Minneapolis-St. Paul is among the regions topping the list of 25 largest metro areas in terms of well-being. But the new American Human Development Index finds the picture is not so rosy for everyone in Minnesota.
The index is part of a larger project by the New York non-profit Social Science Research Council.
It crunches numbers from a variety of U.S. government data, including from the Census and the CDC, to measure the distribution of well‐being and opportunity in three basic dimensions: health, access to knowledge, and living standards.
The index also looks at changes in well-being in states since 2000 and in metro areas before and after the Great Recession. That's when wages between 2000 to 2005 stalled or declined in thirty-nine states after four decades of slow but steady national progress in earnings.
According to the American Human Development Index, Minnesota’s current life expectancy at birth is 81.1 years.
Minnesota received a 5.56 score on the education index, with school enrollment at 79.2 percent, 61.5 percent of the population having received a high school diploma, and 21.5 percent having received a bachelor’s degree.
Minnesota reported median income of $30,939.
Scores like these landed the Twin Cities in the top 10 best performing metro areas along with Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and Maryland.
But the well-being is not distributed equally.
According to the index, in no major U.S. metropolitan area do either African Americans or Latinos have well-being levels that equal or exceed those of Asian Americans or whites.
Nationally, Asian Americans live the longest, have the most education and earn the most. Latinos have the second-longest life span, outliving whites, on average, by nearly four years.
African Americans have the shortest lives of any other group.
Minnesota’s performance is similar, and in some cases even worse, than the national trend when it comes to the gap between African Americans and whites.
For example, while Minnesota's overall infant mortality rate is among the best in the country, African-American babies are twice as likely as white babies to die in their first year, MPR News reports. This disparity is the worst in the country.
And research shows people of color in Minnesota are more likely to be poor and sick.
- More likely to live in poverty
- Less likely to graduate from high school
- Less likely to own their own home
- More likely to suffer from chronic illness
Insufficient income, unhealthy environments and inadequate access to opportunity contribute to disparities between racial and ethnic groups in Minnesota, studies show.
You can see similar disparities on yet another recent ranking, where some Minnesota counties were among the most - and least - healthy in the nation.
The County Health Rankings measured 29 factors, including childhood poverty, smoking, college attendance, physical inactivity and access to healthcare, to compare the health of counties within each state, KARE 11 reports.