Minneapolis sees reversal of racial population trend

  • Updated: December 8, 2008 - 8:56 PM

Minneapolis's decades of shifts away from whites and toward minorities has stopped, the Census survey found.

In a reversal of decades of major demographic change, Minneapolis is slightly more white than it was when the decade opened, the U.S. Bureau of the Census will report today.

For at least 50 years, the minority share of the city's population has roughly doubled. But that dynamic has been halted.

Still, nearly all of the nation's biggest cities, including St. Paul, are becoming less white and gaining minorities, as they have been during the lifetimes of most Americans. Of the nation's 100 largest cities, Minneapolis is one of just 17 -- including San Francisco, Boston and Seattle -- to have halted that trend or to move in the opposite direction.

The new numbers represent the combined result of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey from 2005 to 2007.

Among the findings:

• The percentage of whites in St. Paul fell slightly, from 64 to 62 percent, suggesting that, but for the influx of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees earlier this decade, that city might have been in the same position as Minneapolis.

• Poverty rates remain higher in the central cities than the suburbs, partly because so many college students live there, but they are climbing in the suburbs. Poverty is up 30 percent in Minneapolis since 2000, and 25 percent in St. Paul. Burnsville's poverty numbers nearly doubled, from 5.1 percent to 9.2 percent, and Richfield's went from 6.3 to 10.4, though they rose from much smaller starting points.

DAVID PETERSON

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