Choice, Place and Opportunity

An equity assessment of the Twin Cities region

Cover of Choice, Place and Opportunity report.A region that shares both opportunities and challenges and seeks to improve the lives of its entire population is stronger and more vibrant. With this report, we hope to raise awareness of the complex interdependencies of income, race, place, and opportunity and to challenge both our organization and others to think regionally and act equitably for a better region for all.

What we learned

  • The Twin Cities region has become far more racially diverse since 1990. The number of residents of color has more than tripled, pulling up their share of the region’s population from 9% in 1990 to 24% in 2010. By 2040, people of color will be 40% of the region’s population.

  • The Twin Cities region has some of the nation’s biggest disparities along racial and ethnic lines among our peer metro areas. These disparities include income, poverty, unemployment, homeownership and education.

  • Income and race can limit where people live. Since residents of color living in the Twin Cities region tend to have lower incomes than whites, income is more of a constraint for people of color when it comes to housing choice. Above and beyond income, however, race still influences where residents of color live in the region.

  • Looking at the Twin Cities region as a whole, opportunities such as jobs, high-performing schools and safe neighborhoods are unevenly distributed. Because of residential patterns, white residents and people of color live in different proximity to opportunity.

  • Public policy can positively influence the geography of opportunity by expanding residential choices, transportation options and the locations of economic opportunity. Key place-based policy areas that affect the geography of opportunity include affordable housing policy, transit service and community development investments.

This report was submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in March 2014, as a requirement of the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant that funded this initiative.

Report and resources

All documents are in PDF format; those larger than 5 MB are indicated.

CPO Executive Summary (PDF, 12 pages)

Section 1: Regional Disparities (PDF)
Section 2: Regional Poverty Trends (PDF)
Section 3: Racial Trends in the Region (PDF)
Section 4: Place-based Dynamics of Racial Disparities (PDF)
Section 5: Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty (PDF)
Section 6: Opportunity in the Region (PDF, 11 MB)
Section 7: Public Policies and Investments (PDF, 8 MB)
Section 8: Metropolitan Council's Policy Responses (PDF)
Section 9: Policy Responses from Across the Region (PDF)
Section 10: Next Steps (PDF)
Appendices (PDF)
Map: Areas of Concentrated Poverty (PDF)

Next steps

The Met Council has identified equity as one of five key regional outcomes from Thrive MSP 2040 (PDF), alongside stewardship, prosperity, livability, and sustainability. In Thrive MSP 2040, we commit to using equity as a lens to evaluate our operations, planning, and investments. We also commit to exploring our authority to use our resources and roles to mitigate the place-based dimension of racial, ethnic, and income-based disparities.