It ain't easy being poor, female, and young in Minnesota


A sobering study released last week by the Women's Foundation of Minnesota yields unsettling news about the state of our state's girls. Nutshell: From self-esteem to physical abuse to college readiness to making babies, things could be a lot better--especially for poor and minority girls.

Here's a breakdown of the most salient findings:

-Most poor families in Minnesota are headed by single mothers. Among black families in poverty, 71.5 percent are headed by single mothers. Among impoverished American Indian families, the statistic is 67.2 percent. And among poor white families, it's 59.5 percent.

-There is a huge difference in teen birth rates between white girls and minority girls. The following numbers are from between 2001 and 2005: For every 100 Hispanic girls aged 15 and 19 in the state, there were 11.1 babies. For American Indian girls: 9.7 babies. For white girls: just over 2 babies.

-Girls have lower levels of self-esteem than boys within every racial and ethnic group and grade level. Moreover, boys’ self esteem gradually increases from 6th grade through 12th grade, most girls’ self esteem drops in the 9th grade.

-Over a fifth of American Indian and black girls report physical abuse by a family member.

-School-wise, although Minnesota’s girls best boys in grades, study time, attitude towards school, and educational ambition, ACT data for the state shows that only 28 percent of girls—as opposed to 36 percent of boys—meet college preparedness standards in English, math, reading and science.

To check out more of the findings, go here.