Engaging our community to end poverty

Poverty in Duluth

Prosperity Now, released a Local Outcome Report for Duluth in June 2018.
Topics include: Financial Assets & Income, Business & Jobs, Homeownership & Housing, Health Care, and Education.
Image of Scorecard of Outcomes for Duluth, MN

 

Click on the Image to open the full PDF report.

 

 

 

In the picturesque city of Duluth, over 17% of the population lives below the federal poverty line

  • This is dramatically higher than the national average of 13.5%.
  • And nearly double the rate for the state at 11.5%.

Source: Community Action Duluth Community Assessment 2016–2017

The poverty rate in Duluth dropped for the first time in many years

  • In 2014, 22.7% of all Duluthians lived in poverty.
  • In 2015, the poverty rate dropped to 17.8% (it remains to be seen if this is a trend).

Source: 2015 American Community Survey

Who lives in poverty in Duluth?
80% of Single Moms with Children under 5
69% of Indigenous Families
55% of Black Families
Source: Community Action Duluth Community Assessment 2016–2017

40% of everyone living in poverty—between 16 and 64 years old—in Duluth is working.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey

Average household income in Duluth is:

  • $43,518—significantly lower than that of the rest of the state at $63,488.
  • More than half (55.5%) of households reported incomes below $50,000.
  • Statewide analysis shows the need for a minimum of $50,988 required to meet basic needs for the average family, or $13.65–$13.96 per hour.

Source: Community Action Duluth Community Assessment 2016–2017

A family of three making $20,780 or less is considered to be living in poverty.

Family Size Income per year
1 $12,140
2 $16,460
3 $20,780
4 $25,100
5 $29,420
6 $33,740
7 $38,060
8 $42,380

Source: Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2018

The gap between average rent and what median income renter households can afford continues to increase.

Rent in Duluth Studio 1 bedrm 2 bedrm 3 bedrm
monthly costs $535 $758 $955 $1,055
income to afford $21,400 $30,320 $38,200 $42,200
hourly wage to afford (40hr/wk) $10 $15 $18 $20
hours per wk at minimum wage 46 65 82 90

Source: City of Duluth 2015 Housing Indicator Report

Race and homeownership.

  • With rents rising and the incomes of households that rent going down, more and more households are cost burdened.
  • Citywide, 60% of the 35,548 households own while 40% rent.
  • About 62% of white householders own, while 38% rent.
  • These percentages are drastically different for Duluth’s 2,504 households of color, with 27% owning and 73% renting.

Source: City of Duluth 2015 Housing Indicator Report

Underemployment in Duluth.
About 12% of the almost 60,000 person workforce in Duluth work in industries where the average wage is below what a full time minimum wage worker makes.
Source: City of Duluth 2015 Housing Indicator Report

Who’s Unemployed in Duluth?
28% of Black Families
20% of Indigenous Families
19% of Multi Ethnic Families
6% of White Families
Source: Community Action Duluth Community Assessment 2016–2017

Children Living in Poverty
A 2016 report released by the St. Louis County Health and Human Services Department names poverty and a lack of a living wage as the two largest issues facing our community, noting a 7% increase in poverty rates for children in St. Louis County when compared to the state of Minnesota ​as a whole.
Source: Community Action Duluth Community Assessment 2016–2017

Food insecurity in Duluth

  • 15% of households in Duluth received SNAP benefits in 2014, a greater percentage than St. Louis County (11.6%), Minnesota (8.8%) and the U.S. (13%).
  • In a survey conducted by Community Action Duluth:
    • 41% of respondents indicated that food was a problem,
    • citing not enough money for healthy food (75%) as the major contributor,
    • with over 20% of respondents indicating a lack of food as causing them to skip meals.

Source: Community Action Duluth Community Assessment 2016–2017

Transportation is a barrier
Driver’s education that was once free, now costs an average of $400/student.​ Students from families with limited incomes face nearly insurmountable barriers to driver’s success:

  • Cost of classes
  • Access to a vehicle to accumulate drive time
  • Access to a caregiver with a driver’s license and the time to help teach
  • Lack of transportation to and from classes
  • Automatic and sometimes severe insurance premium increases for teenage drivers/license-holders

Source: Representative Jennifer Schultz, A License to Move Out of Poverty, Duluth Budgeteer, 2016