Is Minnesota home to the largest number of Somali Americans in the country?

11 July 2023

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Minnesota Compass reports a total of 86,610 Somali Americans reside in the state, the largest population in the country. An estimated 37,048 residents of Minnesota were born in Somalia, according to 2021 U.S. Census American Community Survey data.

Support from resettlement agencies and the state’s economy offering Somali Americans job opportunities, as well as schooling options, health care, and housing, contributed to the large Somali-American community, Ahmed Samatar, the founding dean of the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College, told WCCO News.

In the early 1990s, political instability and an ongoing civil war spurred the mass exodus and diaspora of Somalis worldwide. Many Somalis came to the U.S. as refugees. Besides Minnesota, 2020 census data show that Seattle and Columbus, Ohio, also have large populations of Somali Americans, followed by New York and California.

This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Centers for Disease Control Somali Refugee Health Profile

Jayne Williamson-Lee is a freelance science journalist who is part of MinnPost’s fact briefs team.

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