Editorial: High quality of life is key to state’s future

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 25, 2001

It’s a concept we Minnesotans hang our hats on – our high quality of life.

Thursday, October 25, 2001

It’s a concept we Minnesotans hang our hats on – our high quality of life.

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We’ve got the lakes, the woods, the fields of corn and the clean cities. We’ve got great schools, universities, libraries and churches. We have the best public radio in the nation, plus symphonies, museums, theaters and a culture growing more rich and diverse every day.

Even our economy is one of the strongest in the nation, with its balance between heavy industry, transportation, technology and service jobs.

The United Health Foundation announced further evidence this week of Minnesota’s quality of life, ranking it among the nation’s healthiest states.

Consider some of the facts to support the ranking.

n Minnesota has the highest support for public health care.

n Minnesota has the lowest incidence of heart disease and premature death.

n Violent crime in the state is declining.

n The state’s high school graduation rate is climbing.

n The prevalence of smoking among Minnesotans dropped from 28.7 percent in 1990 to 19.8 percent in 2000.

n Only 8 percent of our population lives without health insurance.

The study lists several other facts that distinguish the state from the rest of the country, but one fact represents the bottom line: In the 12 years the foundation has conducted the study, Minnesota has been ranked in the top three every single year.

The high quality of life in Minnesota is still a well-kept secret. Perhaps if we truly marketed it, we could attract more people to the state. Our rural communities might experience a revival if the rest of the country knew about our assets.

As un-Minnesotan as this suggestion might sound, we need to promote ourselves even more in the coming years – not just as a tourist destination but as a great place to live and raise families.

It’s the only way to renew our aging population, maintain our schools and businesses, and ensure the state’s reputation remains a strong one.