Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


How Bad Are Things In Minnesota, Really?

Bookmark and Share

From the rising unemployment numbers to the state budget crisis, the news in Minnesota seems to be getting worse and worse. Adding insult to injury came the recent news last week that Minneapolis ranked as the fourth least desirable metropolitan area to where Americans would like to move out of 30 cities, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

But Minnesota isn't alone in facing challenges during these recessionary times. The question for today is not whether or not things are going south in Minnesota at the moment, but from what baseline Minnesota begins its slide. Smart Politics examines how Minnesota rates regionally in the Upper Midwest and across the country among a number of key social and economic indicators.

First, Minnesotans can take heart in the fact that they enjoy the longest life expectancy in the Upper Midwest and second longest in the country, at 78.8 years (second to Hawaii).

Life Expectancy By State

State
Age (years)
National Rank
Minnesota
78.8
2
Iowa
78.3
7
North Dakota
78.3
8
Wisconsin
77.9
14
South Dakota
77.7
18
Source: Harvard University Initiative for Global Health and the Harvard School of Public Health (2006 data)

Residents of the Gopher State also enjoy the highest median annual income in the Upper Midwest - 14 percent higher than Wisconsinites, 17 percent higher than Iowans, 25 percent higher than South Dakotans, and 29 percent more than North Dakotans. Minnesota's median annual income ranks an impressive 8th nationally.

Median Annual Income By State

State
Income
National Rank
Minnesota
$57,815
8
Wisconsin
$50,619
19
Iowa
$49,262
24
South Dakota
$46,321
34
North Dakota
$44,743
38
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2005 to 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplements.

The job losses that have hit the nation hard are having a particularly profound effect on residents of Minnesota (as documented in great length here at Smart Politics in recent weeks). The unemployment rate in Minnesota is the worst in the region, at 6.9 percent. While North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa are home to the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th lowest rates in the country, Minnesota ranks just the 26th best.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate By State

State
Unemployment Rate
National Rank (lowest rate)
North Dakota
3.5%
2
South Dakota
3.9%
3
Iowa
4.6%
6
Wisconsin
6.2%
19
Minnesota
6.9%
26
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (December 2008 data).

This loss of jobs is correlated to the rate of housing foreclosures - where Minnesota ranks 25th in the country and worst in the Upper Midwest. Nearly 1 in 1,000 homes are being foreclosed upon in the Gopher State - more than 7 times the rate for home owners in South Dakota, and more than twice that for Iowans.

Housing Foreclosure Rate By State

State
Foreclosure Rate
National Rank (lowest rate)
South Dakota
1 per 7,840
4
North Dakota
1 per 5,596
6
Iowa
1 per 2,529
12
Wisconsin
1 per 1,288
21
Minnesota
1 per 1,044
25
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation (November 2008 data).

Homeowners who aren't foreclosed upon can take some solace in the fact that the state's property tax rate is the lowest in the region and 23rd lowest in the country, while Wisconsin's is the highest.

Property Tax Rate by State

State
Tax % of
Home Value
National Rank (lowest rate)
Minnesota
0.81%
23
Iowa
1.27%
39
South Dakota
1.38%
40
North Dakota
1.50%
43
Wisconsin
1.82%
50
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 American Community Survey; Tax Foundation

However, Minnesotans do incur one of the highest state sales tax rates in the nation, at 6.5 percent. This is by far the largest rate in the Upper Midwest.

Sales Tax Rate By State

State
Tax Rate
National Rank (lowest rate)
South Dakota
4.0%
7
Iowa
5.0%
18
North Dakota
5.0%
18
Wisconsin
5.0%
18
Minnesota
6.5%
43
Source: Federation of Tax Administrators (2008 data)

Minnesota has been able to overcome its reputation for being one of the higher taxed states in the nation by producing the 9th highest per capita state GDP in the country, and by far the greatest in the Upper Midwest (15 percent more than Iowa, its closest rival).

Per Capita State Gross Domestic Product By State

State
GDP per Capita
National Rank
Minnesota
$41,353
9
Iowa
$35,814
23
South Dakota
$35,596
24
Wisconsin
$34,890
28
North Dakota
$34,694
30
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce (2007 data)

Minnesota has invested its resources effectively into health and education programs that, in the recent past, have shown results. Minnesota has the 4th lowest rate of the uninsured in the country, at 9.9 percent, with only Wisconsin besting the Gopher State in the region.

Lack of Health Insurance Among Non-Elderly By State

State
Rate
National Rank (lowest rate)
Wisconsin
9.6
3
Minnesota
9.9
4
Iowa
11.4
9
North Dakota
12.7
15
South Dakota
12.8
16
Source: Urban Institute and Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (2006-2007 data)

On the education front, while Minnesota only ranks 4th in the region in high school graduation rates, it is 6th in the country, at 85.9 percent.

Freshman High School Graduation Rate By State

State
Graduation Rate
National Rank
Wisconsin
86.7%
2
Iowa
86.6%
3
North Dakota
86.3%
5
Minnesota
85.9%
6
South Dakota
82.3%
11
Source: U.S. Department of Education (2005 data)

However, Minnesota attracts many more college-educated Americans than its Upper Midwestern neighbors, with 31 percent of the population aged 25 and over having received at least a Bachelor's degree.

College Degree Attainment by State

State
College Degree Rate
National Rank
Minnesota
31.0
11
North Dakota
25.7
27
Wisconsin
25.4
30
South Dakota
25.0
33
Iowa
24.3
37
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2007.

Finally, while Minnesota's violent crime rate is more than twice that of North Dakota, it is slightly lower than that of Wisconsin and Iowa - good for the 16th lowest in the country.

Violent Crime Rate By State

State
Violent Crime Rate
National Rank (lowest rate)
North Dakota
142.4
4
South Dakota
169.2
5
Minnesota
288.7
16
Wisconsin
290.9
17
Iowa
294.7
19
Note: Rate per 100,000 inhabitants. Source: Crime in the United States 2007, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice.

All in all, Minnesotans are fortunate to be enduring the current economic crises from a position of relative wealth and health when examining all these social and economic indicators. The Upper Midwest as a whole remains one of the more attractive areas in the country to live when examining the cold hard facts, although the cold weather, and other quality of life indicators are not considered in this analysis here today.

Previous post: How Long Will It Take to Regain the 65,000+ Jobs Lost in Minnesota in 2008?
Next post: Minnesota's 2010 Budget Deficit Among Top 10 Largest In Nation

3 Comments


  • I'm surprised that you included info about sales tax rates, but not about the much more burdensome income tax - one of the highest, if not *the* highest in the nation, as I understand it. If you adjust our incomes for what we lose right off the top to income tax, I would be willing to bet that we are right down at or below our neighboring states in actual take-home pay. And after the collapse of the 35W bridge, don't try to tell me that all that tax money is paying off for us in better infrastructure, etc. Maybe we're not so wealthy after all.....

  • > I'm surprised that you included info about sales tax rates, but
    > not about the much more burdensome income tax - one of the
    > highest, if not *the* highest in the nation, as I understand it.

    You raise a good point, and I did consider this. Basically, since the income tax rate is variable (depending on level of income) it would have been a bit arbitrary as to what rate i used to rank Minnesota amongst the states (e.g. the income tax floor rate, the income tax ceiling rate etc.). So, I omitted it from this analysis.

  • Interesting that life expectancy was first. So we get to enjoy being one of the highest taxed people longer? Yahoo!!!

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

    A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

    Political Crumbs

    Final Four Has Presidential Approval

    By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


    Three for the Road

    A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting