Community Indicators

Community indicators set the long-term direction for the county’s strategic planning and budget. Indicators were selected during two rounds of community engagement conducted in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022 as part of Ramsey County’s participation in the Urban Institute’s Upward Mobility Cohort and are directly connected to the county’s resulting Mobility Action Plan and Economic Competitiveness and Inclusion Plan. These plans are both focused on cultivating inclusive prosperity and narrowing the racial and ethnic wealth gap.
While departmental performance measures track advancement of the county’s vision, mission and goals by directly measuring the output of county services, community indicators measure communitywide outcomes. No single indicator can capture all progress toward a goal, but together these metrics help track the overall health of our community in the areas of affordability, wealth creation, early childhood, health and public safety, helping the county:
  • Provide information about past and current trends.
  • Track disaggregated data highlighting key racial and ethnic disparities.
  • Develop its strategic plans and budget priorities.
  • Show progress toward achieving the county’s vision, mission and goals.


Ramsey County is committed to making our region affordable for racially and ethnically diverse communities so they can create a strong, stable foundation for economic success. Families need sufficient income to meet basic needs and costs related to working. Higher incomes are associated with higher academic achievement and educational attainment, better physical and mental health, and fewer behavioral problems in children. By tracking households’ median income, level of rent burden and access to living wage jobs, the county hopes to focus affordable housing and workforce development investments where they are most needed.

Median household income

To identify income percentiles, all households are ranked by income from lowest to highest. The poorest 20% of households are below the 20th percentile mark. Similarly, where poorest and richest halves are divided is the 50th percentile income (or median), and the line between the poorest 80% and richest 20% is the 80th percentile. This metric shows the median, or income level that is in the exact middle for each percentile, in Ramsey County.

Share of households experiencing severe rent burden

The share of low-income households that spend more than half of their household income on rent is reported at three income levels: low-income (below 80% of area median income, or AMI), very low-income (below 50% of AMI), and extremely low-income (below 30% of AMI).
AMI is the midpoint of a geographical area’s income distribution. This indicator is based on the AMI for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area, or Twin Cities metro region.

Full-time workers living below the poverty level by industry

The ratio between actual wages and the living wage, or the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs, is represented by the yellow horizontal line. Industries with average wages that are below the living wage fall short of the line. Average wages are based on data from workers aged 18-64 who reported usually working at least 30 hours per week and worked at least 27 weeks out of the year.

Wealth Creation

As part of the county’s strategic priority to foster Intergenerational Prosperity for Racial & Economic Inclusion, Ramsey County is committed to addressing deep racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership, income, business opportunities and business ownership that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wealth in the form of savings can help families weather destabilizing events like a period of unemployment or unexpected expenses, while children from wealthier families tend to have better academic, health and behavioral outcomes than children from low- or no-wealth families. These indicators help the county track debt, home purchases and mortgage application denial rates and work with community to develop strategies for eliminating the racial and ethnic wealth gap and creating new prosperity that can be passed down to future generations.

Share of residents with debt in collections

The share of residents with debt in collections refers to people in an area with a credit bureau record of debt that has progressed from being past-due to being pursued for collections. 
White communities and racially and ethnically diverse communities are based on ZIP codes where over 60% of residents are white or over 60% of residents identify themselves as Black/African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, some other race, multiracial or nonwhite Hispanic/Latino in the U.S. census.

Share of student loan debt in collections

White communities and racially and ethnically diverse communities are identified using census data to identify ZIP codes where over 60% of residents are white or identify as some other race or ethnicity.

Homeownership by race and ethnicity

The county’s homeownership rate is defined as the number of owner-occupied housing units divided by the total number of occupied housing units, which is tracked here by the race of the householder. Householder refers to the person in whose name the housing unit is owned. If the house is owned jointly, the person designated as the householder is the "reference person" to whom the relationship of all other household members, if any, is recorded by the U.S. census.

Denial rate for home purchase loans by race and ethnicity

The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requires most financial institutions to maintain, report and publicly disclose loan-level information about mortgages, including actions taken on home purchase loan applications. The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requires most financial institutions to maintain, report and publicly disclose loan-level information about mortgages, including actions taken on home purchase loan applications. Due to missing data on race and ethnicity, this indicator cannot be reliably visualized at this time.

Early Childhood

Ramsey County’s strategic priority to Advance a Holistic Approach to Strengthen Families is focused on expanding access to quality consistent early childhood care and education by targeting gaps disproportionately impacting Black/African American and American Indian children living in Ramsey County. High enrollment in quality preschool is associated with higher shares of a community’s children being prepared to start school ready to learn, with the cognitive and social skills required to succeed in an academic setting and beyond. By monitoring preschool enrollment, participation in child care assistance, early learning scholarship programs and early childhood screenings, the county aims to expand the availability of and connect more families with early care, education resources and other services.  

Number of licensed childcare slots available

This indicator shows the amount of available space at center-based childcare and family childcare facilities per every 100 infant, toddler and preschooler in the county. At family childcare facilities, childcare is provided within a licensed caregiver’s home.  Information on licensed child care programs, child care setting types and the number of spaces per early care and learning program were obtained using data from the National Data System for Child Care maintained by Child Care Aware of America with permission from the license holder granted in November 2022.

Share of 3- to 4-year-olds enrolled in nursery school or preschool

This metric captures parent-reported enrollment of three- and four-year-old children in nursery school or preschool gathered from the American Community Survey, an ongoing national survey conducted by the Census Bureau on an annual basis.


The Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health Strategic Plan outlines the county’s strategies for advancing racial and health equity, expanding access to preventive care and improving overall wellness through its programs and services. Good health helps people overcome life’s challenges and excel in school and on the job. When people’s health is compromised, their overall well-being and personal autonomy are compromised. The following indicators are focused on three key areas linked to healthy outcomes: neonatal health, food security and access to preventive care.

Food insecurity rates

Food-insecure households are those that at times lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life or had limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods for all household members. Food insecure children are the share of children living in households that experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months.

Share of low weight births by race and ethnicity

A child born weighing less than 5 pounds 8 ounces is considered to have a low birthweight. Children born below that threshold are at elevated risk for health conditions and infant mortality. This metric looks at the share of low-birthweight babies out of all births and is the standard currently used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of its national assessment on health among infants.

Preventable hospital stays by race and ethnicity

This indicator reports the rate of hospital stays for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions per 100,000 Medicare enrollees. Hospitalization for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions, diagnoses usually treatable in outpatient settings, suggests that quality outpatient care was not accessible. This measure may also represent a tendency to overuse emergency rooms and urgent care as a main source of care.

Public Safety

The county is working to reimagine public safety by Putting Well-being & Community at the Center of Justice System Transformation and reducing harmful interactions with the public safety system that reinforce structural racism and limit access to services, jobs and housing. Exposure to overly punitive policing can undermine a sense of security and belonging in a community, and a criminal conviction can limit future economic opportunities. Tracking youth arrests, as well as Juvenile Detention Center and Ramsey County Correctional Facility admissions, will allow the county to monitor its progress toward reducing arrest and incarceration rates that are associated with lower income mobility and growing racial disparities.

Rate of juvenile justice arrests by race

This measure details the number of arrests of people aged 10 to 17 per 100,000 people of that age for any crime as reported by local police departments. Since people can be arrested multiple times, the data reports the number of arrests and not people.

Juvenile Detention Center admissions by race and ethnicity

This metric outlines Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center admissions by race. It should be noted that Hispanic/Latinx is recorded both as a race and as an ethnicity within the JDC data system. Therefore, counts by race will exceed total admissions.

Correctional facility population by race and ethnicity

The Ramsey County Correctional Facility serves residents from two counties. Ramsey County admissions include men and women who have been sentenced and who are committed by the Ramsey County Second Judicial District Court. Prior to 2022 the facility also housed women who were either sentenced or pre-sentenced by Dakota County.