At the time of the last census in 2010, it was confirmed that there were 5,303,925 people living in the state, and a year later in 2011, an estimate suggested that those numbers had risen to 5,344,861. The state currently has a population growth rate of 0.71%, which ranks 29th in the country. With these new numbers, Minnesota is now the 21st most populous state in the US.
Minnesota is the northernmost state outside of Alaska. The overall geography of Minnesota lends itself to a relatively sparse population. The northern part of the state has thick forests, rocky ledges, and the state's highest point, Eagle Mountain. The southernwest part of the state is characterized by glacial deposits of clay and gravel while the southeastern part has stream-cut valleys and high bluffs, and was the only part of the state not affected by glaciers during the previous ice age. Parts of the Great Lakes cross into Minnesotan territory. This vast rural landscape means that the state is only the 31st most densely populated in the entire country. The total surface area in Minnesota equates to 86,939 square miles or 225,181 square kilometers, and for every square mile of territory, there is an average of 66.6 people.
There are three cities in Minnesota with a population of more than 100,000. Minneapolis is by far the largest, home to 410,939 people. Following behind are Saint Paul (300,851) and Rochester (112,225). About 60% of Minnesota's population lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, while 40% are spread throughout the remainder of the state. This is the result of a migration of the jobs from farming, mining and logging into professional, service and office jobs which are concentrated in the cities. The most populated counties in Minnesota are Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Hennepin has over one million residents, while Ramsey is home to just over 500,000 residents.
The median age in Minnesota is approximately 37.8 years of age. The gender ratio is split at 50.3% females and 49.3% males in the state.
When it comes to religious preferences, the Minnesota population comes in at 74% Christian based faiths, 5% non-Christian based faiths, and 20% not affiliated with any religion.
Northeastern Minnesota, east of the Mississippi River and a line drawn northward from its source to Canada, was part of the Northwest Territory (1787) and later of Indiana Territory (1800), Illinois Territory (1809), Michigan Territory (1818), and Wisconsin Territory (1838). Most of the rest of the State was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, and included in Louisiana Territory (1805), renamed Missouri Territory in 1812. Both these parts of the present State were included in Michigan Territory from 1834 to 1836, and then in Wisconsin Territory until 1838. The portion west of the Mississippi then became part of Iowa Territory, until Minnesota Territory was established in 1849, including the whole present-day State and the Dakotas generally east of the Missouri River. Minnesota was admitted as a State on May 11, 1858 with essentially its present boundaries.
There was only limited census coverage of the present area of the State prior to 1850. In 1830 a few persons near Lake Superior may have been enumerated in Chippewa County, Michigan Territory; in 1840 some persons in northeastern Minnesota were enumerated in St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory, and two settlements on the Mississippi River were enumerated as part of Clayton County, Iowa Territory. In 1850 coverage of Minnesota Territory did not extend beyond the present State except for a few settlers near the Red River in what is now North Dakota. In 1860 the census covered virtually the whole State.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Minnesota was:
Minnesota was the 32nd US state to be incorporated into the union on May 11, 1858, and that heralded an explosion in population figures.
By the time of the 1860 Census, it was confirmed that Minnesota had 172,023 residents, and just ten years later, that figure had risen by over 150% to 439,706. Although this was the biggest population increase in Minnesota’s history, further significant rises meant that by the start of the 20th century, the population within the state had grown to over 1.75 million.
Those increases slowed down further through the 20th century, but the overall picture remains one of sustained growth and as a result, the population of Minnesota in 2016 is edging toward the 5.5 million figure.
Minnesota, like much of the United States, has a relatively older population with a median age of 37.7. According to projections, Minnesota will see a rise in one-person households, while the number of married couple families will decline. While the state is growing steadily, it is not enjoying the rapid growth of many Southern and Western states with a younger population.
The rate of population growth, as well as age and gender distributions, are very close to the national average. Most of the state's counties are projected to lose population between now and the next census, with losses of at least 15% in many southwestern and western parts of the state, while moderate growth is projected for the lakes region in north-central Minnesota. Rural areas will continue to be older than the growing urban areas, and increased diversity is projected with the populations of color and Hispanic origin increasing faster than the white population. Very fast growth is expected for African Americans, Latinos and Asians in particular, stemming from foreign migration.
With healthy natural growth, increases in the Minnesota population over the decades tend to average out at the 8% mark for the last four censuses. As a result, it will be interesting to see how close the population will reach toward 6 million by the time of the next survey in 2020. It's projected that the population of Minnesota will grow 24% from 2005 to 2035, passing the 6 million mark by 2032.
Minnesota has always been thought of as a racially homogenous state. However, in recent years, the state's population has become more diverse. From 2000 to 2010, there was an increase in the Hispanic population by 74.5%. The state also has a high percentage of Asian American residents, ranking 14th in terms of the overall percentage of Asians when compared to the total population.
In addition to the increase in Hispanics, the state has also seen an increase in immigration of Somalis, Vietnamese and Hmong. However, non-Hispanic whites are still the majority, with 72.33% of births being to non-Hispanic white parents, according to data from 2011.
Over 75% of the state's residents are of European descent. The principal ancestries of Minnesota residents are:
When looking at data from the 2010 Census compared to Census Bureau estimates from 2015, it shows that the counties of Minnesota have a balance of both growing counties and those that have declined in population over those five years. While no counties saw significant growth over 10%, two did come close -- neighboring Carver County and Scott County recorded population growth of 8.04% and 8.52%, respectively. Other counties, particularly those located in the northern region of the state, posted smaller growth rates. These counties include St. Louis, Pennington, and Cook to the north, Blue Earth, Dodge, and Fillmore to the south, and Clay County along the western border.
While some counties posted growth between 2010 and 2015, others saw declining populations, mostly situated in the south and along the western border. Yellow Medicine County had the largest decline of 5.28%, followed by Lac qui Parle at 5.36% and Renville at 5.07%. Other declining populations were recorded in such counties as Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Martin, Murray, and Pipestone.
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 83.93%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 37.06%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
88.01% of Minnesota residents speak only English, while 11.99% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Asian and Pacific Island languages, which is spoken by 4% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Minnesota is Native, with 31.2% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Minnesota is White, with 6.82% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 1.52%. Among those working part-time, it was 12.66%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 17.19%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Minnesota
93.53% of Minnesota residents were born in the United States, with 68.9% having been born in Minnesota. 3.82% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.