Survey: Nearly 1 In 3 US Somalis Live In Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nearly one in three people with Somali ancestry in the United States now live in the Minnesota, which has the largest concentration in the country, according to government data released Tuesday.

The latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey found about 25,000 of the 85,700 Somalis in the U.S. live in Minnesota. Ohio, Washington and California also had large populations of Somalis, but the survey data found no more than 10,500 of them in any state except Minnesota.

There, the Somali population is growing, Minnesota State Demographer Tom Gillaspy said. The 2000 Census pegged it at 11,164.

The proof is on the streets of the Twin Cities, said Hashi Shafi of the Somali Action Alliance in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Public Schools reported 1,345 of the district’s students spoke Somali at home during the 2008-2009 school year, and Shafi said the number is growing every year.

He remembers a time when there were only two mosques in Minneapolis — now he can point to four on one block.

“When you come on Friday, they are all full,” he said.

Shafi said Somalis often estimate their own population in Minnesota at about 70,000, but he didn’t know what that was based on. He has worked with the Census Bureau to overcome cultural and language barriers to get more Somalis counted.

“People don’t know why this is important,” he said, noting that government funding is often based on census data.

Gillaspy said the federal estimate, which includes people born in Somalia and their descendants, was in line with the state’s, although based on different sources. The information released Tuesday came from five years of surveys, and Gillaspy said it provides the best look at small population groups and small geographic areas since the 2000 Census.

The American Community Survey is sent to about one in 10 households each year. It includes questions on ancestry, national origin and many other traits that are no longer asked about in the census done every 10 years.

The exodus from Somalia began after the Horn of Africa nation fell into lawlessness in 1991. Thousands of Somalis began to settle in the U.S., usually in cities with nonprofit groups that would help them.

In many communities –including Minneapolis, Seattle, San Diego, and Columbus, Ohio — the population has grown and prospered, with Somali-owned shops and mosques proliferating. Somali translators work in the schools, the children of refugees go on to college and community leaders become public figures.

But there have been worrying signs about the second generation, with reports out of Minnesota of Somali gangs running interstate prostitution rings and investigations of young men going to fight with al-Shabab, which seeks to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.

Ahmed Sahid, president of Somali Family Services of San Diego, said the local population there was swelling with a “second migration” driven by Somalis leaving cold parts of the United States.

The government estimates there are 5,000 Somalis in the San Diego area, but Sahid said estimates are often wrong, and he thought there were 15,000 to 20,000.

“A lot of people don’t know how to report themselves,” he said last week. “I don’t think the Census will show a true figure of the population.”

The population is growing in Seattle, too, with the survey estimating it at about 8,600.

Bernardo Ruiz, manager of community and family partnerships for the Seattle public schools, said four years ago, Somali was the fourth most common foreign language spoken at home by students in the schools. Three years ago, it was third. Now, it’s second after Spanish with, by the district’s count, 1,680 students.

In response to the growth, the district has created a variety of support services including bilingual tutoring and a Saturday school that teaches English, math and life skills. It also hired Mohamed Roble, a Somali elder who works with families from Somalia and other East African countries.

Roble said he sees a second wave immigration into the area from Minneapolis and other Somali communities around the United States. He said Somalis were coming to Seattle partly to escape violence in other American cities.

“We don’t have a lot of gangs like Minnesota or San Diego,” he said.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. Maria L says:

    amazing and I will not say another word

  2. max says:

    A slew of disgusting racist comments coming in 3…2…

    1. BettyBoob says:

      for sure. And earned as a whole too I imagine most people feel.
      I detest the race – at least I am being honest about it.
      Ship them back to a place they belong

  3. linda says:

    No, but i do object to having to pay for their FREE health care

  4. merks says:

    We can never have enough criminals or future terrorists. First it was the hmong gangs and now these guys! How long before they demand we become sharia compliant and they have their own court system!

  5. Allah says:


    More Immagrants please! Millions of “Americans” are unemployed and sufering….we need to close the borders…..throw out illegals……and stop bringing every Jungle living….sand eating immagrant to Minnesota….go check out how California (#1 in Immagration) is doing…..Minnesota will follow….its good to know so many Somalians live here…I always watch for Somalians in white vans when I go to Christmas shows…..Go Portland….

    1. max says:

      Somalians eat sand and live in the jungle? This is new information to me. Please tell me more. And kindly include more ellipses in your response. You don’t use them enough.

      1. Kevin says:

        Jungle living (Hmoung) Sand eating (Somalian) I would add more ellipses but I am too busy working to pay for the Jungle living and Sand eating NON Americans….

  6. linda says:

    My daughter works at the hospital in St Cloud & hears them cursing out the nurses & making demands. Health insurance went way up to pay for their health insurance & their kids of course born here are citizens & each get SEVEN YEARS FREE health care .People working here legally from other countries we have to pay for their health care too. SEVEN HUNDRED dollars a month is way too much to pay for health care -it’s almost 2 weeks of my pay out of every 4 weeks worked between health care insurance & taxes. A lot of them don’t even bother to work & Frigidaire here in St Cloud PAYS them to take an hour off work & pray. They even demanded & got their own bathrooms there.

    1. max says:

      I agree that $700 is way too much for health insurance. But are you sure that the presence of Somalians is what drives the price up? And if being rude to medical staff a trait that’s exclusive to Somalians? I’m not trying to say that all immigrants are perfect people. I just hate seeing them get scapegoated.

    2. mum says:

      my question is if your daughter is nurse how does she hate the people who trust with their lives ? i think the government has to do something about that.

      people are not the same there is a lot of Somalis who works two jobs at least

  7. paab says:

    The Somali’s are all on Section 8 and of course receive free medical, dental, eye, and mental health. If people wish to come to this country to live they should be paying us, not the other way. Ask any Somali what they think of the United States. They hate this country and the people who pay their bills. they look at us and see a giant S on our foreheads for Sucker.

  8. linda says:

    That’s right. They have nothing but contempt for us.They even want all traffic & other signs to be in their language also. How else can you scream & curse at a nurse trying to help you if you had any respect for the people paying for your health care.

  9. linda says:

    Ask your nurse why heath insurance costs went up in Minnesota. Minnesota is considered a “rich” state & that’s why these people are brought here figuring we can “afford” to pay for them too.

  10. RIII says:

    Guess we have some of the best welfare in the country. Sad when middle class working people cannot afford healthcare but it is given out to non-working people of all races.

    1. BeatnDowninMN says:

      A Winner – this is where I truly struggle on all this. I give up better than 41 cents on every dollar I make to various taxes (thats known taxes!). I had a choice – can the insurance or lose my house. Not much of a choice at that.
      Assimilate and work and then earn acceptance. Demand it – you will lose

  11. Kim says:

    Send them all back where they came from! They need to live like we live and we need to take back OUR USA! Why do WE need to change everything for everyone, WHAT about those of us that were born and raised here. They cannot drive, cannot wear decent clothes…REMOVE THE HEAD WRAPS…it’s called FREEDOM! They cause accidents so YOUR insurance company needs to pay. They cannot work someplace where MEAT is present…get over it! GO BACK TO YOUR NATIVE COUNTRY if you don’t like it here! It’s costing us more to cover you!

  12. PJ says:

    Maybe we should all renounced are U.S. citizenship move to Somalia and then come back on the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program and live tax free for 7 years and get free health care and are U.S. citizenship back. “sarcasm”

  13. Fed Up says:

    When the movie “Blackhawk Down” was shown in Somalia, there were cheers when the helicopter was shot down, and more cheers when Marines were killed.

    These are the people that are moving here. Demanding free and reduced cost healthcare, welfare, etc, etc. Not to mention, Somalian gangs are causing huge problems for local and State police, costing us additional tax dollars.

    We need to start denying citizenship to those that cannot care for themselves. Politicians should be spending my tax dollars on the things that benefit me and those around me that are working towards a better city, state and country rather than creating a welfare system for immigrants.

    My forefathers didn’t get a handout. Neither should they.

  14. John says:

    There is a reason that these peole call this place Moneyapolis – Not Minneapolis !!!

  15. Kevin says:

    We’re #1! We’re #1! Minnesota now has the largest Hmoung and Somali population in the United States. Minnesota is second only to California in immagration. Minnesota just opened a “Human Rights” office in St Cloud to deal with all the human rights complaints by the Somali population. St Cloud is now 25% Somalian. California just declared a “State of emergency” due to budget problems……England just tightened their Immagragtion process. England has cut its Immagration to nearly zero. Why do they all come here…..”Free” baby….”Free”…If you give it to them…they will come….how ignorant we are….

  16. American says:

    Locals here in St Cloud like to live in Minnesomalia……

  17. MariaP says:

    I’ll go so far as to say I dislike them as a culture. Aggressive, mean, selfish, pig headed.
    I work around people all day long. This is the only group of people I have ever started to dislike. Sorry but that the facts

  18. Ben B. says:

    Nasty race of people in my opinion. Maybe they learned to kill and be nasty to survive over there but this is here.

Comments are closed.

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