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Data and updates


Here, in Hennepin County, inequities in education, employment, health, housing, income, justice and transportation are starkest between residents of color and their White counterparts. When we start our work from this shared perspective, shifting our guiding lens to one that is focused on a commitment to addressing these disparities, we can see the places, partnerships, programs and services where we have a responsibility to act.

Estimated educational attainment

Source: 2019 American Community Survey 5-year data

graph of estimated educational attainment showing people of color are less likely to graduate high school, and far less likely to attain a bachelor's' degree or higher 


Estimated median income

Source: 2019 American Community Survey 5-year data

Graph of estimated median income showing Asians and whites with the highest median income, and indigenous and black communities with the lowest median income


Estimated unemployment rate

Source: 2019 American Community Survey 5-year data

graph of estimated unemployment rate showing people of color are more likely to be unemployed, while whites are less likely to be unemployed 


Percentage of households cost burdened

Source: 2019 American Community Survey 5-year data

graph of percent of population that are cost burdened showing people of color are more likely to be cost burdened

Cost-burden is defined as spending 30% or more of household income on housing costs, which may include monthly rent, mortgage, utilities, etc.


In 2017 County Administrator David Hough charged Hennepin County departments to prioritize disparity reduction through all lines of business. The charge: that all work begin from a commitment to reduce disparities among the residents we serve in the ways and places we have influence.

Steps to reduce disparities include:

  • Identifying seven disparity domain areas (education, employment, income, health, housing, transportation, justice) where county action can have the most impact
  • Launching a Disparity Reduction Governance Board and identifying domain priorities
  • Creating a legislative platform that seeks to reduce system disparities, such as reducing the number of families of color involved in the child protection system
  • Addressing the conditions that drive involvement into the justice system and developing new strategies to assist ex-offenders as they integrate back home
  • Targeting funding, policies and service delivery to disrupt racism in the response to people experiencing homelessness
  • Using purchasing power to drive economic development in disadvantaged communities
  • Training workers for tomorrow’s jobs while helping clients be more self-sufficient
  • Requiring Advancing Racial Equity training for all staff, helping employees gain awareness, develop skills and be positioned to apply the learning in their work
  • Adopting a Racial Equity Impact Tool to consider how different racial and ethnic groups will be affected by a proposed action or decision and provide a systematic way to engage the voices of those affected by decisions, surface unintended consequences of decisions before they are made, and reveal a wider range of options for policy choices
  • Creating the Disparity Reduction Line of Business to intentionally provide direction and strategy to foster institutional change that reduces and eliminates racial disparities in Hennepin County
  • Declaring racism a public health crisis
  • Creating a Race Equity Advisory Council to advise the county board on the county’s vision and strategy on reducing racial disparities and advancing racial equity throughout Hennepin County
  • Allocating $240 million federal American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Act funding toward the seven disparity domains
  • Adopting a Climate Action Plan with strategies to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changing climate in ways that reduce vulnerabilities and ensure a more equitable and resilient county
  • Raising the minimum wage for county employees to $20 an hour
  • Recognizing Juneteenth as a county holiday to commemorate the end of slavery and the triumphs, culture, and achievements of African Americans locally and across the United States