Twin Cities Gentrification Study

Since the Great Recession, the Twin Cities Region has rebounded and showed strong employment trends and economic growth. However, this has not been without growing pains. Economic growth has been uneven and the region suffers from some of the largest racial disparities related to education and employment in the country.

In this context, the central cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have seen large public investments including two multi-billion dollar light rail lines as well as new stadiums and public infrastructure like the Midtown Greenway.

Through CURA’s community-based research, many of our community partners have voiced concerns that though renewed investment is a positive development, it is also leading to increasing housing costs, gentrification and displacement of existing low-wealth communities and communities of color.

Project Overview

A research team at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) led by Professor Edward Goetz is using a mixed-methods approach combining quantitative analysis with qualitative interviews to understand patterns of gentrification-related neighborhood change in the Twin Cities.

Our research questions include:

  • Based on quantitative data analysis and qualitative interviews, is there evidence that gentrification is occurring in Minneapolis and St. Paul and if so, where?
  • How do conceptualizations of gentrification differ between local community residents, city staff and elected officials?
  • Do the quantitative data match with how community members are viewing neighborhood change?

Preliminary Results

Our preliminary findings indicate that between 200 and 2014, over a third of low-income census tracts in Minneapolis underwent gentrification during the study period and about a quarter of low-income census tracts in St. Paul gentrified.

  • In both cities, tracts that gentrified were largely clustered close to downtown and around large public investments.
  • In Minneapolis, this included large sections of Northeast, the Willard-Hay neighborhood in North Minneapolis, Elliot Park (near U.S. Bank Stadium) and South Minneapolis along the Midtown Greenway and the Blue Line.
  • In St. Paul, tracts along the Green Line including areas of Frogtown, Summit-University and the West-Seventh Corridor in Highland Park gentrified.

Due to increasing housing costs and stagnant incomes for low and moderate income families in Minneapolis, fewer and fewer neighborhoods are affordable to the typical Minneapolis household.

  • The period between 2000 and 2014 saw the number of neighborhoods that were affordable to the typical renter in Minneapolis drop by 35%.
  • Renters of color saw more extreme drops in affordability with the typical Black renter household not able to afford the typical apartment unit in any Minneapolis neighborhood by 2014 without being housing cost burdened.

Download the preliminary results of the gentrification study

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