Snooping around St. Paul (and Minneapolis)

Want to know where the rich people live? How much more it costs to rent in Highland Park than in Frogtown? Whether Minneapolis or St. Paul has a higher percentage of jobs in the finance and insurance sector? All that and more is in the neighborhood profiles put together by the Wilder Foundation using census data from the past two decades.

Last week, I wrote about a proposal to limit student housing or rental housing near the University of St. Thomas. So this week, as I set out to look at the new Wilder Foundation neighborhood profiles, I looked for numbers that tell more of the story about students and neighborhoods. As I looked through the reports, I was amazed at the amount of information available on each individual neighborhood in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

I started looking at St. Paul’s Union Park neighborhood, where I live. (I’ll say neighborhood, but the formal name is planning district, and St. Paul has 17 of them.) Our neighborhood has a big population bump in the 18-24 year old range, with 5,614 people, or 30.5 percent of the total neighborhood population in that age range. Makes sense — that would be the University of St. Thomas. I was surprised to find that the Macalester-Groveland and Hamline-Midway neighborhoods, both home to colleges, come in relatively lower at 3,686 people (18.9 percent) and 2,174 people (18.9 percent) in the 18-24 year old range, respectively. (All three neighborhoods have a higher concentration of 18-24 year olds than the city of St. Paul as a whole, which has 13.8 percent.)

Of course, no St. Paul neighborhood comes close to the concentration of 18-24 year olds in the University of Minnesota neighborhood (97.9 percent) or even the neighboring Cedar-Riverside and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods, which weigh in at 41 percent and 61.2 percent, respectively.

The age group distribution tells part of the story. Another part is in the amount of rental housing and the trends in rental versus owner-occupied housing. That information is in the profile, too, along with population trends (we’re down 400 from 2000, but just about exactly the same as in 1990), average income trends (up slightly), race and ethnicity (whiter than the city as a whole), education (53.5 percent in Union Park with more than a bachelor’s degree, compared to 37.8 percent for the city as a whole), and more.

The neighborhood profiles offer a wealth of information. Each eight-page neighborhood profile begins with a map and brief description of the neighborhood, then looks at population and income trends. Two pages give a detailed look at gender, age, race and ethnicity, household composition, educational levels, and language spoken at home. The next two pages look at employment: what kinds of jobs people hold, how they travel to work, what they earn, and whether they live in poverty. Two more pages look at housing, including breakdowns of rental/home ownership, housing vacancies, household size, age of housing stock, etc. A final page gives a portrait of the neighborhood in graphs.

Start at the main page and click on a neighborhood on the map. Or click on “View List” to see neighborhoods sorted by city and by name. In Minneapolis, which has 87 neighborhoods, profiles are also available by community groupings that combine several neighborhoods (map). The page also has links to suburban cities and to counties, with more limited information available in those profiles. Whether you’re a researcher or just plain curious, there’s something here for you.

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