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Terrence Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, gathers with supporters at the Minneapolis site where George died on June 1. Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images
Race and Economy

4 charts that help explain the Minnesota paradox

Janet Nguyen Jun 3, 2020
Terrence Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, gathers with supporters at the Minneapolis site where George died on June 1. Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

While Minnesota may rank high on several social and economic scales, including quality of life, those metrics don’t apply to all of its residents.

The gap between Black and white communities is stark when it comes to poverty levels, homeownership rates and household income. Samuel L. Myers Jr., an economist at the University of Minnesota, calls it “the Minnesota paradox.”

“The Twin Cities area, in particular, is deeply segregated in terms of housing, education and employment, with super concentrations of wealth and poverty at the extremes,” explained Enid Logan, a sociology professor at the University of Minnesota, in an email. 

George Floyd, a Black man from Minneapolis, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck. Since last week, people across the country have been staging protests against police brutality and systemic racism, and have called for cities to defund the police. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors told WBUR that reinvesting that money in Black communities can achieve justice for Black Americans. 

White, non-Hispanic residents in the Twin Cities have median household incomes that are almost double that of Black households. Here’s a look at the disparities between both groups:

U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey and IPUMS via Minnesota Compass. Data based on the Twin Cities seven-county region.

When it comes to educational outcomes, Black residents 25 years and older earned bachelor’s degrees at a rate of 21% versus almost 48% for white residents.

Logan said that the Twin Cities region moved toward becoming vastly more segregated in terms of schooling after 1980, especially with the growth of the charter school movement.

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