Tens of thousands of St. Paul residents headed to the polls last week to vote on a rent control ordinance that has been described as one of the most stringent policies of its kind. After a months-long campaign season that pitted grassroots organizers against deep-pocketed property owners, voters in Minnesota's capital city passed the first rent control measure in the Midwest.

The ordinance — which caps annual rent increases at 3% — garnered some major support heading into the Nov. 2 vote, including endorsements from Mayor Melvin Carter and Council Members Mitra Jalali and Nelsie Yang. But despite the nearly $4 million campaign landlords, realtors and other opponents mounted against the measure, rent control advocates prevailed by nearly six percentage points.

To recap, here's where the rent control measure performed well, precinct-by-precinct:

Source: Minnesota Secretary of State

While the measure amassed support throughout the city, it did particularly well north of I-94 — especially near the Frogtown neighborhood, north of the State Capitol and in the St. Anthony Park area, where apartment construction has boomed along the Green Line.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these areas also somewhat correlate to locations where St. Paulites are more likely to be renters instead of homeowners, particularly places near the light rail and other transit corridors.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2019 5-year estimates

Pro-rent control organizers urged support for the ordinance by saying it aims to stabilize rents for low-income residents and people of color, who are more likely to see more drastic rent increases, according to research from the University of Minnesota's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs.

About half of St. Paul residents are people of color, and the city's nonwhite populations largely tend to reside in the north and east quadrants of the city — many of the same areas that voted for predictable rent increases.

Meanwhile, parts of the city where annual household income is more likely to be north of $60,000 — notably along the Mississippi River and neighborhoods extending south near Highland Park — were among the areas least likely to vote for rent control. The annual median household income in St. Paul is $63,174.

Some of these wealthier neighborhoods lie near the former Ford plant, a 122-acre site being transformed into the Highland Bridge development. The referendum's passage prompted developer Ryan Companies to postpone reviews for three buildings, raising questions about potential impacts on that project and others that are planned or underway.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2019 5-year estimates

Curiously, areas with more renters and lower-income residents also were the areas of St. Paul with the largest drop in voter turnout compared to 2017.

But 2017's municipal election could be an outlier — that election cycle featured the city's first open mayoral contest in 12 years, one in which Carter's run to be the St. Paul's first Black mayor electrified many neighborhoods of color.

When just looking at voter turnout in 2021, the most engaged voters tended to live west of Lexington Parkway — an overlap with the generally affluent, white homeowners that were among the least likely to support the rent control measure.

Still, areas of the city that voted heavily for rent control had enough votes to pass the ordinance, even with lower turnout.

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Source: Minnesota Secretary of State

Last week tenant advocates and other supporters celebrated their win, which they say will bring stability and affordability to renters, while opponents warned that the policy could shrink an already tight rental market in the long run. Now both groups have trained their eyes on the city as its focus shifts to the ordinance's rollout.