Olmsted County 2022 Indicators report released, drug use, mental health issues increasing

(ABC 6 News) – Olmsted County has released their 2022 Indicators Report, intended to show high-level indicators of resident quality of life within the county.

The data and information gathered will help the county toward fulfilling their mission of “providing the foundation of a vibrant community,” according the county.

The 23-page report includes 15 different categories, include health, poverty and education to give people a look at how the county compares to the state and the country.

According to the report, Olmsted County actually surpasses state and national rates in many areas, like having more residents with higher education, a higher median household income and higher diversity. But, some statistics are going in the wrong direction.

The report states that in 2021, 34% of adults reported having mental health issues, up 5% from 2019.

Another increase: the amount of people struggling to pay their bills.

Around 33% of people say they are financially stressed, with almost half of Olmsted County residents paying more than 30% of their income on housing. That’s almost twice as much as the state average.

“We see that every day when people call us and they’re desperate trying to figure out what they’re going to do today, tomorrow, next week,” said Olmsted County Housing Director Dave Dunn. “Just that amount of stress on the body of not knowing what’s going to happen or where someone’s gonna live is just incredibly difficult.”

While many are stressed and struggling, others are turning to drugs.

The number of people using drugs and binge drinking has increased over the past few years.

Capt. Mike Bromberg with the SE MN Violent Crime Enforcement Team says they have found a record-breaking amount of drugs in the past year and a half.

“We’re in a place we’ve never been before with the amount of overdoses we’ve had, with the amount of pounds of meth and coke and fentanyl coming into the county,” Capt. Bromberg explained.

County officials are using this data to focus on three community health priorities for this year: mental health, financial stress and drug use.

Data shows that Olmsted County’s population as of 2021 is 163,436 and has seen a 12% increase in the last decade. The county has the seventh largest population among the state’s 87 counties, and is projected to grow by 8% over the next ten years. Compared to the state, which has seen a 7% increase in population over the last decade.

The county’s diverse population has grown by 7.8% over the last decade and continues to grow. Among the population by race, 77.8% identify as White, 6.8% as Black or African American, 6.3% as Asian, 6.1% as two or more races, 2.5% as some other race, 0.4% as American Indian and Alaska Native, and 0.1% as Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander while 5.6% identify as Hispanic or Latino.

The median age in the county is 37.5 years old which is lower than the state and national average of 38.8 years old. The county has the highest population group among its 25-34 years old and sees a higher younger population (14 and below) than the state and the nation.

In educational trends, the county has a higher educational rate than the state and the nation with at least 75% of all races having attained a high school diploma. Also, 47.1% of adults 25 years of age or older are listed as having a Bachelor’s degree or higher compared to the state (37.6%) and nation (33.7%).

In household income, the county has a per capita income of $45,507 which is 9% higher than the state and 19% higher than the nation. Households identifying as Black or African American have the lowest median income in the county at $38,694. The median household income in the county was listed at $84,656 which is higher than the state ($77,706) and the nation ($69,021).

The population in the county living below the poverty line is 7.6% (according to federal poverty guidelines), a number lower than the state average (9.3%) and the nation (12.8%). Black or African American population has the highest percentage of people below the poverty line at 30.5%.

The report says there were 55 all violent crime offenses reported by the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office in 2021. That was down from 65 in 2020, and up from 40 in 2019. The City of Rochester reported 356 all violent crime offenses in 2021, up from 300 in 2020, and 254 in 2019.

The county says data is focused on comparing Olmsted County’s measures to Minnesota and the nation, and that the report is not intended to be an “organizational performance report.”

Like Minnesota and the nation, disparities exist for various resident groups who experience higher unemployment rates, lower median household income, and higher rates of poverty. 

To read the full report, CLICK HERE.