This is a piece written in collaboration with Brett Grant (Voices for Racial Justice), Clark Biegler Goldenrod (Minnesota Budget Project), Roberto de la Riva (Inquilinxs Unidxs), and Eric Hauge (HOME line). It will be released in four parts over the next few weeks. Read part two here
Who Receives the Renters Credit?
In 2015, about 328,000 Minnesota households received the Renters Credit. Most households receiving the credit had incomes of around $31,000 or less.
According to the Minnesota Budget Project, the average amount of Renters Credit received in 2015 was $636. More than a quarter of the households receiving the Renters Credit included senior citizens and/or people with disabilities; for these households the average credit was $702. The share of households who receive the credit that include seniors or people with disabilities tends to be higher in Greater Minnesota. In 12 Greater Minnesota counties, at least half of the participating households included seniors and/or persons with disabilities.
Racial Equity Implications of the Renters Credit
In Minnesota, racial equity policies to eliminate socio-economic and racial disparities center around the belief that what we look like and where we come from should not determine the benefits, burdens, or responsibilities we bear in our society. Despite Minnesota’s reputation as one of the most progressive and thriving states in the country, we cannot escape the legacy of present and past discrimination. To reverse this legacy, numerous community organizations have adopted policy strategies grounded in racial equity, or “the development of policies, practices and strategic investments to reverse racial disparity trends, eliminate institutional racism, and ensure that outcomes and opportunities for all people are no longer predictable by race,” as a central part of their organizing principles.
A look at the racial composition of renters in Minnesota shows that almost three quarters of low-income black Minnesotans are renting. About 60 percent of people who identify as Ojibwe are renting. Half of low-income Hmong folks in Minnesota are renting, and 90 percent of low-income Somali Minnesotans are renting. For our purposes, we define people as being low-income if they are living at 200 percent of the federal poverty line or below. For example, a family of three with an income of $42,000 is living at 200 percent of the federal poverty line.
Table 1 – Selected Low-Income POCI Populations Living in Minnesota
|Estimated Population Renting||Proportion Renting|
|Black Minnesotans||84,000||74 percent|
|Somali Minnesotans||16,000||90 percent|
|Hmong Minnesotans||10,000||48 percent|
|Mexican Minnesotans||34,000||60 percent|
Race Equity Implications for Minnesotans with Children
The implications for many communities of color with children in Minnesota are similar. About 80 percent of low-income black Minnesotans who have children are renting, which translates to about 41,000 Minnesotans. Minnesotans from Mexico who have children are also likely renting in high numbers, about 21,000 Minnesotans.
Table 2 – Selected Low-Income POCI Families with Children Living in Minnesota
|Estimated Population Renting||Proportion with Children Renting|
|Black Minnesotans||41,000||82 percent|
|Somali Minnesotans||9,000||91 percent|
|Hmong Minnesotans||6,000||53 percent|
|Mexican Minnesotans||21,000||62 percent|
Race Equity Implications for Seniors
A look at the racial equity implications for seniors who are renting in Minnesota shows that most low-income senior Somali Minnesotans are renting. Close to 70 percent of low-income black seniors in Minnesota are renting, which is about 5,000 people. About half of Ojibwe seniors are renting. Over 60 percent of Hmong seniors are renting, and about 40 percent of Mexican seniors are renting.
Table 3 – Selected Low-Income POCI Seniors Living in Minnesota
|Estimated Seniors Renting||Proportion of Seniors Renting|
|Black Minnesotans||5,000||67 percent|
|Somali Minnesotans||1,500||98 percent|
|Hmong Minnesotans||600||64 percent|
|Mexican Minnesotans||800||39 percent|