by Dan Mikel
Growing up in Detroit, Michigan in the 1940’s and 1950’s was a great experience for me. My father was a tool and die maker at Chrysler Corporation, my mother was a social worker for Wayne County and I attended public schools that had many dedicated teachers. After graduating from college in St. Paul, I decided that Minnesota seemed to be a better place with a greater future than Michigan. I have never regretted that decision. So, I am not a native Minnesotan, but I have lived here for well over a half century.
Minnesota is a great state. Now we have comprehensive, documented proof as revealed in Lee Lynch’s newly published book, Amazing MN. As Lynch states on the title page,
“With less than 2% of the nation’s population, Minnesota is a model for prosperity, creativity, and quality of life.”
The book is a great storehouse of information about Minnesota, lavishly illustrated with pictures, graphs, cartoons and maps.
Besides “fun” facts referring to hunting, fishing, entertainment and weather, there are useful “nuggets” of information that we can use when we encounter those with whom we have different social and political points of view.
Let’s look at some of the facts contained in just one of the sixteen chapters in this book.
- ECONOMIC DIVERSITY. A circle graph (or pie chart) clearly shows how Minnesota’s balanced economy has been beneficial as all segments of the economy are not “down” at once; neither are all “up” at the same time.
- WELL-EDUCATED WORKFORCE. Over 1/3 of high school graduates earn college degrees. Compared to other states, Minnesota has the second-highest percentage of students completing high school. We do have a serious gap in students of color not completing high school.
- BUSINESS CLIMATE. Using ten factors (access to capital; cost of living; business friendliness; education; technology & innovation; quality of life; infrastructure; cost of doing business; workforce; economy) Minnesota ranked # 1 in 2015 and # 4 in 2016. A detailed graph provides the supporting data.
- AIRPORT. Given our weather, it is surprising to see that in 2016 MSP ranked 5th best in the world with on-time flights,
- YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS. Minnesota ranks # 4 in the nation for top states for young entrepreneurs.
- MANUFACTURING. The Twin Cities ranks 7th in the nation with 193,700 manufacturing jobs, 13% of the jobs in the state
- HOUSEHOLD INCOME. The median household income in Minnesota is $71,008, 5th highest in the nation
- TAXES. Minnesotans are not the most heavily taxed people in the country, but are at # 8 or #9. New York State has the highest. As the author points out, “The question for each Minnesotan should be, is the trade-off between quality of life and higher taxes worth it?”
- FARM CROPS. Minnesota is # 1 in growing turkeys, peas, sweet corn, beans and sugar beets. That’s the makings of a good holiday dinner for the whole family.
- JOB CREATION. In 2015 Minnesota ranked # 1 in job creation.
- PATENTS. Minnesota is # 10 in the nation for the issuance of patents.
- HEALTH CARE AND RELATED INDUSTRIES. Minnesota is # 2 in the USA in medical technology employment.
As we are about to go out and talk face -to -face with voters in 2018, we would be well-prepared knowing some of the facts listed above as well as many others contained in Lee Lynch’s Amazing MN.