Coordinates: 46°N 94°W / 46°N 94°W / 46; -94 (State of Minnesota)
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Map of the United States with Minnesota highlighted
Map of the United States with Minnesota highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehood
 • Lieutenant GovernorPeggy Flanagan (DFL)
LegislatureMinnesota Legislature
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
JudiciaryMinnesota Supreme Court
U.S. senatorsAmy Klobuchar (DFL)
Tina Smith (DFL)
U.S. House delegation4 Democrats
4 Republicans (list)
 • Total86,935.83 sq mi (225,163 km2)
 • Land79,626.74 sq mi (206,232 km2)
 • Water7,309.09 sq mi (18,930 km2)  8.40%
 • Rank12th
 • Lengthabout 400 mi (640 km)
 • Width200–350 mi (320–560 km)
1,200 ft (370 m)
Highest elevation2,301 ft (701 m)
Lowest elevation602 ft (183 m)
 • Total5,717,184[3]
 • Rank22nd
 • Density68.9/sq mi (26.6/km2)
  • Rank36th (2020 census)
 • Median household income
 • Income rank
 • Official languagenone
 • Spoken language
USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-MN
Traditional abbreviationMinn.
Latitude43° 30′ N to 49° 23′ N
Longitude89° 29′ W to 97° 14′ W
State symbols of Minnesota
Minnesota quarter dollar coin
Released in 2005
Lists of United States state symbols

Minnesota (

16th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. Other minor metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas in the state include Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester, and St. Cloud.[9]

Minnesota, which gets its name from the

missionaries were the earliest Europeans to enter the region, encountering the Dakota, Ojibwe, and various Anishinaabe tribes. Much of what is now Minnesota formed part of the vast French holding of Louisiana, which the United States purchased in 1803. After several territorial reorganizations, the Minnesota Territory was admitted to the Union as the 32nd state in 1858. Minnesota's official motto, L'Étoile du Nord, is the only state motto
in French; meaning "The Star of the North", it was adopted shortly after statehood and reflects both the state's early French explorers and its position as the northernmost state in the contiguous U.S.

As part of the

labor rights, women's suffrage, and political reform.[11] Minnesota is considered Democratic-leaning, having voted for every Democratic presidential nominee since 1976, longer than any other U.S. state.[12]

Since the late 20th century, the core of Minnesota's economy has diversified, shifting from traditional industries such as agriculture and resource extraction to services, finance, and health care; it is consequently one of the richest in terms of GDP and per capita income. The state is home to 11 federally recognized

Scandinavian and German cultures with an influence of Lutheranism. In more recent decades, Minnesota has become more multicultural, driven by both larger domestic migration and immigration from Latin America, Asia, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East; the state has the nation's largest population of Somali Americans and second largest Hmong population.[13] Minnesota's standard of living and level of education are among the highest in the U.S.,[14] and it is ranked among the best states in metrics such as employment, median income, safety, and governance.[15]


The word Minnesota comes from the

Minnehaha Falls ("curling water" or waterfall), Minneiska ("white water"), Minneota ("much water"), Minnetonka ("big water"), Minnetrista ("crooked water"), and Minneapolis, a hybrid word combining Dakota mní ("water") and -polis (Greek for "city").[21]


When Europeans arrived in North America, the Dakota people lived in what is now Minnesota. The first Europeans to enter the region were French voyageurs, fur traders who arrived in the 17th century. They used the Grand Portage to access trapping and trading areas further into Minnesota. The Anishinaabe (also known as Ojibwe or Chippewa) were migrating into Minnesota, causing tensions with the Dakota people,[22] and dislocated the Mdewakanton from their homelands along Mille Lacs Lake. Explorers such as Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Henry Schoolcraft, and Joseph Nicollet mapped the state.

The region was part of

grist mill and a sawmill at Saint Anthony Falls, which were harbingers of the water-powered industries around which Minneapolis later grew. Meanwhile, squatters, government officials, and others had settled near the fort; in 1839 the army forced them off military lands, and most moved downriver, just outside the military reservation, to the area that became St. Paul.[27]

Minnesota was part of several territorial organizations between acquisition and statehood. From 1812 to 1821 it was part of the

Territory of Iowa. Minnesota east of the Mississippi was part of Wisconsin until 1848. When Iowa gained statehood western Minnesota was in an Unorganized Territory again. Minnesota Territory was formed on March 3, 1849. The first territorial legislature, held on September 2, 1849,[28] was dominated by men of New England ancestry.[29] Thousands of pioneers had come to create farms and cut timber. Minnesota became the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858. The founding population was so overwhelmingly of New England origins that the state was dubbed "the New England of the West".[30][31][32][33]

Settlers escaping the Dakota War of 1862

Treaties between the U.S. Government and the eastern Dakota and Ojibwe gradually forced the natives off their lands and onto

Crow Creek Reservation by the Great Sioux Reservation in Dakota Territory. The remaining 4,500 to 5,000 Dakota mostly fled the state into Rupert's Land.[25] As many as 800 settlers were killed during the war.[36]

Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey subsequently declared that "the Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state"[37] and placed a bounty of $25/scalp on the heads of the eastern Dakota men. Over 1,600 eastern Dakota women, children, and elderly walked from the Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling to be held until the spring thaw allowed riverboats to take them out of Minnesota to Crow Creek Indian Reservation.[38] William Crooks, commander of 6th Minnesota, had a palisade erected around the encampment on Pike Island, just below the fort, to protect native people from the soldiers and settlers.[39] Conditions there were poor and between 125 and 300 died of disease.[40][41] Around 400 Dakota men were tried after the war. 303 were sentenced to death, but Abraham Lincoln reviewed the convictions and approved 39 of the death sentences. In December 1862, 38 of them were hanged.[25]

In early 1863, Ramsey resigned as governor to become the Federal

Indian Commissioner. His successor, Governor Henry Swift, raised the bounty to $200/scalp. A total of $325 was paid out to four people collecting bounties, including for Little Crow who was killed in July 1863.[41] Upon becoming Indian Commissioner, Ramsey set out to get Ojibwe lands too. In 1863 he negotiated the Treaty of Old Crossing
, whereby the Ojibwe ceded all their land in northern Minnesota and moved to reservations.

Logging, farming, and railroads were mainstays of Minnesota's early economy. The sawmills at Saint Anthony Falls and logging centers of

Pillsbury, Northwestern, and the Washburn-Crosby Company (an ancestor of General Mills), were grinding 14.1% of the nation's grain.[43]

The state's iron-mining industry was established with the discovery of iron in the Vermilion and Mesabi ranges in the 1880s, followed by the Cuyuna Range in the early 1900s. The ore went by rail to Duluth and Two Harbors for ship transport east via the Great Lakes.[25]

Industrial development and the rise of manufacturing caused the population to shift gradually from rural areas to cities during the early 20th century. Nevertheless, farming remained prevalent. Minnesota's economy was hit hard by the

native languages were no longer suppressed.[26]

After World War II, industrial development quickened. New technology increased farm productivity through automation of feedlots for hogs and cattle, machine milking at dairy farms, and raising chickens in large buildings. Planting became more specialized, with hybridization of corn and wheat, and farm machinery such as tractors and combines became the norm. University of Minnesota professor Norman Borlaug contributed to these developments as part of the Green Revolution.[26] Suburban development accelerated due to increased postwar housing demand and convenient transportation. Increased mobility in turn enabled more specialized jobs.[26]

Minnesota became a center of technology after World War II.

Sperry Rand. William Norris left Sperry in 1957 to form Control Data Corporation (CDC).[44] Cray Research was formed when Seymour Cray left CDC to form his own company. Medical device maker Medtronic
also started business in the Twin Cities in 1949.

The United States Navy and Coast Guard have recognized Minnesota with:


Minnesota is the second northernmost U.S. state (after

Great Lakes region. It shares a Lake Superior water border with Michigan and a land and water border with Wisconsin to the east. Iowa is to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota are to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are to the north. With 86,943 square miles (225,180 km2),[45] or approximately 2.25% of the United States,[46] Minnesota is the 12th-largest state.[47]


Tilted beds of the Middle Precambrian Thomson Formation in Jay Cooke State Park[48]

Minnesota has some of the earth's oldest rocks, gneisses that are about 3.6 billion years old (80% as old as the planet).[48][49] About 2.7 billion years ago basaltic lava poured out of cracks in the floor of the primordial ocean; the remains of this volcanic rock formed the Canadian Shield in northeast Minnesota.[48][50] The roots of these volcanic mountains and the action of Precambrian seas formed the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. Since a period of volcanism 1.1 billion years ago, Minnesota's geological activity has been more subdued, with no volcanism or mountain formation, but with repeated incursions of the sea, which left behind multiple strata of sedimentary rock.[48]


glacial till left behind as the last glaciers retreated. Gigantic Lake Agassiz formed in the northwest 13,000 years ago. Its flatbed now is the fertile Red River valley, and its outflow, glacial River Warren, carved the valley of the Minnesota River and the Upper Mississippi downstream from Fort Snelling.[48] Minnesota is geologically quiet today; it experiences earthquakes infrequently, most of them minor.[52]

The state's high point is Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet (701 m), which is only 13 miles (21 km) away from the low point of 601 feet (183 m) at the shore of Lake Superior.[50][53] Notwithstanding dramatic local differences in elevation, much of the state is a gently rolling peneplain.[48]

Two major

Hudson Bay watershed to the Arctic Ocean.[54]

The state's nickname "Land of 10,000 Lakes" is apt, as there are 11,842

Wabasha, and by many smaller streams. The Red River drains the northwest part of the state northward toward Canada's Hudson Bay. Approximately 10.6 million acres (4,300,000 ha; 43,000 km2) of wetlands are within Minnesota's borders, the most of any state outside Alaska.[56]

Flora and fauna

Minnesota has four ecological provinces: prairie parkland, in the southwestern and western parts of the state; the eastern broadleaf forest (Big Woods) in the southeast, extending in a narrowing strip to the state's northwestern part, where it transitions into tallgrass aspen parkland; and the northern Laurentian mixed forest, a transitional forest between the northern boreal forest and the broadleaf forests to the south.[57] These northern forests are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce trees mixed with patchy stands of birch and poplar.

Much of Minnesota's northern forest has undergone logging, leaving only a few patches of

old growth forest today in areas such as the Chippewa National Forest and the Superior National Forest, where the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has some 400,000 acres (162,000 ha) of unlogged land.[58] Although logging continues, regrowth and replanting keep about a third of the state forested.[59] Nearly all Minnesota's prairies and oak savannas have been fragmented by farming, grazing, logging, and suburban development.[60]

While loss of habitat has affected native animals such as the

red-tailed hawks, and snowy owls. Hawk Ridge is one of the premier birdwatching sites in North America. The lakes teem with sport fish such as walleye, bass, muskellunge, and northern pike, while brook, brown, and rainbow trout
populate streams in the southeast and northeast.


Minnesota experiences temperature extremes characteristic of its continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. The lowest temperature recorded was −60 °F (−51 °C) at Tower on February 2, 1996, and the highest was 114 °F (46 °C) at Moorhead on July 6, 1936.[64] Meteorological events include rain, snow, blizzards, thunderstorms, hail, derechos, tornadoes, and high-velocity straight-line winds. The growing season varies from 90 days in the far northeast to 160 days in southeast Minnesota near the Mississippi River, and average temperatures range from 37 to 49 °F (3 to 9 °C).[65] Average summer dewpoints range from about 58 °F (14 °C) in the south to about 48 °F (9 °C) in the north.[65][66] Average annual precipitation ranges from 19 to 35 inches (48 to 89 cm), and droughts occur every 10 to 50 years.[65]

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in Minnesota[67]
Location July (°F) July (°C) January (°F) January (°C)
83/64 28/18 23/7 −4/−13
Saint Paul 83/63 28/17 23/6 −5/−14
Rochester 82/63 28/17 23/3 −5/−16
Duluth 76/55 24/13 19/1 −7/−17
St. Cloud 81/58 27/14 18/−1 −7/−18
Mankato 86/62 30/16 23/3 −5/−16
International Falls 77/52 25/11 15/−6 −9/−21

Protected lands

Minnesota's first state park,

source of the Mississippi River.[68] Today Minnesota has 72 state parks and recreation areas, 58 state forests covering about four million acres (16,000 km2), and numerous state wildlife preserves, all managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Chippewa and Superior national forests comprise 5.5 million acres (22,000 km2). The Superior National Forest in the northeast contains the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which encompasses over a million acres (4,000 km2) and a thousand lakes. To its west is Voyageurs National Park. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) is a 72-mile-long (116 km) corridor along the Mississippi River through the Minneapolis–St. Paul Metropolitan Area connecting a variety of sites of historic, cultural, and geologic interest.[69]

Cities and towns

National Farmers Bank in Owatonna by Louis Sullivan

Territory of Minnesota
, and then as the state capital since 1858.

Saint Paul is adjacent to Minnesota's most populous city, Minneapolis; they and their suburbs are collectively known as the

Greater Minnesota" or "Outstate Minnesota".[71]

The state has 17 cities with populations above 50,000 as of the 2010 census. In descending order of population, they are

Of these, only Rochester, Duluth, and Saint Cloud are outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Minnesota's population continues to grow, primarily in the urban centers. The populations of metropolitan Sherburne and Scott counties doubled between 1980 and 2000, while 40 of the state's 87 counties lost residents over the same period.[73]

Largest cities or towns in Minnesota
Rank Name County Pop.
1 Minneapolis Hennepin 425,336
2 Saint Paul Ramsey 307,193
3 Rochester Olmsted 121,465
4 Bloomington Hennepin 89,298
5 Duluth St. Louis 86,372
6 Brooklyn Park Hennepin 84,526
7 Plymouth Hennepin 79,828
8 Woodbury Washington 76,990
9 Lakeville Dakota 72,812
10 Blaine Anoka 70,935

The United States Navy has recognized multiple Minnesota communities.



Historical population
2022 (est.)5,717,1840.2%
Source: 1910–2020[75]
2022 Estimate[3]

From fewer than 6,120 white settlers in 1850, Minnesota's enumerated population grew to over 1.7 million by 1900 and 3.4 million by 1960. Growth then slowed, rising 11% to 3.8 million in 1970, and an average of 9% over the next three decades to 4.9 million in the

At the 2022 estimate Minnesota's population at 5,717,184 on July 1, 2022, a 0.19% increase since the 2020 United States census.[76] The rate of population change, and age and gender distributions, approximate the national average. Minnesota's center of population is in Hennepin County.[77]

At the

2010 census Minnesota's population was 5,303,925. The gender makeup of the state was 49.6% male and 50.4% female. 24.2% of the population was under age 18; 9.5% between 18 and 24; 26.3% from 25 to 44; 27.1% from 45 to 64; and 12.9% 65 or older.[78]

According to HUD's 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, there were an estimated 7,917 homeless people in Minnesota.[79][80]

Race and ethnicity

The table below shows the racial composition of Minnesota's population as of the 2020 census.

Ethnic composition as of the 2020 census
Race and ethnicity[81] Alone Total
White (non-Hispanic)
76.3% 76.3
80.2% 80.2
African American (non-Hispanic) 6.9% 6.9
8.2% 8.2
Hispanic or Latino[b] 6.1% 6.1
Asian 5.2% 5.2
6.2% 6.2
Native American 1.0% 1
2.3% 2.3
Pacific Islander 0.05% 0.05
0.1% 0.1
Other 0.4% 0.4
1.3% 1.3

According to the 2017

English (5.4%).[83] Minnesota was also a major destination for a wave of Finnish immigrants in the early 20th century, along with Wisconsin and Michigan.[84] Among U.S. states, Minnesota has the highest number of Finnish-Americans, 100,545 as of 2019.[85]

In 2011 non-Hispanic whites accounted for 72.3% of all births,[86] but Minnesota's growing minority groups still form a smaller percentage of the population than in the nation as a whole.[87]

Minnesota has the country's largest Somali population,[88] with an estimated 57,000 people, the largest concentration outside of the Horn of Africa.[89]

Cathedral of St. Paul
in the city of St. Paul


The majority of Minnesotans are

Roman Catholics (of largely German, Irish, French and Slavic descent) make up the largest single Christian denomination. A 2010 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that 32% of Minnesotans were affiliated with Mainline Protestant traditions, 21% were Evangelical Protestants, 28% Roman Catholic, 1% each Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and Black Protestant, and smaller amounts of other faiths, with 13% unaffiliated.[90]

According to the

American Religious Identification Survey, which also gives detailed percentages for many individual denominations.[92] The international Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference is headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota.[93]

In a 2020 study by the Association of Religion Data Archives, Catholics remained the largest Christian denomination by adherents, along with the Evangelical Lutherans. Non-denominational Protestants increased to form the third-largest group of Christians in the state, with 167,891 adherents.[94] In 2022, the Public Religion Research Institute estimated 43% were Protestant, 25% Catholic, and 2% Jehovah's Witness and Mormon. Altogether, Christians represented 70% of the religiously affiliated population.[95]


Temple of ECK, the spiritual home of Eckankar, is based in Minnesota.[98]
Additionally, in 2022, 27% were religiously unaffiliated.

Religious affiliation in Minnesota by movement (2014)[99]
Affiliation % of population
Christian 74 74
50 50
26 26
3 3
3 3
Black Protestant
2 2
Other Protestant 16 16
Roman Catholic
22 22
1 1
Other Christian 1 1
Other religion or association 5 5
Judaism 1 1
Islam 1 1
Other and unspecified 3 3
Unaffiliated 20 20
Nothing in particular 13 13
Agnostic 4 4
Atheist 3 3


Once primarily a producer of raw materials, Minnesota's economy has transformed to emphasize finished products and services. Perhaps the most significant characteristic of the economy is its diversity; the relative outputs of its business sectors closely match the United States as a whole.

Carlson Companies, the parent company of Radisson Hotels.[104]


median household income was $74,593, ranking thirteenth in the U.S. and fifth among the 36 states not on the Atlantic coast.[106]

Industry and commerce

IDS Tower, designed by Philip Johnson, is the state's tallest building,[107] reflecting César Pelli's Art Deco-style Wells Fargo Center