Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


From income gaps to teen mothers: what we learned about Minnesota from the latest census data

photo of cyclist
It may surprise some to learn that biking remains among the least-utilized methods for commuting to work in the metro.

Last week, the U.S. Census released its annual American Community Survey, a snapshot of how the nation lives. From the exhaustive dataset, one thing is clear: Minnesota is changing.

Some of those changes aren't so positive. As the Star Tribune reported last week, the median income for black households dropped significantly from 2013 to 2014, a statistic that has outraged black political leaders. 

We encourage you to explore the data yourself. But here are some of the most notable trends gleaned from the survey:

1. Men still make 30 percent more than women in Minnesota
Men in the Minnesota workforce made $42,200 in median earnings last year — about 30 percent more than women, who took in $31,000.  The gap is closing: in 2005, men made about 40 percent more than women. This includes all part- and full-time civilian workers over the age of 16.

Median individual income, Minnesota

In Hennepin County, men made a median $45,000 compared to women’s $36,000. In Ramsey County, men made $39,000 — about $9,000 more than women.

The state does slightly better than the nation as a whole when it comes to the gap: men made 35 percent more than women across the country last year. Minnesota’s gap is also smaller than Wisconsin’s, where men made 39 percent more than women in 2014.

 2. Fewer teens in Minnesota are having babies
Last year, in the 12 months prior to the survey, about 1,400 unmarried Minnesotans between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth. That’s big drop from 2013, when 3,000 teens reported having babies in the past year.  

Teen births, Minnesota

Minnesota's drop-off tracks national trends on this one as well. In 2005, more than 235,000 single teens gave birth; last year that number dropped to 151,000 —  a 44 percent decline.

In total, 78,000 women gave birth in Minnesota in the 12-month period examine for the survey. The vast majority – 60,000 — of mothers were between the ages of 20 and 35 years old. About 1,600 were 35 to 50 years old. And bout 72 percent of mothers were married (which includes couples that separated but were not legally divorced).

3. Minnesotans are among the most insured in the country
About 94 percent of Minnesotans had some kind of health insurance coverage last year. That puts us far above the national estimate (88 percent) and in the nation’s top-five most insured states.

Percent insured by state

4. Two percent of metro commuters bike to work
Here in the Twin Cities, we like to celebrate our rich bicycling culture. So it may surprise some to learn that biking remains among the least-utilized methods for commuting to work in the metro. 

In Hennepin County, just shy of 2 percent of residents biked to work last year. In comparison, about 81 percent drove, 8 percent used public transportation and 4 percent walked. About 1 percent took taxi, motorcycle or other means of transportation. Over in Ramsey County, only 1 percent of commuters biked to work.

The good news for bike enthusiasts: the numbers are going up – and quickly. In 2005, only 1 percent of Hennepin residents cycled to work, or about half of those in 2014

Commute modes, 2014

5. We're pretty smart
Minnesotans have a higher percentage of college-educated residents compared to the nation as a whole. About 61 percent of young Minnesotans — ages 18 to 24 — have some kind of college education, slightly higher than the national average of 56 percent.  For Minnesotans 25 and older, about 68 percent have spent some time in college, also above the national average of 59 percent.

Educational attainment, 2014

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Mike Downing on 09/21/2015 - 12:42 pm.

    If men really made 30% more than woman…

    If men really made 30% more than women for the same job and the same level of experience, only women would be hired by companies. Shareholders would demand only women be hired to reduce costs and increase profits that would in turn increase stock price and dividend yield.

    Common sense should always win over ideological mistruths.

    • Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 09/21/2015 - 02:53 pm.

      Strawman arguments are a form of mistruth

      In this case, driven by ideology.

      The writer didn’t make assertions that you’re “debunking”. He simply stated the general differential in income by gender.

Leave a Reply