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Indicator 2 5 : Nearby support

Goal: People in need will receive support that helps them live as independently as they can. This goal reflects the value Minnesotans place on independence and personal responsibility, but also recognizes that at times people may need to rely on others for assistance. Unlike most other Minnesota Milestones goals, this one relies not just on indicators of outcomes but also on indicators of participation in public programs. However, progress in providing help does not necessarily mean progress in independent living.

Rationale: This indicator measures informal support – the extent to which people feel they can turn to people they know when they need assistance.

About this indicator: This measure has remained very high (91 to 93 percent) since the survey question was first asked in 1995: “Do you have a neighbor, friend or relative close by who you can rely on for help?” People often turn to family, neighbors or friends first when they need help. Those who do not have such support are more likely to turn to their community or government for assistance.

For comparison: No available data permits comparisons with other states or countries.

Things to think about: In a highly mobile society, people may be less likely to live near family members and relatives. As the Baby Boom population ages, it may become more important to create living arrangements that increase contact between younger and older people.

Technical notes: The Minnesota State Survey, conducted by the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Center for Survey Research, included 801 interviews in 2001, yielding a margin of error in the survey that is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points of the results that would be obtained from surveying the entire Minnesota population.


  • University of Minnesota, Minnesota Center for Survey Research, Minnesota State Survey 2001,

Related indicators:

Other related indicators:

  • People over age 60 who see a friend or relative several times a week (Minnesota Board on Aging, Survey of Older Minnesotans
  • Minnesotans enrolled in MinnesotaCare, Medical Assistance and related health care programs (Minnesota Department of Human Services,

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