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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Does the Twin Cities Have an Alter Ego?

Which City is Most Like the "Mini-Apple?"

Having lived in both the Twin Cities and Manhattan, I don't see much resemblance between the two.

If I had to come up with a metro area most like the Twin Cities, it would be . . . Seattle.


--They're both about the same size (Greater Seattle is about 3.35 million; the Twin Cities, just over 3.2 million);

--Both cities are known for their culture and specifically, their music scenes.

--They're both what many people consider "weather-challenged" (the Twin Cities has perpetual winter; Seattle, perpetual gray)

--Both cities are politically progressive; the surrounding areas . . . less so (Michelle Bachmann hails from a northern Twin Cities suburb).

--Both cities are home to a cluster of Fortune 500-type companies (Seattle's include Microsoft, Costco,, and Nordstrom; the Twin Cites, Target, 3M, Cargill, Medtronic, and General Mills); and a highly educated, white collar work force. According to Mpls - St. Paul Business Journal, Minneapolis and Seattle are tied as America's "most literate city."

Speaking of "white-collar" . . .

--Both cities and metro areas are predominantly white: out of the 40 largest metro areas, the core cities of Seattle and Minneapolis rank #2 and #5, respectively, in the percentage of white residents (though Minneapolis has surprisingly large Somali and Hmong communities).

Many of the parallels extend to the state-level.

Washington has the original "soccer mom" Senator, Patty Murray; Minnesota has soccer mom cum county attorney (and now Senator) Amy Klobuchar.

In fact, both states' political leadership count a disproportionate number of women.

I know it's heresy, but personally I'd trade Minnesota's 10,000 lakes and the BWCA for the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade mountains.

P.S.: Local civic leaders apparently seem to think that Omaha is the Twin Cities' closest doppelganger: every time a pro sports team threatens to leave, they warn that the Twin Cities will just be a "cold Omaha" if they let that happen.

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