Downtown Minneapolis skyline in the Morning with a bridge midway and the Mississippi River in the foreground.

Issues and Statistics

  • There are 1,281,826 children under 18 in Minnesota. (2014)
  • Children Living in Poverty – 15 % (2014)
    • 1 in every 7 Minnesota children
    • 24% 306,000 of MN children’s parents lack secure employment (no parent has regular full-time employment)
  • Children Receiving Public Only (Medicaid/CHIP) Health Insurance – 306,000 (2014)
  • Children Not Covered by Health Insurance – 49,000 (2014)
  • Child Abuse & Neglect Victims – 4,143 (2014)
  • 55% of Minnesota’s 3-4 Year Olds Not Enrolled in a preschool program – (2014)
  • 29% of 4th Graders Scoring below Basic Reading Levels; 61% of 4th Graders Scoring Below Proficiency Reading Levels – (2015)
  • 74% of Minnesota children under the age of 6 have all available parents in the labor force
  • Cost of childcare: $926/mo for 4-year-olds, $1,197/mo for infants


When every child gets a fair shot at success, America’s families, communities and the economy as a whole will benefit. Lifting children from poverty and removing discrimination or other barriers to development and achievement are a key government function. As noted by eminent political scientist Robert Putnam, the denial of equal opportunity is a dagger to the heart of the American Dream. One in seven children in Minnesota lives in poverty and the gap continues to grow.


Working and having a family shouldn’t be so hard. Paid sick and family medical leave, access to affordable childcare and better incomes can help provide the economic security and flexibility that parents need to build their careers and support their families. Sixty-seven percent of children under the age of six have all available parents in the labor force, and in Minnesota, child care in a center costs about $1,197 per month for infants and $926 per month for a four-year-old. Minnesota is ranked 1st among the top 10 least affordable states for center-based infant care, and 5th for 4-year-old care. Compare average annual infant care to average annual state university tuition and fees ($10,527) plus room and board–$14,366 to $18,000! The average Pell grant award covers only $5,775.


We believe all kids should have access to high quality schools regardless of their parents’ income and whether they live in urban, rural or suburban areas. For early childhood and higher education, let’s level the playing field. To educate the next generation of leaders and innovators, early childhood education and college affordability must be priorities. 55% of Minnesota’s 3 and 4-year-olds did not attend a pre-school program from 2012-2014.


All children need a safe environment at home, in school and in their neighborhoods. Preventing child abuse and neglect and child deaths from maltreatment as well as minimizing the gun violence that is a leading killer of children and teens should be top priorities. In Minnesota, 4,143 children were confirmed victims of abuse and neglect in 2014.


No child should be denied health care. While the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the recently enacted comprehensive health reform bill will ensure that most children and youth receive timely and comprehensive medical attention, we must continue to advance policies that preserve and enhance this progress. 49,000 Minnesota children were without health insurance in 2014. And 306,000 Minnesota children were enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP in 2014.