Minnesota has done it again - we've come out on top of another "best state"-type ranking, this time ranking as #1 Happiest State in America, according to analysts at WalletHub.(1) 28 key metrics were examined, ranging from depression rates to sports participation rates to income growth.
Looking at the overall picture - this is great news. Dig a bit deeper into the data or spend some time volunteering with one of Minnesota’s roughly 300 food shelves and you will quickly learn not all Minnesotans are enjoying prosperity and happiness at the same rate.
For the past 6 years, food shelves throughout Minnesota have been visited over 3 million times annually, with 1 in 10 Minnesota households experiencing food insecurity.(2)
The same publication naming Minnesota the happiest state ranked Minnesota #51 in income equality in 2015, with Minnesota home to the highest financial gaps by race/ethnicity.(3)
While Minnesota and the twin cities metro area are celebrated for having high median incomes and low unemployment rates, Minnesota is home to some of the largest disparities in the US.(4)
What does this mean?
It means Minnesota has a lot of work to do. As we work toward food security for Minnesotans and ending hunger throughout the state we cannot expect to achieve our goals by simply fundraising and filling food shelves.
To end hunger, we must advocate for and support programs and systems that reduce poverty and promote racial equity.
The journey ahead is long, but not insurmountable. Join us as we strive to make Minnesota nice for all Minnesotans.