Jobs. Cultural Diversity. Entrepreneurialism.
That’s what Minnesota can expect in the future taking a look at the results of the latest U.S. Census.
The non-white population drove the state’s growth of 400,000 new residents in the last 10 years. That’s a healthy 7 percent growth rate, all of it driven by growth in diverse communities. The white population for the first time declined about 1 percent.
Not surprisingly, urban areas grew faster than rural areas. And while all of Minnesota’s 87 counties remained majority white, the state’s diversity index grew from 30% to 40%. That means that in any random selection of a person who lives in Minnesota, there’s a 40% change they will be non-white or mixed race.
And we know by anecdotal evidence that much of the diversity growth comes from immigrants and refugees from east African countries and elsewhere.
All of this is good news for Minnesota and its economic vitality. Immigrant and non-white populations remain a critical part of the labor force where employers face workers shortages due to retirement of the baby boomers. It’s also good for outstate communities who would be losing even more population were it not for immigrants and refugees, who are often entrepreneurial.
But, as we have seen last summer with civil unrest related to the George Floyd murder, the growth of diversity can have its challenges. We’re not so much a melting pot where all cultures blend as we are a salad bowl, where each culture offers its own flavor.
So instead of jobs, entrepreneurialism, cultural diversity and economic growth, we could have cultural decay and economic malaise if we make bad choices.
Divisiveness is diversity’s worst enemy. And there are those who would stir up divisiveness with red herrings like critical race theory or other anti-fairness and anti-diversity organized initiatives.
And it’s important to note majority won’t rule if you’re in the minority. So it’s important we all find things we can agree upon and move forward with common goals of cultural diversity and economic prosperity.