Updated:
Original:

Study: Rural Minnesota counties are poorest, but getting more diverse

Author:

While the area from St. Cloud through the Twin Cities to Rochester is thriving, a new study reveals rural Minnesota is poorer, especially in north-central Minnesota.

WCCO reports since the 1960s, migrants have left rural Minnesota for this thriving urban and suburban band, leaving behind what is now an aging population.

The State of Rural Minnesota report finds north-central Minnesota is home to the most students on free government-subsidized lunch programs in the state, according to the The Forum.

The report was presented to legislators Thursday by the Center for Rural Policy and Development as a House committee looks at improving conditions outside the Twin Cities.

Poor Indian reservations in north-central Minnesota are one of "a thousand different factors" causing the poverty, says Executive Director Brad Finstad.

"Deep rural" areas are losing younger residents, which means losing workers and impacting property taxes, according to The Forum.

The average age in rural counties is 46, which is older than the national average of 38.

In 12 counties, half the population is 65 or older. The demand for medical care is expected to increase. WCCO reports the jobs in demand will be food processing, health care and manufacturing.

Minorities are moving out to these rural areas, and college helps attract some young people, the study finds. Across the state, the percentage of people of color has risen from 6 percent to 15 percent since 1990.

The study finds the growth primarily from Latinos, Laotians, Somalis, Sudanese and Hmong. Now 114 different are spoken languages in Minnesota, mostly in the south.

“You’re seeing fewer and fewer farmers,” Finstad tells WCCO. “Farms are getting farther and farther apart.”

A study published in December 2014 by the Minnesota State Demographer's office reports that due to the aging population of farmers, more people of color and women are taking to the fields to farm.

Nine counties are seeing their population growing because of an influx of people of color between 1990 and 2012: Hennepin, Ramsey, Clearwater, Fillmore, Lyon, Mower, Mahnomen, Nobles and St. Louis counties.

Income is another gap area between the suburbs and rural Minnesota. the biggest median 2012 household income was in Scott County at $86,324, which is more than double the lowest in Wadena County at $37,577.

Next Up

Knuth - Nezhad - side by side

Frey challengers Knuth, Nezhad agree to rank each other 2nd

They're urging supporters to do the same on Nov. 2.

Jerome Horton - Sherburne Co. Jail - CROP

Charges: Man lied to buy gun later used by St. Paul mass shooting suspect

He's accused of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm.

Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 6.30.24 AM

BCA releases investigative file in Winston Smith's shooting death

The file contains 1,000 pages of documents, hundreds of photos and dozens of audio files.

Slice

Fire at Mpls. pizza joint weeks after opening, owners suspect arson

The owners arrived at work Tuesday to find the building on fire.

vaccine, covid

New COVID charts show hospitalization, death rates based on vaccine status

The unvaccinated are far more likely than the fully vaccinated to become hospitalized or die.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

White House begins process to ban new mining near BWCAW

The stated goal is to protect the "unique natural wonder" of the BWCAW.

Autumn Merrick, Autumn Rose Merrick

Man charged in shootout, crash that killed 18-year-old on scooter

Autumn Rose Merrick was with a friend near the Holiday gas station.

D Quagon - DOC photo

DOC searching for convicted sex offender who has gone on the run

The recently released man removed his GPS monitoring device.

Related

U of M study finds a 'brain gain' in rural Minnesota

Reports of the demise of rural Minnesota seem to be greatly exaggerated. While it's true that college-aged residents are leaving rural counties, research by a U of M sociologist finds people in their 30s and 40s and migrating into rural areas. And bringing educational degrees and earning power with them.