5. Healthy, safe, and connected people: In 2040, the people of Minneapolis will be socially connected, healthy, and safe.

Photo: Photo by Fibonacci Blue (via flickr.com)

The physical patterns in the way Minneapolis has developed, and will develop, shapes the health and safety outcomes of its residents. The World Health Organization describes social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities.” Inequities related to opportunities, conditions, policies and practices don’t impact just individuals in isolation. Instead, entire generations are impacted by these inequities – especially those rooted in race, place and income – in healthy development and lifestyle.

Minneapolis is among the areas of the nation with the largest disparities between people of color and indigenous peoples and white people in level of education, employment and poverty rates. White non-Hispanic residents in Minneapolis make approximately three times the income of black and American Indian residents; the median income in 2016 for white non-Hispanics was approximately $65,000, while the median incomes for blacks and American Indians were $20,871 and $22,476, respectively. And since 2000, white non-Hispanic and Asian households have seen increases in median income, while black and American Indian households have experienced an approximately 40 percent reduction in median income.


Inequities in social and economic factors are key contributors to health disparities; ultimately, these gaps need to close if equity in health outcomes is to advance. Social and economic disparities underpin health disparities from premature death rates to access to healthy food and from healthy youth development to housing stability. In Minneapolis, American Indians have premature death rates that are more than four times higher than those of whites, and the premature death rate for blacks is twice the rate for whites. The disparity for infant mortality is similar: American Indians have infant mortality rates four times higher than those of whites, while blacks experience infant mortality at nearly three times the rate of whites.



The link between economic and social inequities and health disparities is also clearly evident in the issue of access to healthy food. Insufficient income is one of two primary barriers to healthy food access. (The other is lack of proximity to stores that sell healthy food, which is also affected by income.) Residents living at 185 percent of the federal poverty level (in 2016, the equivalent of household income for a family of four was $44,955, or $21.61 an hour) are more likely to experience food insecurity, which is associated with obesity and inadequate nutrition.

Psychological resiliency can also be impacted by social and economic disparities. For example, a lack of stable and affordable housing can negatively impact community cohesiveness by forcing people to move often in search of housing they can afford. This kind of neighborhood mobility breaks up social networks, impacts school success, and places stresses on families forced to adjust to new environments. The lack of diversity in housing type and size impacts not only affordability (and thus stability), but also options for Minneapolitans who are aging or disabled and need housing alternatives that allow them to stay in their community and remain connected to their social networks.

Social connectivity is incredibly important in creating and retaining the relationships that make our communities stronger and more resilient. Through programs and the design of community spaces, including parks, community and youth centers, new buildings and city streets, Minneapolis can foster environments to increase social connectedness. The design of these spaces can also improve safety and the perception of safety, making people more likely to use the spaces.

A multisector public health approach to public safety that is informed by and responsive to the community will ultimately lead to a city that is safer, stronger, more connected and more resilient. Enforcement is essential to public safety, but it’s only one of other equally essential components that together comprise a holistic approach. In the pursuit of safer communities it is essential to consider not just individual actors, but also the relationships between individuals, the communities in which those relationships exist, and societal factors that influence the climate and conditions of the city. Influential societal factors include conditions, policies and practices that create and sustain disparities.

To achieve the goal of a connected, healthy, and safe people, the City of Minneapolis will ensure healthy outcomes for all Minneapolis residents, including youth and seniors, regardless of where in the city they live and regardless of their income, the City of Minneapolis will continue healthy-living and disease-prevention activities, including the promotion of equitable access to and distribution of healthy food sources.

In addition, the City will support social connectedness through the creation, retention and programming of gathering spaces for people of all ages. This includes ensuring independent living opportunities, meaningful engagement and resources for older Minneapolis residents so they can be a vital part of the fabric of the community, and it includes ensuring people with disabilities and their families are visible, active and valued members of the community. The City will also work to ensure public safety through collaborative multisector, community-inclusive approaches.


28 Policies relate to this goal. Click on a policy below to learn more about it.

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