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Ask a 'sotan: How racially diverse is Minnesota?

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Antonio Palma of Mexico, right, and Ahmed Ahmed of Sweden
Antonio Palma, of Mexico, right, and Ahmed Ahmed, of Sweden, raise their right hands in the air to pledge allegiance to the United States of America during a naturalization ceremony last year inside of the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2018

Ask a 'sotan is an occasional series exploring the questions from curious Minnesotans about our state. Have a question about life in Minnesota? Ask it here.

Ask a 'sotan received a question from Katherine Pekel about about Minnesota's diversity. 

What kinds of racial diversity does Minnesota have today? In my own family, we now have European American, African American, South American so I am not sure how we fit into "racial diversity."

Minnesota is home to about 5.6 million people, and while the state is quickly diversifying, 4 out of 5 Minnesotans (or 80 percent) identify as white and non-Hispanic.

Within those broad categories, Minnesotans have lots of different ancestries, home countries and stories of arrival. Keep in mind though, about 15 percent of Minnesotans did not report their ancestry while others simply said "American."

A deeper look at the ancestry reported by Minnesotans who identify as white reveals the five most common ancestries are: German, Norwegian, Irish, Swedish and English.

Among those who identify as black, the five most common ancestries are: African-American or similar, Somali, African (no further specification), Ethiopian and Liberian.

The most common ancestries identified among the state's Asian population are Hmong, Indian, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.

For the Latino population, the most common ancestries reported are Mexican, Spanish, Ecuadorian, Salvadoran and Puerto Rican.

And the most common ancestries reported for the state's indigenous population are Ojibwe and Dakota. Though the largest group who identify as Native or Indigenous do not specify their tribe.

The data for race comes from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 population estimates. Ancestry and tribal data were tallied from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 American Community Survey.

For our numbers, those who identify as two or more races are shown in each group that they identify with. We choose to display that data to better reflect those who are multiracial. 

Nearly all of Minnesota's net population growth in the past decade has come from populations of color, and these populations are expected to drive future growth as well.

Andi Egbert is the APM Research Lab's senior research associate. 

Have a question about life in Minnesota? Submit your question here.