Urban Dynamics Blog

In Minneapolis, Black poverty is the problem not Wells Fargo

By Matt Johnson

In recent weeks, a lot has been happening in the Minneapolis political arena. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has declared her candidacy to run for a second term; and City Council Member Jacob Frey, who represents Minneapolis’ 3rd Ward, has declared his candidacy for Minneapolis Mayor.

Moreover, the Minneapolis City Council recently unanimously passed a staff directive to explore options to discontinue its relationship with Wells Fargo. And this coming 2017, 11 of the 13 council members will be seeking reelection in their respective city wards.

However, none of these individuals will be able to claim they helped reduced black poverty in Minneapolis. This is because it hasn’t decreased. In fact, the number of blacks folks who live in poverty has increased since this current crop of City Hall leaders took office in 2013.

According to the United States Census Bureau, it was estimated that 46.3 percent of Black residents in Minneapolis lived below the poverty level in 2015. That is, about 33 thousand of the approximately 77 thousand black residents in Minneapolis lived below the poverty line in 2015. And that’s up from about 29 thousand in 2013.

Of course, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that the majority of these 33 thousand residents reside on the north side of Minneapolis, specifically in the 5th Ward. And you’re also aware that parts of the north side have the highest unemployment rates in the city along with the highest concentrations of condemned and vacant buildings and foreclosures.

Since this current group of council members, and mayor, have taken office, the poverty rate for black folks in Minneapolis has increased by 2 to 3 percentage points. And that 2 to 3 percent has translated into about 3,000 more black residents living below the poverty line.

Here are the numbers. Note, the United States Census Bureau has not yet published the 2016 numbers.

Year Total  Below Poverty Level  % Below Poverty Level
2013 65,905 29,896 45.4
2014 68,165 32,759 48.1
2015 70,692 32,724 46.3

With the coming 2017 election season for Minneapolis, this blog will continue to utilize multiple data sources to analyze the depressed system in North Minneapolis and the public, economic, and scientific policies that have been put forth to address these continuous urban challenges, although it may be possible the Minneapolis City Council hasn’t passed any such policies.


Matt Johnson is a writer for The Systems Scientist, and a mathematical scientist. You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on Twitter or on Facebook

You can also follow The Systems Scientist on Twitter or Facebook as well. 

Photo credit: Tony Webster




Copyright ©2016 – The Systems Scientist

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