MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — U.S. Census Bureau numbers show a sharp rise in poverty in Minnesota.

According to the reports, from 2007 to 2008, the poverty level stood at 9.6 percent. From 2009 to 2010, that level rose to 10.8 percent

“It’s not a surprise. It’s a huge disappointment,” said DFL Sen. John Marty, the former chairman of the Commission to End Poverty.

Marty says the rise in poverty is partially due to the economy and decisions that are being made by the state and federal governments. He says those decisions are driving more middle class people into poverty.

“The disappointment is that things are falling faster in Minnesota,” said Marty. “We use to have one of the lowest rates of poverty in the country. Now, it’s like one in 10 Minnesotans live in poverty.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

The report is part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Income, Poverty and Health Insurance in the United States. The report found nationwide household income declined in 2009 to 2010.

The number of people without health-insurance also increased. From 2007 to 2008, 8.1 percent of Minnesotans didn’t have health insurance. For 2009 to 2010, it grew to 8.9 percent.

Brandon Jones with the Salvation Army is seeing the impact of the increase in poverty first hand. He’s a case manager for the Booth Brown House Foyer program. They help young adults ages 16 to 21 in making the transitions from dependent to independent.

“Our doors have been filling up faster than they have been in the last couple of years,” said Jones. “Youth are experiencing homelessness in levels that they’ve never experienced before.”

The average stay for a young adult in his program is between 5 and 6 months. Jones says lately they’ve been at full capacity. As the program works to get adults independent they also work on getting them insured through different counties.

“We do try as hard as we can to get something going where people are covered under healthcare,” said Jones.

Jones says since 2008 they’ve also seen an increase on people coming to their food banks.

“We’ve seen a 150 percent increase in our food shelf population,” said Jones.

For the last four years, Marty has been proposing legislation to help struggling Minnesotans. He calls it the “Worker Dignity Bill.” It’s a combination of raising the minimum wage significantly, increasing the earned income tax credit and making sure parents with young children have affordable childcare.

“If you give people enough income, they’re going to be buying things, buy necessities and helping the rest of the economy,” said Marty.

Comments (36)
  1. mike says:

    When more single mothers have more kids, we allow more immigrants from third world country’s with no real marketable skills and large family’s, we continually raise taxes for more money to pay teachers, we burn our food source to save oil and create a food shortage and inflation. And the ones in charge have no idea why the people are poor.

    1. Jo says:

      Really? It’s all the single mothers fault? Really?

      1. Xy says:

        You are picking one point. But, yes, that is a part of the problem. My wife runs a daycare, and there is a huge difference in children with two parents, and the children with one. I don’t need a study to prove that fact.
        Also, talk to the teachers, they will agree. This is just an honest comment.

      2. Really says:

        I know, kind of an inconvenient truth huh? But truth non the less.

      3. Really says:

        Yup, I know, an inconvenient truth right? But true.

    2. Kevin says:

      Brilliant Mike!!!! And right on the money…..run for office…you have my vote!

    3. Jackie Du Charme says:

      Iwatched the poverty level on channel 4 news tonight. Anyone who makes 11,000 or less is in the poverty level. But they said many do get more aid from many of the government agencies. Really?
      What about the people on Social Security? Many are poverished then and they have put alof of money into this SS throughout their workable years. We don’t get extra help from the government in aid formation. We aren’t allowed to make more than an extra 14,000 a year besides the piddly SS. and yet we still have to claim SS as an income altho it was already taxed once before. Something is wrong with America. Its not the land of the free.

    4. Mike says:

      Come on Mike, wake up! The working class has not had real wage increases since the 70’s. Your solution of making teachers work for less will drive good educators from the system and anyone with half a brain cell understands how they have contributed more towards economic security than any politician or preacher. The middle class is suffering from the results of Reaganomics, NAFTA and deregulation of the financial sector! Pull your head out of your derriere, Republicans led us into this depression just as they did the last two.

      1. Jake says:

        Come on, Second Mike. Do you really believe teachers will leave a nine-month job that pays far higher than the private sector? No way. And what’s amazing is how our international ranking and test scores were higher when teachers were making less than the national average. Somehow paying a teacher more because he has a Master’s degree when he teaches second graders hasn’t paid the dividends the union convinced the legislature it would.

    5. are you serious? says:

      Wait… I’m a single mom because my ex-husband couldn’t deal with a child with a disability and he walked out the door. So now it’s my fault that people are in poverty?

      For the record, I work full time. I have a second job (my own small business). I pay my mortgage and don’t receive any government assistance, save for the student loans I received while going to school for an advanced degree.

      Remind me again why this is my fault?

      1. Dave's Not Here says:

        Your husband divorced YOU to get away from his kid? I might take that a bit personally if I were you, and consider it was you he couldn’t deal with.

  2. Cindy says:


    1. Ha, Ha!! says:

      Gee, that’s dumb

    2. Dave's Not Here says:

      Cindy, I’ve never earned a better income than during the time Obama has been in office. An inconvenient truth for you.

  3. Jeb says:

    When 10 percent of the familys in Minnesota speak a language other than English at home it is not surprising.

    1. Lou says:

      15 million illegals in the US.

      Need we say more…

      1. Mike says:

        And why are they here Lou? Because local and national business and corporations offer them work while BOTH major political parties allow it to happen. Instead of whining about it, contact your legislature or city council member and have them start legislation to criminalize employers for illegally hiring alien workers!

        1. dan says:

          Wrong Mike,

          The laws are already on the books just prosecute the offenders to the fullest extent of the law!
          Anything in legislation now is a joke

  4. Phid says:

    “For the last four years, Marty has been proposing legislation to help struggling Minnesotans. He calls it the “Worker Dignity Bill.” It’s a combination of raising the minimum wage significantly, increasing the earned income tax credit and making sure parents with young children have affordable childcare.”

    So basically Marty’s vision is to try to see how much the state can drive businesses away and and give people more taxpayer money. This is the problem with Democrats – while they might have some good intentions at heart, the ideas are actually counterproductive to achieving the common good.

    If money grew on trees, then the plans of the Democrats might be doable.

    1. iswearbuyit says:

      Need to become a personal conglomerate. Seek opportunity to learn, grow, succeed. There’s ways to increase one’s income out there in addition to a conventional job or career. Seek and ye shall find.

    2. Dave's Not Here says:

      Why do they have to babysit 16-21 year olds into becoming independent? When did this become necessary?

  5. e says:

    my husband left me after my youngest sons graduation reception. my home went into foreclosure, moved to a city with a temp job and that ended. i have been on unemployment now and have a business degree. i was always the one that gave and now i have to ask for help and it stinks. ps republicans like to keep money for themselves and not be taxed. all the republicans i know are rich and their wallets have never been opened except for their own needs. just my opinion.

    1. Pat says:

      Move and get a job. They are out there, but it may not be a business degree job.

      Don’t blame me. If I am hiring, I would pick the applicant who worked at any job over the one that sat on unemployment for more than a year.

      1. Mike says:

        How do you move if can’t afford it?
        Why do you blame people who are unemployed and receiving benefits that they and their employer paid into?
        Without a doubt, at some point in your life either from your parents or in-laws, you received some sort of welfare and never took the time to see that is exactly what it was. It takes a real jerk to criticize people down on their luck Pat, and you definitely fit that bill…….

    2. Government cheese and whine says:

      Start each sentence with a capital letter. Do this whether or not you’re writing a resume or a posting a comment about all republicans being rich and selfish. This will give the appearance of intelligence, even if it’s not warranted. It will also dispel the impression that you are so unconcerned about your grammar that you won’t even expend the energy needed to press the shift key. Oh yeah, quit whining and mooching off society. Get a job.

    3. Jake says:

      While e’s situation, if true, is unfortunate, I hope for the best for her (although in today’s world, having a husband wouldn’t necessarily make e a woman). But what’s interesting is the notion that “republicans like to keep money for themselves.” This is inherently flawed? I went to a Democratic banquet, and not a single person bought me a drink, offered me their food, or handed me cash. They just kept spending it on themselves. What’s wrong with these people?

      Maybe it’s the corollary to Supply Side economics – Demand-Side Charity. If someone tells you they need (or want) your money, you are obligated to turn it over.

      How long did e wait until the house was foreclosed? Where was the husband’s responsibility? Sounds like e needed a better lawyer.

  6. Gi says:

    Thank you for sharing that E, people need to know there are many different reasons why poverty is rising and rising fast. In my opinion, most Republicans are stuck up snobs and if they went broke they couldnt handle the pressures of everyday low income individuals. Share the wealth, save the poor.

    1. iswearbuyit says:

      Wealth is out there to be had if you’re willing to take the initiative to find it. These days you have to think outside of the box. Work toward something that you may think you’re not. Push the envelope of learning and exit your comfort zone.

      Success can be had if you see what others are doing, and do the opposite.

      Jobs are great, but even then, they alone are not enough. Not in The New Economy…

    2. Mj says:

      @Gi. You are a moron.Keep your legs together and don’t have kids you can’t afford. You must be one of those goofy libs.

  7. Mark says:

    To the Mike that obviously “GETS IT” Bravo!! To the rest who don’t the real question is:

    “How’s that trickle down economics working for you?”

    Payroll taxes at 35% (State, Federal, FICA)
    Tax on dividends and capital gains: 15%

    The majority of median wage earners have over 1/3 of their income going out in taxes, while those earning over 500,000 per year see an effective tax rate of 17%. And you have the audacity to blame single mothers and illegal immigrants?

    We need to go back to the tax rate of Eisenhower, a republican, who had taxes on the most wealthy at 92%. Most avoided paying it out by putting it into raising pay for workers. An interesting FACT!

    Until median wages for workers increase, no true economic improvement will come in this nation. If no one can afford to buy anything except basic necessities, there will be no improvement.to the bottom line of business.

    A look at history of the 1950’s and 1960’s saw labor union membership in private sector at roughly 40% of all workers in private sector jobs. Differance between lowest wage earners and CEO pay was at roughly 200%. Now union membership in private sector is at 7% and pay diiference is closer to 1400%.

    Profits and productivity is at an all time high, while median wages have increased at less than 2%. Unemployment continues to rise.. Coincidence?

    Thank you to the GOP for all of your great obstructionist policies! And also for all of your heartless felt comments to those struggling in this new GREATER depression!

    1. dan says:

      @ Mark

      92% tax rate, really? So if I make $400,000 per year you are going to collect $368,000 in taxes and let me take home $32,000 in income? I would be considered 1 more Obama poverty stat. Great plan, just see how many more companies fly overseas after that tax hike!

      1. Dave's Not Here says:

        Please define in detail for me what exactly constitutes an “Obama poverty stat”

        Am I to understand that you believe Obama is the cause of all of America’s economic issues?

      2. Mark says:

        The rate was put into place at an escalating scale. Any earnings over 1 million dollars per year was taxed at a rate of 92% under Eisenhower (a republican).

        Now plan this out for me danny boy. If median wages of most workers (union and non-union) continue to stagnate, and only those in the upper income levels continue to make gains over the rate of inflation, where will the market for goods in this nation be? Where will businesses find buyers for their products?

        Figure it out people!

  8. Dale Gribble says:

    The poor are poor because they deserve to be so. If they really cared about it, they wouldn’t be. Let them starve, I say. I’m sick and tired of paying for it with my taxes.

  9. Wake Up says:

    Aaah class war fare at it’s finest. As far as raising the minium wage – well wouldn’t all of us who are working like a pay raise – you bet – hasn’t happened for alot of us. Is anyone surprised at the poverty level – not really as everything has gone up except wages – how could more people not fall below the poverty level. Services have increased while the money collected to support those services has decreased – increasing taxes on just the rich isn’t going to cover it if we don’t get spending under control – you can blame dems/repubs doesn’t matter as they’ve both had there fingers into whats happening.

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