September 30, 2022  

Kamal Baker  

New Data Shows How People’s Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot Helped Saint Paul Recipients Afford Basic Necessities

 Data dashboard from Mayors for a Guaranteed Income outlines spending of recurring, unconditional cash payments by CollegeBound families 

SAINT PAUL, MN -  This week, Mayor Melvin Carter joined guaranteed income advocates in Atlanta, Ga., for the first-ever Mayors for a Guaranteed Income national conference, where he highlighted results of the City’s People’s Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot program.     

Launched in November 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the People's Prosperity Guaranteed Pilot provided 150 families enrolled in the CollegeBound Saint Paul program with $500 per month in unconditional payments for an 18-month period. The Mayors for a Guaranteed Income new data dashboard shows that in Saint Paul and around the country, families are using their need-based cash payments to cover necessities in an uncertain economy — providing them with the opportunity, freedom, and resilience they need to build financial security. 

“This movement is about investing directly in low-income children & families, and trusting them to spend it wisely,” said Mayor Carter. “I’m proud of Saint Paul’s leadership in this national movement, and of these research findings which show our work is making a difference.” 

Initial MGI spending data from the Saint Paul pilot shows: 

  • The majority of the funds were spent on basic necessities like food, household goods, and transportation: 
    • 55.35% of the funds were spent at retailers and discount superstores on items like food, clothes, household goods, and hygiene products; 
    • 28.05% was spent at grocery stores; 
    • 5.74% was spent on transportation costs like gas and car repairs; 
    • 4.13% went to housing and utilities costs, and 
    • Other expenses included loan repayments, medical expenses, and tuition. 
  • Guaranteed income pilot programs are an effective tool to improve racial and gender equity. The programs were not targeted by race or gender, yet the data shows funds reached higher proportions of women and people of color due to longstanding systemic discrimination that makes it harder for them to achieve financial freedom.  
    • 91% of participants were women and 9% were men; 
    • 47% were of mixed descent; 
    • 27% identified as White;  
    • 24% identified as African-American, and 
    • 13% identified as Latino.  

“The data released today is a breakthrough for justice, equality, and the guaranteed income movement. It proves that cash is an urgent solution to the failures of the American economy,” said Mayor Michael D. Tubbs on Tuesday. “It’s time for leaders, at every level, to join us in this guaranteed income movement to finally create an economy that works for all.” 

In June, Mayor Carter announced CollegeBound Boost, an initiative to expand Saint Paul’s guaranteed income and college savings programs. This new demonstration project will provide 333 low-income families enrolled in the CollegeBound Saint Paul program with a combination of $500 in guaranteed income payments each month for two years and deposits of $1,000 for each of their child’s CollegeBound Saint Paul college savings account. This initiative is supported by $4 million in American Rescue Plan funds and $1 million from philanthropy. Eligible CollegeBound families can enroll in the program now.  

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Last Edited: September 30, 2022