Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with several groups of stakeholders in the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) area to discuss local trends in, and responses to, suburbanizing poverty in the region.
Patterns of poverty in the Twin Cities region, it turns out, are pretty typical of those in large metro areas nationwide. Today, nearly 60 percent of people living below the poverty line in the MSP area live outside the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Between 2000 and 2013, their numbers rose a staggering 128 percent, compared to 37 percent in the two cities combined. Residents of the cities are still nearly twice as likely to be poor as their suburban counterparts, but that difference has narrowed in recent years.
In speaking with a diverse set of audiences in the region, I found that a few themes helped inform how leaders are approaching efforts to connect people to economic opportunity.