What’s the love for St. Paul, Duluth? It’s not the economy

Knight Soul of the Community 2010 – National from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

St. Paulites and Duluthians, what draws you to the city and makes you want to call it home?

The Knight Foundation and Gallup have completed three years of polling in 26 communities in the United States in which Knight owns newspapers– Duluth and St. Paul were chosen in Minnesota. The goal was to find what creates an emotional bond between people and the community in which they live.

For all the talk about the economy and the importance of jobs, the economy wasn’t much of a factor in either St. Paul or Duluth. Nationwide, however, the bond was related to economic growth.


In the St. Paul area, social offerings (entertainment infrastructure, places to meet people, community events), aesthetics (an area’s physical beauty and green spaces) and openness (how welcoming the place is) are the most important factors emotionally connecting residents to where they live.

Aesthetics was perceived as a community strength, particularly the area’s parks, playgrounds and trails. All aspects of aesthetics were rated significantly higher in 2010.

Social offering and openness need improvement to further attach residents to the area, however both were rated significantly higher in 2010. Nightlife was rated significantly higher. Gays and lesbians are seen as significantly more welcome in 2010 – all positive momentum that helped to improve these challenge areas for the community.

The study said the economy isn’t rated very highly as a “bonding agent” for people. “Leadership” was rated even lower. Here’s the St. Paul findings.

The findings for the Duluth area aren’t much different:


In the Duluth area, social offerings (entertainment infrastructure, places to meet people, community events), openness (how welcoming a place is) and aesthetics (an area’s physical beauty and green spaces) are the most important factors in emotionally connecting residents to where they live.

Aesthetics, particularly the natural beauty of the area is perceived as a community strength.

Social offerings, particularly the cultural opportunities, and openness, particularly to young talent needs improvement to increase resident attachment. However, nightlife is rated significantly higher in 2010. The area is perceived to be most welcoming to seniors and least welcoming to young talent, although both groups are seen as significantly more welcome in the area in 2010. Residents 55 and older are the most attached of all age groups, whereas 18-34 year old residents are least attached.

Duluth, why don’t you welcome “young talent?” Here are the Duluth findings.

As of 9 a.m., a live presentation on the findings can be found here.

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