Study cites rural-urban gap

Minnesota State Roundup

Published November 1, 2004  | November 2004 issue

The State Demographer reported in September a growing income gap between urban and rural Minnesota. Average per capita personal income in 2002 for the Twin Cities seven metro counties was about $37,000; Hennepin County was the highest at $44,302.

The average income for all of Minnesota was $33,322, with Mahnomen County ($20,547) as the state's poorest. Mahnomen and the other lowest-income counties (Lake of the Woods, Red Lake, Todd, Clearwater, Wadena and Morrison) are located in the northwestern corner of the state.

In the past 10 years the state's nationwide rank in per capita personal income went from 18th to 8th, but clearly not all counties were along for the ride. Between 1992 and 2002, per capita income in Minnesota counties declined only in Norman County. But from 2001 to 2002 income dropped in 27—with the largest decreases in Norman and Scott counties.

According to the report, some rural counties are doing better than others: The northern lakes area has become home to affluent retirees, and Olmsted County has Rochester's Mayo Clinic.

Kathy Cobb