The 2013 County Profiles show that a slow economic recovery and rising rental costs have made housing difficult to afford, especially for renters. Thriving places need affordable housing to ensure that Minnesota's children reach their full potential. Yet 97% of Minnesota's 87 counties have more extremely low income renters than affordable apartments available to them. Over the last decade, incomes for renters have fallen, while rents have risen in most places. 

For owners, home buying is now more affordable for some, but many renters lack the savings or credit needed to buy. Meanwhile, many owners cannot sell given current high debt levels.

View your own county's profile at the right, and see below for data, maps, and analysis.

View selected Charts and 10 Maps for Minnesota counties.

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Summary Findings

The shortage in affordable rental housing is severe

  • In 97% of counties (or 84 out of 87), there is a shortage of affordable and available units for extremely low income renters.
  • Almost half of those 84 counties need to at least double their affordable rental housing stocks to meet basic needs.

Rental costs are rising while incomes are decreasing

  • 92% of Minnesota's counties saw an increase in median rent from 2000 to 2007-11, after adjusting for inflation. In the same period, 86% saw a decrease in median renter income. That is, real rents have gone up and incomes have gone down in the majority of counties since 2000.
  • For the state as a whole, from 2000 to 2011, median rent increased by 6%, whereas median renter income fell by 17%.
  • 1 in 2 renters pay more than what they could afford for housing. That is, they pay more than 30% of their income for housing, which is considered to be unaffordable by HUD.
  • Rent takes up half of the income of over a quarter of Minnesota renters.
  • Working full time at the median income for their occupation, food preparation workers and retail salespeople cannot afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment in any county across Minnesota.

Homelessness and child poverty make the need for affordable housing urgent

  • 10,214 Minnesotans were found to be homeless on a given night in 2012. Almost half of homeless people are children and youth under the age of 21.
  • Statewide, about 10% of homeless people were identified as veterans.
  • 15% of children are now in poverty statewide, with levels exceeding 20% in nearly a quarter of Minnesota's counties. Across the state, the percentage of children in poverty increased by 7% from 2001 to 2011.
  • When a family is forced to choose between paying for housing, food, or medical care, children are less able to properly grow, develop, and perform well in school.

Many home owners still struggling

  • 1 in 4 owners pay more than what they can afford for housing.
  • In 69 counties, or 79%, the median home sales prices was lower in 2012 than it was in 2006, after adjusting for inflation.
  • 16% of home owners with a mortgage owe more on their home than it is worth.

Contact Leigh Rosenberg at 651-925-5543 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.