FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2023
Results of Saint Paul Guaranteed Income Pilot Show Increased Employment, Improved Outlook
People’s Prosperity Pilot first in the nation to use public funding from CARES Act
SAINT PAUL, MN – Data is in for the nation’s first mayor-led guaranteed income pilot to use public dollars, and results show positive trends in employment, physical and mental health, and other indicators of well-being and quality of life.
Mayor Melvin Carter and the City of Saint Paul launched the People’s Prosperity Pilot in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the second-ever mayor-led guaranteed income pilot, and the first to use funding from the CARES Act, along with state and private philanthropic dollars. Results of the People’s Prosperity Pilot were studied by the Center for Guaranteed Income Research (CGIR) at the University of Pennsylvania.
Researchers found that the number of people employed increased from 49% at the beginning of the pilot to 63% six months after the program ended. While actively receiving guaranteed income payments, families also maintained or improved their financial stability, allowing them to save money and smooth income volatility. There was an increase of 7 percentage points in participants transitioning to better quality homes during the guaranteed income program.
Recipients showed few symptoms of anxiety or depression (measured on the Kessler scale) and had favorable levels of well-being across the three subscales of general health, physical limits, and physical functioning. When payments stopped there was a decrease in average general health. The percentage of participants reporting feelings of high hope progressively increased throughout and beyond the study from 15% at baseline to 21% at the end of the program and 22% six months after the program ended.
“A guaranteed income addresses the basic cause of poverty—a lack of money,” said Mayor Carter. “This pilot shows that a relatively small, no strings attached payment can open up a world of opportunity. Leveraging unconditional cash on a national level is an obvious tool that can dismantle generational poverty.”
Saint Paul’s pilot is also the first affiliated with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a coalition of 125 mayors and growing, of which Mayor Carter is a proud co-chair. Building upon the early success of the People’s Prosperity Pilot, Minnesota recently passed the nation’s largest statewide expansion of the Child Tax Credit.
“The guaranteed income payments took a weight off my shoulders,” said Lucille O’Quinn, guaranteed income recipient. “It helped me go from survival mode to feeling like my family is going to be okay, no matter what. The sense of relief is real. It shows that government really can make a difference in our lives.”
The research findings from Saint Paul build upon the similar results from the first-ever mayor-led guaranteed income program in Stockton, CA, which provided 125 families with $500 per month for two years. Set up as a randomized control trial, researchers found statistically significant gains in employment, financial stability, mental health, and overall well-being.
“The results from Saint Paul’s guaranteed income program fill me with hope,” said Michael D. Tubbs, founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. “They are similar to what we saw in Stockton–people found better jobs, moved into safer housing, had more time to spend with their children, and overall felt more hopeful and less anxious about the future. It shows that guaranteed income can and does make families and communities stronger and more resilient.”
Read the full report on Saint Paul from CGIR here.
About Guaranteed Income and Mayor’s for a Guaranteed Income
A guaranteed income is a monthly, cash benefit distributed directly to participating individuals. It is unconditional, with no strings attached and no work requirements. A guaranteed income is meant to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net and can be a tool for racial and gender equity.
Mayor Carter joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income along with a cohort of mayors from across the country earlier this year to advocate for guaranteed income policy at the state, and federal level, invest in narrative change efforts to highlight the lived experiences of economic insecurity and invite other cities to join in its efforts by providing technical assistance and funding support for new pilots. Learn more about Mayors for a Guaranteed Income at www.mayorsforagi.org.
About People’s Prosperity Pilot
The People’s Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot was facilitated between October 2020 and April 2022. This innovative pilot program provided 150 Saint Paul families with $500 per month in guaranteed income for a period of 18 months. The People’s Prosperity Pilot was offered to families participating in CollegeBound Saint Paul, the city’s college savings initiative that provides every child born to a Saint Paul resident on or after January 1, 2020, with a college savings account and a $50 seed deposit. In an effort to build families’ wealth while supporting their income, their child also received a monthly $10 bonus deposit in their CollegeBound Saint Paul account.
The People's Prosperity Pilot was evaluated by the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more about the pilot at https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/financial-empowerment/guaranteed-income#peoples-prosperity-pilot.