- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Star Tribune, July 28

What the numbers show about Minnesota’s millennials

Young adults aren’t like their elders. That’s a perennial observation that, thanks to a new analysis by the Minnesota State Demographic Center, can be made about this state’s millennial generation with statistics to back it up.

As anyone who once was a young adult can attest, people between the ages of 18 and 34 are works in progress. Not all of their characteristics are fixed for life. But judging from the center’s analysis, derived from the 2008-12 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, today’s Minnesota young adults differ in the aggregate from previous generations in several respects:

- They are more racially diverse. More than one in five Minnesotans ages 18-34 is a person of color - the largest such cohort ever measured in this state. What’s more, they are diverse in their diversity, with a four-way split among African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics and “other,” including mixed races. In contrast, 94 percent of Minnesotans ages 55 and older are white.

- They’re not all from here. Only about two-thirds of millennials were born in Minnesota. Twelve percent of them were born outside the United States. By comparison, in 1960, only 4.2 percent of the entire state population was foreign-born.

- They’re the best-educated Minnesotans yet. Thirty-eight percent of 25- to 34-year-olds possess a bachelor’s degree, up from 26 percent in 1990.

- They move a lot. That may be expected of the 18- to 24-year-old subset, of whom 57 percent were found to be attending school and 37 percent said they had moved within the past year. But high mobility continues past age 25, the analysis found, with 25 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds saying they had recently moved.

- They don’t all live in their parents’ basements. But more than two out of five 18- to 24-year-olds consider their parents’ home their own, as do 11 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds - more than did so in 1990 or 2000. That “may reflect changing cultural norms about multigenerational households,” the study’s authors speculate - or it may be a consequence of the Great Recession.

- They don’t all live in Uptown, either. Hennepin County indeed has the highest share of 25- to 34-year-olds as a percentage of its total population, at 16.4 percent. But also in the top 10 with Hennepin (and Ramsey, at 15.3 percent) are Benton, Olmsted, Blue Earth, Wright, Waseca, Sherburne, Nicollet and Clay, all in Greater Minnesota. A salient pattern: Several of those counties include college towns.

- They’re not the marrying kind - yet. Millennials are much less likely to be married than were previous generations of young adults. In 1950, 80 percent of 25- to 34-year-old Minnesotans were married. Today, it’s 49 percent. It’s likely no coincidence that Minnesota’s birthrate has fallen since the Great Recession. At 12.8 births per 1,000 Minnesotans in 2013, the birthrate is half as high as it was in 1950.

All of these characteristics carry implications for the rest of society, especially given the millennial generation’s size. In 2012, the 18- to 34-year-old set surpassed the baby boomer generation as Minnesota’s largest age cohort, with 28 percent of the state’s estimated 5.5 million total population.

Much is made of forecasts for growth in Minnesota’s elderly population as the boomers age. It behooves decisionmakers in both the public and private spheres to also factor these millennial differences into their planning. Finding ways to more fully engage a diverse, footloose, talented generation in the 157-year-old project of state-building is in every Minnesotan’s interest.


Post-Bulletin, July 28

Join the Lynx quest for championship season

When the Minnesota Lynx take the court Wednesday against the Los Angeles Sparks after a six-day all-star break, all eyes will be on Maya Moore.

After all, the Lynx forward was named the most valuable player in the WNBA all-star game as she led the West to a 117-112 over the East on Saturday. Moore already was one of the most acclaimed WNBA players since she earned rookie of the year honors in 2011 and was voted the most valuable player for the 2014 regular season.

But Moore, who set an all-star game record by scoring 30 points, deflected the attention from herself as she was asked about resuming the regular season.

“One of the beautiful things about our team is it’s not really all on me,” she said. “It may seem that way just because I have the ability to score the ball. But there are so many things my teammates do well.”

Led by Moore, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen, the Lynx have the league’s best record by playing fundamental basketball with a balanced offense and tenacious defense. Moore, Augustus and Whalen are the team’s leading scorers in the league’s third-best offense. Rebekkah Brunson - the other member of the Lynx “core four” - anchors the league’s top-ranked defense.

In an era where athletes disappoint us with their self-absorbed behavior in which they seem more interested in making ESPN’s highlight reel than winning a game, Moore and her teammates are refreshing role models. You haven’t heard about any embarrassing antics on or the off the court - and you probably won’t.

The exorbitant salaries that have corrupted other sports haven’t reached women’s basketball yet. With a pay scale that ranges from a minimum $35,000 for rookies to a cap of $107,000 for veterans, WNBA players make less in one season than baseball players Alex Rodriguez and Joe Mauer, who played last weekend at Target Field, are paid for one game.

If the Lynx have escaped your attention, that’s not surprising. The WNBA is relegated to the back pages of the sports section and televised sporadically. Nevertheless, we welcome you to join the bandwagon. Minnesota fans have embraced the Lynx, who have been ranked second in WNBA attendance for three straight seasons. The team set a attendance record at its last home game on July 22 when 17,414 came out to see the Lynx play the Connecticut Sun.

The all-star break was timely for the Lynx. Augustus, who was supposed to be a starter for the all-star game, had arthroscopic surgery on her right knee on July 17 at Mayo Clinic and is expected to be sidelined until mid-August. Whalen, who was selected as an all-star reserve, hasn’t played since July 19, when she was poked in her right eye, causing blood to pool between the cornea and iris. The veteran team, with Moore being the only starter younger than 30, benefits from the expertise of lead sponsor Mayo Clinic, which opened The Courts at Mayo Clinic Square, a training center and practice facility across the street from the Target Center.

When the Lynx take the court Wednesday night, they will be resuming their quest for a third WNBA title in four years. Even if they don’t raise another championship banner - although we’ll bet you a cup of coffee they will - they’ve earned the respect of their fans and nonsports fans alike by playing the game the right way.


St. Cloud Times, July 28

Move quickly on sex offender program reforms

If state officials weren’t going to put effort into making changes to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program before a scheduled Aug. 10 courtroom conference, they better wake up.

The appointment of former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson as special master to oversee litigation challenging the program is a call to action to come up with a plan for change, or else the MSOP faces drastic changes that could be ordered by a federal judge.

That person is U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank. He ruled in June that the MSOP program violated the U.S. Constitution. Frank called for the state to make immediate and fundamental changes in the program to bring it in line with constitutional protections.

The state program houses more than 700 offenders in facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter. The offenders have been sent to the program after serving their prison sentences because courts and prosecutors have deemed them at high risk to reoffend.

Since the program began in 1994, no offender has been unconditionally discharged, and only three have been provisionally discharged, according to a report in the Star Tribune.

The cost to house an offender in MSOP is about $120,000 per person.

State officials, including Gov. Mark Dayton, have generally supported MSOP in its current form.

The newly appointed special master, however, has been a strong critic of MSOP. He served as chairman of the state task force that called for major changes in the program.

Do you think Magnuson will be sympathetic to state officials who want to drag their feet on making meaningful changes to MSOP?

He has been appointed to coordinate efforts to make those changes happen after Frank’s ruling.

In his June ruling, Judge Frank outlined a list of possible changes to the program. Those changes seemed reasonable and fair.

Making those changes will cost money. Making those changes may cause state lawmakers to face pushback from voters in an upcoming election year. Making those changes will require state officials to do some serious examination of possible alternatives.

The responsibility to form a plan clearly falls on Dayton, Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jessen, state Attorney General Lori Swanson and leaders of the state House and Senate.

Magnuson is an excellent choice to lead the effort to try to find compromise. If the stakeholders don’t cooperate, there will be repercussions.

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