This is as good as it gets…and that’s not saying much

The U.S. Census Bureau released statistics today on poverty, health insurance coverage and median income for 2007. Minnesota showed basically no statistically significant change from 2006 on any of these measures. We held our own. However, the news is none to good when we consider that we were wrapping up a six-year “economic recovery” last year (and have been sliding into a downturn in 2008). If we look at how Minnesota fared between 2001 and 2007, we find that we are actually worse off.

Poverty is higher: Poverty in Minnesota rose to 9.5% in 2007, up from 7.8% in 2001. Child poverty in 2007 reached 11.6%. Although this didn’t represent a significant change from 2001, it is significantly higher than 2000 (when childhood poverty was at 8.6%).

More uninsured: Nearly 9% of Minnesotans were without health insurance in 2006-07 (a two year average). This was significantly higher than the 7.5% without insurance in 2000-01. At the national level, the Census Bureau reports that the number of uninsured actually declined between 2006 and 2007; that was almost entirely because there was an increase in the number of people covered by government health insurance. Makes you wonder what would have happened in Minnesota if we hadn’t cut public health care programs this decade…

Household income fell too: The median household income in Minnesota fell from $58,363 in 2001 to $55,802 in 2007 (adjusted for inflation).

This is not good. Consider that 2008 represents the beginning of a new economic downturn and the state is expecting to face significant budget deficits when the legislature convenes next January. It seems almost certain that the trend will continue downwards over the next few years.

Here are a few more interesting resources on the Census release if you are so inclined:

-Christina Wessel

About Christina Wessel

Christina served as the Minnesota Budget Project's deputy director until January 2014.
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