even when working full time at the median income for their occupation.

Home prices remain depressed

  • In 71 counties median home sales prices are lower than in 2006, after adjusting for inflation.
  • The average Minnesota home has lost 25% of its value since 2006.

Note: Use caution in comparing data across counties. MHP County Profiles attempt to utilize the highest quality and most recent data available. For much of the data, sources are comparable across counties. For American Community Survey (ACS) data, the source depends on county population size and includes 5-year estimates (under 20,000), 3-year estimates (20,000 to 59,999) or 1-year estimates (65,000+); these ACS sources should not be compared directly. Consult “Sources” on individual profiles, or contact Leigh Rosenberg at 651-925-5543 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.