Tag: Minneapolis foreclosures

Thursday Data Dump: Foreclosures in Minneapolis in 2016

As today’s data will illustrate, foreclosures are not distributed throughout the city equally. So here are a couple of things to keep in mind while sifting through this data table.

First, 37 percent of the foreclosures in Minneapolis resided on the north side of the city in 2016 – 22.4 percent of the foreclosures were in the 4th Ward and 14.6 percent of the foreclosures were in the 5th Ward.

Second, these were the only two wards with a foreclosure percentage greater than 10 percent. Of course, these two wards have been like this for sometime.

I wrote about this very subject a few times back in 2015. As I explained back then in A Comparison of Minneapolis’ Foreclosure Rates by Ward and Foreclosure Rates: Wards 4, 5, and 10 from 2006 to 2015, the 4th and 5th Wards accounted for about 40 percent of the foreclosures in the city. And as this current data illustrates, these two wards still account for about the same percentage.

Minneapolis: 2016 Foreclosure Data

Ward 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter Total Percent
1 3 7 8 5 23 6.71
2 6 3 4 1 14 4.08
3 2 4 4 8 18 5.25
4 26 16 19 16 77 22.4
5 19 17 7 7 50 14.6
6 3 5 1 1 10 2.92
7 2 4 4 3 13 3.79
8 9 7 8 5 29 8.45
9 13 5 7 3 28 8.16
10 3 1 4 2 10 2.92
11 6 8 4 3 21 6.12
12 5 7 9 12 33 9.62
13 4 6 4 3 17 4.96
Total 101 90 83 69 343 100.0

(Source: City of Minneapolis)

So as far as proportionality is concerned, not much has changed.

The bright side is that foreclosures have definitely decreased in both wards. However, the question is what will happen to these wards when the market decides to take another nose dive?

The 4th and 5th Wards are not as economically stable as other parts of the city. But the point here is that education, as we’ve seen, provides greater earnings power, and thus greater economic stability and security. Of course as the readers of this blog know very well, earnings increases with education according to the data that has been observed so far.

So it should follow that more education will facilitate greater earnings which will in turn facilitate greater economic stability and security which in turn will decrease foreclosures.

Going forward, what does the foreclosure data look like for 2017 and how does it compare to 2016? And what does the system’s behavior of this foreclosure data look like over the period of a few years? Are foreclosures decreasing throughout Minneapolis and are there any wards  that are bucking this trend? And the big question, will this even have an impact on the mayoral and city council races?


Matt has a Bachelor of Science in Systems Science, with focuses in applied mathematics and economic systems, from Iowa State University. He is also a professional member of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics and the International Society for the Systems Sciences and a scholarly member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, which is an International Honors Society for Economics. 

You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on Facebook

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons







Copyright ©2017 – The Systems Scientist

Foreclosure Rates: Wards 2, 4, and 5 from 2006 to 2015

Figure 1
Figure 1

Continuing the analysis of foreclosure rates in Minneapolis from the previous article Foreclosure Rates: Wards 4, 5, and 10 from 2006 to 2015, it is important to compare and contrast the wards with the highest foreclosure numbers and the wards with the lowest foreclosure numbers in the City of Minneapolis.

As Figure 1 illustrates, the 2nd Ward’s foreclosure numbers have been relatively linear since the fourth quarter of 2006. Furthermore, it can been seen that the 2nd Ward peaked at 14 foreclosures during the third quarter of 2010. In contrast, Wards 4 and 5 in North Minneapolis accounted for 172 and 86 foreclosures, respectively in that same quarter and year. That is of course a striking difference.

Indeed, Southeast Minneapolis is a smaller part of Minneapolis in area compared to North Minneapolis. But contrasting the two parts of town directly, North Minneapolis, which accounted for 258 foreclosures while Southeast Minneapolis accounted for just 14 foreclosures in the third quarter of 2010, is paramount. Thus, North Minneapolis accounted for about 18 times the number of foreclosures than Southeast Minneapolis during that time period.

Figure 2
Figure 2

We can see this difference in Figure 2 in another way. The Figure 2 graph also shows the pattern of Minneapolis foreclosures from the fourth quarter of 2006 to the second quarter of 2015. From the graph, it is clear that Ward 2’s foreclosure participation is flat and does not play much of a part in the totality of the foreclosure market in Minneapolis. However, North Minneapolis tells a different story.

It is clear from the data that Minneapolis’ foreclosure numbers have been steadily decreasing since 2008 with one sharp market peak in 2010. But during that time of recovery and increased market competitiveness and productivity, Wards 4 and 5 in North Minneapolis accounted for a large chunk Minneapolis’ total number of foreclosures. In other words, Wards 4 and 5 have accounted for a larger proportion of the foreclosure market in Minneapolis in general since at least the fourth quarter of 2006.

Figure 3
Figure 3

To really see and understand this idea of proportionality, we must view Figure 3. What Figure 3 illustrates is what is called relative frequency in mathematics and statistics. Simply put, relative frequency expresses proportionality.

Figure 2 tells a story that the total number of foreclosures in Minneapolis have been steadily decreasing, and this is certainly a positive economic component of recovery, but Figure 3 expresses North Minneapolis’ foreclosure rates have remained fairly constant compared to the rest of the city and appear to have increased in greater proportion in the past few quarters. Sending this point home, North Minneapolis has the greatest proportion of foreclosures in the City of Minneapolis.

Although it is clear from the data that the total number of foreclosures in the 4th and 5th Wards have been decreasing over the past few years, their recovery has been relative. In other words, there is still a greater proportion and total number of foreclosures in North Minneapolis than any other part of the city; that is, Northeast Minneapolis, Southeast Minneapolis, Southwest Minneapolis, and South Minneapolis.

To delve a bit deeper into these wards and subject matter, I suggest Patterns of the 5th Ward: “Race” and Comparing Zip Codes | Median Household Income for Minneapolis. For something a bit more general and that involves cities and astronomy, see A City on Mars: A Response to Elon Musk.

As always, I invite you to post your thoughts, comments, and questions below.



Minneapolis and its Decreasing Urban Blight

Urban decay consists of high unemployment rates, high crime rates, increasing numbers of condemned and vacant buildings, high foreclosure numbers and rates, depopulation, political inequalities, economic lethargy, and the decreased attractiveness of a city. However, and with respect to these categories, Minneapolis is currently doing very well as a whole. This of course does not mean that Minneapolis is without its challenges or discrepancies.

Data Courtesy of the City of Minneapolis - Graph Constructed by Urban Dynamics
(Figure 1)Data Courtesy of the City of Minneapolis – Graph Constructed by Urban Dynamics

The unemployment rate for “black” Minneapolis residents was more than three times that of “white” Minneapolis residents in 2011 according to the Economic Policy Institute. In general, “black” children were, and probably still are, performing at half the rate of “white” children in Minneapolis grade schools and Minneapolis had the worst high school graduation rate of the 50 largest cities in the United States in 2013 according to the Center for Reinventing Public Education. Clearly, Minneapolis has some work to do. But while Minneapolis has discrepancies, it also has its share of successes.

As Figure 1 illustrates, the total number of vacant and condemned buildings and the total number of foreclosures for Minneapolis peaked at 1,731 units in the third quarter of 2008. This was clearly within the time frame of the housing market crash and the Great Recession. Minneapolis clearly suffered its share of unfortunate economic incidents during that time period.

But as the graph also indicates, after the peak of the 748 foreclosures and the 948 vacant and condemned buildings in late 2008, Minnapolis’ urban blight has been trending downward at a fairly consistent rate. And although there have been some spikes here and there, the rate along with the total number of foreclosures and vacant and condemned buildings has been greatly reduced.

Data Courtesy of the City of Minneapolis - Graph Constructed by Urban Dynamics
Data Courtesy of the City of Minneapolis – Graph Constructed by Urban Dynamics

As of the second quarter of 2015, there were 109 foreclosures and 531 vacant and condemned buildings for a total 640 buildings throughout the whole of Minneapolis. That is a reduction of 1,091 units. In other words, Minneapolis has reduced its rate of urban blight with respect to foreclosures and vacant and condemned buildings by more than two times.

Taking this a step further, the unemployment rate was the lowest for the largest metropolitan areas in the United States at 3.1 percent in the second quarter of 2015; the average weekly wages for Minneapolis according to Figure 2 have been steadily rising since 2006 despite the Great Recession; and according to the United States Census Bureau, the population of Minneapolis has grown by more than 25,000 residents since 2010.

With these positive economic facts in mind, the urban blight of Minneapolis ought to continue to decrease as residents find jobs and their wages continue to increase, at least in theory. Time will tell. But for the short term, Minneapolis will be seeing more bright and less blight.


GIS Map|Urban Decay in North Minneapolis

By Matt Johnson

Continuing the analysis of the North Minneapolis system and its dichotomy with the rest of the Minneapolis system, the City of Minneapolis Geographical Information System provides some much needed and useful data. As the reader will notice, there is an obvious discrepancy of vacant and Condemned buildings in North Minneapolis compared to the rest of the city. Here is the link: Vacant and Condemned Properties.

Welcome to North Minneapolis
Photo Courtesy of Youtube

This grouping of vacant and condemned housing may help explain some of North Minneapolis’ continued discrepancies in unemployment, education, health, and crime. There are of course other consequences that occur because of the environment that urban decay helps to facilitate, but these are the most recognizable and easily understood.

In systems science, we call this striking grouping a spatial pattern. As the reader can see, the spatial pattern has a fairly well-defined boundary of the group itself and it is fairly constricted to North Minneapolis (here is an article to refresh your memory on boundaries). Obviously, there are other vacant and condemned buildings in Minneapolis, but these are fairly spread out through the city and the other groups of vacant and condemned buildings are less pronounced in both numbers and concentration.

Why is this important? In the future, it will help provide quantitative information to the Minneapolis system, specifically the North Minneapolis system and its environment. This quantitative information will allow a systems scientist (mainly your writer) to view the interactions taking place in the environment of the system; for example, what type of effect do vacant and condemned buildings have on the economic system? Is it depressing (or making harder for) cash flow into the system?

To test this idea philosophically, I will pose a question for you the reader. Do you think vacant and condemned buildings help the economy of North Minneapolis, or do you think they hurt the economy? Intuitively (instinctively), I imagine that you would say that it hurts the economy and I imagine you think the question I pose is a silly question. Sometimes the silly questions are the most prudent in science and mathematics. Why does an apple fall?

Let me ask this question another way. Pretend you are a real estate developer and you are looking to invest some money. Do you invest in an area that not only has the highest rate of vacant and condemned buildings, but also the highest rate foreclosures and presumably the highest unemployment rate in the city of Minneapolis? My presumption is that North Minneapolis has the highest unemployment rate because it has the highest concentration of non-dominant residents (African Americans). According to recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate of the non-dominant group is almost three times higher than that of the dominant group, i.e., “whites.”

Photo Courtesy of biography.com
Photo Courtesy of biography.com – Mae C. Jemison

Another consequence of this happenstance is the attractiveness of that part of the city. In other words, urban decay will not attract businesses and thus will not attract potential immigrant workers (labor and management from other cities and states). System scientists do not use the term immigrant the same way as those who participate in journalism or political debate.

I must stress once again, and I will continue to do so, that North Minneapolis is not a bad place. It is a beautiful place with a lot of potential. I realize that it has this negative reputation amongst the other residents of Minneapolis, but this does not mean that it does not have good people who work hard and push forward day and day out. On the contrary, your writer has a history with North Minneapolis in both the experience of living and playing youth football there. It is precisely for these reasons I see North Minneapolis in a different light.

North Minneapolis is filled with caring and hard working people. It is diverse and it is place where all people are welcomed. It also deserves better from the city government. The children of North Minneapolis deserve better as well. I have long believed that the next Albert Einstein or Mae C. Jemison will come from North Minneapolis. It is just a matter of that young boy or girl being provided the opportunity to show such skills. But in the mean time, I will continue to investigate, construct, and research the system of Minneapolis in hopes of finding dynamical solutions for policy that will help raise North Minneapolis both economically and politically to the level of the rest of Minneapolis.

Matt Johnson is a writer for The Systems Scientist and the Urban Dynamics blog; and is a mathematical scientist. He has also contributed to the Iowa State Daily and Our Black News.

You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on Twitter or on Facebook

You can also follow The Systems Scientist on Twitter or Facebook as well. 



Copyright ©2016 – The Systems Scientist

A Comparison of Minneapolis’ Foreclosure Rates by Ward

Despite the current downward trend of foreclosures overall in the City of Minneapolis, Wards 4 and 5 in North Minneapolis have experienced both the highest number of units foreclosed and the highest percent of units foreclosed since the first quarter of 2014 according to the most recent Minneapolis Trends Report. For example, in the first quarter of 2015, Ward 4 had 48 foreclosures, which was 30 percent of the total foreclosures in Minneapolis. In the second quarter of 2015, Ward 4’s number of foreclosures dropped to 28 units, while the percentage decreased slightly to 26 percent. So even though the number of foreclosures was cut nearly in half for Ward 4, its percentage stayed relatively high because the city’s total number of foreclosures decreased overall.

Data Collected from the City of Minneapolis
Data Collected from the City of Minneapolis – Graph Created by Urban Dynamics – Figure 1

Of course, some information can be gleaned from this information right away. First, these foreclosures are occurring in parts of the city that face other types of urban decay and challenges.

For example, North Minneapolis has the highest concentration of condemned and vacant buildings in the entire city, which are centrally located in Wards 4 and 5, respectively. North Minneapolis also faces some of the highest unemployment rates (possibly 2 to 4 times higher depending on the group’s non-dominant, “racial,” status) in Minneapolis; depressed educational opportunities and potential market competitiveness; and higher levels of health issues ranging from heart disease to sexually transmitted diseases as was reported by the Minnesota Department of Health in a recent news release. Moreover, North Minneapolis exists in what’s often referred to as an urban desert. This is an urban environment where the inhabitants lack the access or resources to acquire healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Another piece of information that can be gleaned from the comparison between Wards 4 and 5, and Ward 2 (Figure 1) which is located in Northeast Minneapolis and Wards 4 and 5, and Ward 10 (Figure 2) which is located in Southwest Minneapolis. The obvious difference is the number of foreclosures and it is quite distinct. As the tables illustrate, the foreclosures in Wards 4 and 5 have remained relatively high while the foreclosures for Wards 2 and 10 have remained relatively low. In fact, compared to both Wards 2 and 10, Wards 4 and 5’s foreclosure numbers are several times higher.

Data Provided by
Data Collected from the City of Minneapolis – Graph Created by Urban Dynamics – Figure 2

From this information, it is not a reach to suggest that the opposite of North Minneapolis is happening in Southwest Minneapolis and Northeast Minneapolis. That is, low condemned and vacant units, low unemployment rates, better educational and potential market competitiveness, and lower levels of health issues. In fact, and in the case of Southwest Minneapolis, specifically Ward 10, it is located in proximity to both Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. And it is relatively near healthy food stores. Both the access to healthier foods and the natural resources perpetuates a healthier lifestyle which in turn fosters increased mental health benefits.

These comparisons, as painful as they may be to some, are important because they begin to tell a tale of two different cities. These comparisons begin to paint a picture of life for a group of residents who experience a much different side of Minneapolis from their fellow citizens in Southwest Minneapolis or in Northeast Minneapolis. Moving forward, there are questions that arise, for example, how did this difference come about? Why are these trends continuing with what seems like no change in sight? And how do these discrepancies play into the picture of the Minneapolis system?