A lot of Minnesota women work – especially compared to the rest of the US


"Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

Minnesota women have known all along that what Garrison Keillor said about strong women was true, but now there's some data to back that up – at least when it comes to working women.

The percentage of working women in Minnesota and much of the Upper Midwest is above average compared to many other areas of the United States, according to data collected by the New York Times.

Nationally, 70 percent of women ages 25-54 are employed, the newspaper notes. The map above, put together by the Times, shows the states that have an above average (shades of purple) or below average (shades of brown/orange – cream is average) number of women working.

Nearly every census tract in Minnesota and its neighboring states have an above average percentage of working women.


The Times speculates it may be tied to education.

The Midwest areas with a high percentage of working women have strong educational traditions. So when male-dominated manufacturing jobs began to decline and white-collar work became more prevalent, women were in a good position to take advantage.

Working men

Like with women, the number of working men in Minnesota is above average in much of the state, though not all of it. (Note: The U.S. average for working men is 80 percent.)

Here's a map. Working women are on the left, while working men are on the right.

In December, the New York Times looked at where men aren't working and found, for the most part, less affluent areas had a higher percentage of non-employed men.

The story is slightly different for North Dakota's fracking country, where a higher-than-average percentage of men and women are employed thanks to the oil boom. It's only slightly higher for women, but significantly higher for men – where upwards of 95 percent of men are employed.

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