Of the U.S. states
, Minnesota is the 12th largest in area
and the 22nd most populous
. More than half its residents live in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul
metropolitan area, known as the "Twin Cities",
which is the main political, economic, and cultural hub. Urban centers in "Greater Minnesota" include Duluth
and St. Cloud
The state's geography is defined by western prairies
, now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous
forests in the southeast, now partially cleared, farmed, and settled; and the less populated North Woods
, used for mining, forestry, and recreation.
Minnesota's growth initially centered on timber, agriculture and railroads. During the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, European immigrants arrived in significant numbers, particularly from Scandinavia, Germany, and Central Europe; a significant influx has been linked to the failed European Revolutions of 1848
Minnesota remains a center of Scandinavian
, and Czech
though in the 21st century it has seen increased domestic migration and immigration from Asia, the Horn of Africa
, the Middle East, and Latin America.
In recent decades, Minnesota's economy has diversified significantly, shifting from traditional industries such as agriculture and resource extraction to services and finance. Minnesota's standard of living index
is among the highest in the United States, and the state is among the best-educated in the nation.
The word Minnesota
comes from the Dakota
name for the Minnesota River
, which got its name from one of two words in Dakota
: "mní sóta", which means "clear blue water",
or "Mníssota", which means "cloudy water".Dakota people
demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mní sóta
Many places in the state have similar Dakota names, such as 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
Scalable map of Minnesota, showing roads and major bodies of water
Minnesota has some of the earth's oldest rocks, gneisses
that are about 3.6 billion years old (80% as old as the planet).
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.
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
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.
Notwithstanding dramatic local differences in elevation, much of the state is a gently rolling peneplain
The state's nickname "Land of 10,000 Lakes" is apt, as there are 11,842 Minnesota lakes
over 10 acres (4 ha) in size.
Minnesota's portion of Lake Superior is the largest at 962,700 acres (389,600 ha; 3,896 km2
) and deepest (at 1,290 ft (390 m)) body of water in the state.
Minnesota has 6,564 natural rivers and streams that cumulatively flow for 69,000 miles (111,000 km).
The Mississippi River begins its journey from its headwaters
at Lake Itasca
and crosses the Iowa border 680 miles (1,090 km) downstream.
It is joined by the Minnesota River
at Fort Snelling, by the St. Croix River
, by the Chippewa River
, 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.
Flora and fauna
While loss of habitat has affected native animals such as the pine marten
, woodland caribou
, and bison
others like whitetail deer
thrive. Minnesota has the nation's largest population of timber wolves
and supports healthy populations of black bears
, and gophers
. Located on the Mississippi Flyway
, Minnesota hosts migratory waterfowl such as geese
, and game birds such as grouse
, and turkeys
. It is home to birds of prey
, including the largest number of breeding pairs of bald eagles
in the lower 48 states as of 2007, red-tailed hawks
, and snowy owls
. Hawk Ridge
is one of the premier bird watching sites in North America. The lakes teem with sport fish such as walleye
, and northern pike
, and brook
, 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.
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).
Average summer dewpoints
range from about 58 °F (14 °C) in the south to about 48 °F (9 °C) in the north.
Average annual precipitation ranges from 19 to 35 inches (48 to 89 cm), and droughts occur every 10 to 50 years.
Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in Minnesota
Minnesota's first state park, Itasca State Park
, was established in 1891, and is the source
of the Mississippi River.
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.
The region was part of Spanish Louisiana
from 1762 to 1802.
The portion of the state east of the Mississippi River became part of the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War
, when the Second Treaty of Paris
was signed. Land west of the Mississippi was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase
, though part of the Red River Valley
was disputed until the Treaty of 1818
In 1805 Zebulon Pike
bargained with Native Americans to acquire land at the confluence
of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers to create a military reservation. The construction of Fort Snelling followed between 1819 and 1825.
Its soldiers built a grist mill
and a sawmill
at Saint Anthony Falls
. They 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. They moved downriver to the area that became St. Paul just outside the military reservation.
From 1812 to 1821 Minnesota was part of the Territory of Missouri
. From 1821 to 1834 it was part of an Unorganized Territory
. From 1834 to 1836 Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and half the Dakotas were part of the Territory of Michigan
. From 1836 to 1848 Minnesota and Iowa were part of the Territory of Wisconsin
. From 1838 to 1846 Minnesota west of the Mississippi River 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,
was dominated by men of New England ancestry.
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".
Treaties between the U.S. Government and the Dakota and Ojibwe gradually forced the natives off their lands and onto reservations
. In 1861 residents of Mankato
formed the Knights of the Forest
, with a goal of eliminating all Native Americans from Minnesota. As conditions deteriorated for the Dakota, tensions rose, leading to the Dakota War of 1862
The six-week war ended with the execution of 38 Dakota and the exile of many to the Crow Creek Reservation
in Dakota Territory
As many as 800 settlers died during the war.
Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey
subsequently declared that "the Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.”
He also placed a bounty of $25/scalp on the heads of the Dakota men. Over 1,600 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
by the Great Sioux Reservation
. Shortly after arriving at the fort, one of the women was raped by soldiers while gathering firewood. 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.
Conditions there were poor. The food was meager, measles
swept the enclosure and nothing had been done to provide sanitation.
Many died. The men were imprisoned or had fled.
In early 1863, Ramsey resigned as governor to become the Federal Indian Commissioner. His successor, Governor Henry Swift
, raised the bounty to $200/scalp immediately.
When hostilities broke out there were 6,500-7,000 Sioux in the state. When hostilities ended there were 2,000 in custody. The remainder had fled, the Canadians having set aside two parcels of 7,000
acres for those who crossed into Manitoba
. The Canadians were not eager to take in the displaced Minnesota Sioux but went on to set aside even more land for them.
Upon becoming Indian Commissioner, Ramsey set out to get the Ojibwe 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 Pine City
, Marine on St. Croix
, and Winona
processed vast quantities of timber. These cities were on rivers that were ideal for transportation.
St. Anthony Falls was later tapped to provide power for flour mills
. Innovations by Minneapolis millers led to the production of Minnesota "patent" flour, which commanded almost double the price of "bakers'" or "clear" flour, which it replaced.
By 1900 Minnesota mills, led by Pillsbury
and the Washburn-Crosby Company (a forerunner of General Mills
), were grinding 14.1% of the nation's grain.
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 Great Depression
, resulting in lower prices for farmers, layoffs among iron miners, and labor unrest. Compounding the adversity, western Minnesota and the Dakotas were hit by drought from 1931 to 1935. New Deal
programs provided some economic turnaround. The Civilian Conservation Corps
and other programs around the state established some jobs for Indians on their reservations, and the Indian Reorganization Act
of 1934 provided the tribes with a mechanism of self-government. This gave Natives a greater voice within the state and promoted more respect for tribal customs because religious ceremonies and native languages
were no longer suppressed.
After the war, 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
became the norm. University of Minnesota
professor Norman Borlaug
contributed to these developments as part of the Green Revolution
development accelerated due to increased postwar housing demand and convenient transportation. Increased mobility in turn enabled more specialized jobs.
The United States Navy and Coast Guard have recognized Minnesota with:
Cities and towns
Saint Paul is adjacent to Minnesota's most populous city, Minneapolis; they and their suburbs are collectively known as the Twin Cities metropolitan area
, the country's 16th-largest metropolitan area and home to about 55 percent of the state's population.
The remainder of the state is known as "Greater Minnesota
" or "Outstate Minnesota".
The state has 17 cities with populations above 50,000 as of the 2010 census. In descending order of population, they are Minneapolis
, Saint Paul
, Brooklyn Park
, Saint Cloud
, Maple Grove
, Coon Rapids
, Eden Prairie
, Apple Valley
, and Lakeville
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
counties doubled between 1980 and 2000, while 40 of the state's 87 counties lost residents over the same period.
Minnesota's population distribution
From fewer than 6,120 white settlers in 1850, Minnesota's official population grew to over 1.7 million by 1900. Each of the next six decades saw a 15 percent increase in population, reaching 3.4 million in 1960. Growth then slowed, rising 11 percent to 3.8 million in 1970, and an average of 9 percent over the next three decades to 4.9 million in the 2000 Census
As of 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.
The table below shows the racial composition of Minnesota's population as of 2017.
Racial composition of the population of Minnesota
In 2011 non-Hispanic whites were involved in 72.3 percent of all the births.
Minnesota's growing minority groups
, however, still form a smaller percentage of the population than in the nation as a whole.
Minnesota has the country's largest Somali
with an estimated 57,000 people, the largest concentration outside of the Horn of Africa
The majority of Minnesotans are Protestants
, including a large Lutheran
contingent, owing to the state's largely Northern European
ethnic makeup. Roman Catholics
(of largely German
descent) make up the largest single Christian denomination
. A 2010 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
showed that 32 percent of Minnesotans were affiliated with Mainline Protestant
traditions, 21 percent were Evangelical Protestants
, 28 percent Roman Catholic, 1 percent each Jewish
, and Black Protestant
, and smaller amounts of other faiths, with 13 percent unaffiliated.
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives
, the denominations with the most adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church
with 1,150,367; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
with 737,537; and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
This is broadly consistent with the results of the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey
, which also gives detailed percentages for many individual denominations.
The international Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference
is headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota.
is dominant, Minnesota has a long history with non-Christian faiths. Ashkenazi Jewish
pioneers set up Saint Paul's first synagogue
Minnesota is home to more than 30 mosques
, mostly in the Twin Cities metro area.
The Temple of ECK
, the spiritual home of Eckankar
, is based in Minnesota.
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.
Minnesota's economy had a gross domestic product
of $383 billion in 2019,
with 33 of the United States' top 1,000 publicly traded companies by revenue headquartered in Minnesota,
, UnitedHealth Group
, General Mills
, U.S. Bancorp
, Land O' Lakes
, Best Buy
, and Valspar
. Private companies based in Minnesota include Cargill
, the largest privately owned company in the United States,
and Carlson Companies
, the parent company of Radisson Hotels
As of December 2018 the state's unemployment rate was 2.8 percent.
Industry and commerce
Minnesota's earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture. Minneapolis grew around the flour mills powered by St. Anthony Falls
. Although less than one percent of the population is now employed in the agricultural sector,
it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking sixth in the nation in the value of products sold.
The state is the nation's largest producer of sugar beets
, sweet corn
, and peas
for processing, and farm-raised turkeys
. Minnesota is also a large producer of corn and soybeans,
and has the most food cooperatives
per capita in the United States. Forestry
remains strong, including logging
processing and paper production, and forest products manufacturing. Minnesota was famous for its soft-ore mines, which produced a significant portion of the world's iron ore
for more than a century. Although the high-grade ore is now depleted, taconite
mining continues, using processes developed locally to save the industry. In 2016 the state produced 60 percent of the country's usable iron ore.
The mining boom created the port of Duluth, which continues to be important for shipping ore, coal, and agricultural products. The manufacturing sector now includes technology and biomedical
firms, in addition to the older food processors and heavy industry. The nation's first indoor shopping mall
was Edina's Southdale Center
, and its largest is Bloomington's Mall of America
Energy use and production
Minnesota produces ethanol fuel
and is the first to mandate its use, a ten percent mix (E10
In 2019 there were more than 411 service stations supplying E85
fuel, comprising 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
A two percent biodiesel
blend has been required in diesel fuel
since 2005. Minnesota is ranked in the top ten for wind energy production. The state gets nearly one fifth of all its electrical energy from wind.
is the state's largest utility and is headquartered in the state;
it is one of five investor-owned utilities.
There are also a number of municipal utilities.
Minnesota has a progressive income tax
structure; the four brackets of state income tax
rates are 5.35, 7.05, 7.85 and 9.85 percent.
As of 2008 Minnesota was ranked 12th in the nation in per capita total state and local taxes.
In 2008 Minnesotans paid 10.2 percent of their income in state and local taxes; the U.S. average was 9.7 percent.
The state sales tax
in Minnesota is 6.875 percent, but clothing, prescription drug medications and food items for home consumption are exempt.
The state legislature
may allow municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 0.5 percent supplemental sales tax in Minneapolis. Excise
taxes are levied on alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel. The state imposes a use tax
on items purchased elsewhere but used within Minnesota.
Owners of real property
in Minnesota pay property tax
to their county, municipality, school district, and special taxing districts.
Fine and performing arts
Minnesota's leading fine art
museums include the Minneapolis Institute of Art
, the Walker Art Center
, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum
, and The Museum of Russian Art
(TMORA). All are in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Orchestra
and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
are prominent full-time professional musical ensembles
who perform concerts and offer educational programs to the Twin Cities' community. The world-renowned Guthrie Theater
moved into a new Minneapolis facility in 2006, boasting three stages and overlooking the Mississippi River. Attendance at theatrical
, and comedy
events in the area is strong. In the United States, Minneapolis's number of theater companies ranks behind only New York City
and about 2.3 million theater tickets were sold in the Twin Cities annually as of 2006.
The Minnesota Fringe Festival
in Minneapolis is an annual celebration of theatre
, kids' shows, visual art
, and musicals with more than 800 performances over 11 days. It is the country's largest non-juried performing arts festival.
Minnesota musicians include Holly Henry
, Bob Dylan
, Eddie Cochran
, The Andrews Sisters
, The Castaways
, The Trashmen
, Soul Asylum
, David Ellefson
, Chad Smith
, John Wozniak
, Hüsker Dü
, Owl City
, Motion City Soundtrack
, The Replacements
, and Dessa
. Minnesotans helped shape the history of music through popular American culture: the Andrews Sisters' "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" was an iconic tune of World War II, while the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" and Bob Dylan epitomize two sides of the 1960s. In the 1980s, influential hit radio groups and musicians included Prince
, The Original 7ven
, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
, The Jets
, Lipps Inc.
, and Information Society
Minnesotans have also made significant contributions to comedy, theater, media, and film. The comic strip Peanuts
was created by St. Paul native Charles M. Schulz
. A Prairie Home Companion
which first aired in 1974, became a long-running comedy radio show on National Public Radio
. A cult scifi
cable TV show, Mystery Science Theater 3000
, was created by Joel Hodgson
in Hopkins, and Minneapolis, MN. Another popular comedy staple developed in the 1990s, The Daily Show
, was originated through Lizz Winstead
and Madeleine Smithberg
Joel and Ethan Coen
, Terry Gilliam
, Bill Pohlad
, and Mike Todd
contributed to the art of filmmaking
as writers, directors, and producers. Notable actors from Minnesota include Loni Anderson
, Richard Dean Anderson
, James Arness
, Jessica Biel
, Rachael Leigh Cook
, Julia Duffy
, Mike Farrell
, Judy Garland
, Peter Graves
, Josh Hartnett
, Garrett Hedlund
, Tippi Hedren
, Jessica Lange
, Kelly Lynch
, E.G. Marshall
, Laura Osnes
, Melissa Peterman
, Chris Pratt
, Marion Ross
, Jane Russell
, Winona Ryder
, Seann William Scott
, Kevin Sorbo
, Lea Thompson
, Vince Vaughn
, Jesse Ventura
, and Steve Zahn
traits of Minnesotans include "Minnesota nice
, a strong sense of community and shared culture, and a distinctive brand of North Central American English
sprinkled with Scandinavian
, usually with a variety of hotdishes
, are popular small-town church activities. A small segment of the Scandinavian population attend a traditional lutefisk
dinner to celebrate Christmas. Life in Minnesota has also been depicted or used as a backdrop, in movies such as Fargo
, Grumpy Old Men
, Grumpier Old Men
, Drop Dead Gorgeous
, Young Adult
, A Serious Man
, New in Town
, The Mighty Ducks films,
and in famous television series like Little House on the Prairie
, The Mary Tyler Moore Show
, The Golden Girls
, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show
, How I Met Your Mother
. Major movies shot on location in Minnesota include That Was Then... This Is Now
, Purple Rain
, Beautiful Girls
, North Country
, Untamed Heart
, Feeling Minnesota
, Jingle All The Way
, A Simple Plan
, and The Mighty Ducks films
The Minnesota State Fair
, advertised as The Great Minnesota Get-Together
, is an icon of state culture. In a state of 5.5 million people, there were more than 1.8 million visitors to the fair in 2014, setting a new attendance record.
The fair covers the variety of Minnesota life, including fine art
, food preparation, 4-H
displays, music, the midway
, and corporate merchandising. It is known for its displays of seed art
sculptures of dairy princesses
, the birthing barn, and the "fattest pig" competition. One can also find dozens of varieties of food on a stick, such as Pronto Pups
, cheese curds
, and deep-fried candy bars. On a smaller scale, many of these attractions are offered at numerous county fairs.
Minnesotans have low rates of premature death, infant mortality, cardiovascular disease, and occupational fatalities.
They have long life expectancies,
and high rates of health insurance and regular exercise.
These and other measures have led two groups to rank Minnesota as the healthiest state in the nation; however, in one of these rankings, Minnesota descended from first to sixth in the nation between 2005 and 2009 because of low levels of public health funding and the prevalence of binge drinking
While overall health indicators are strong, Minnesota does have significant health disparities in minority populations.
On October 1, 2007, Minnesota became the 17th state to enact the Freedom to Breathe Act
, a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and bars.
U.S. News & World Report's
2014–2015 survey ranked 4,743 hospitals in the United States in 16 specialized fields of care, and placed the Mayo Clinic in the top four in all fields except psychiatry, where it ranked seventh. The hospital ranked #1 in eight fields and #2 in three others.
The Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota are partners in the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a state-funded program that conducts research into cancer
, Alzheimer's disease
, heart health
, and other areas.
One of the Minnesota Legislature's first acts when it opened in 1858 was the creation of a normal school
in Winona. Minnesota's commitment to education has contributed to a literate and well-educated populace. In 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota had the second-highest proportion of high school graduates, with 91.5% of people 25 and older holding a high school diploma
, and the tenth-highest proportion of people with bachelor's degrees.
In 2015, Minneapolis was named the nation's "Most Literate City", while St. Paul placed fourth, according to a major annual survey.
In a 2013 study conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics comparing the performance of eighth-grade students internationally in math and science, Minnesota ranked eighth in the world and third in the United States, behind Massachusetts and Vermont.
In 2014, Minnesota students earned the tenth-highest average composite score in the nation on the ACT exam
In 2013, nationwide in per-student public education spending, Minnesota ranked 21st.
While Minnesota has chosen not to implement school vouchers
it is home to the first charter school
Transportation in Minnesota is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation
(MnDOT) at the state level and by regional and local governments at the local level. Principal transportation corridors radiate from the Twin Cities
metropolitan area and along interstate corridors in Greater Minnesota. The major Interstate highways
are Interstate 35
, and I-94
, with I-35 and I-94 connecting the Minneapolis–St. Paul area, and I-90 traveling east-west along the southern edge of the state.
In 2006, a constitutional amendment
was passed that required sales and use taxes on motor vehicles to fund transportation, with at least forty percent dedicated to public transit
There are nearly two dozen rail
corridors in Minnesota, most of which go through Minneapolis–St. Paul or Duluth.
There is water transportation along the Mississippi River
system and from the ports of Lake Superior
Law and government
As with the federal government of the United States, power in Minnesota is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
Governor Tim Walz
The Minnesota Legislature
is a bicameral
body consisting of the Senate
and the House of Representatives
. The state has 67 districts, each with about 60,000 people. Each district has one senator and two representatives, each senatorial district being divided into A
sections for members of the House. Senators serve for four years and representatives for two years.
- Speaker: Melissa Hortman (DFL-36B)
- Majority Leader: Ryan Winkler (DFL-46A)
- Majority Whip: Liz Olson (DFL-7B)
- Assistant Majority Leaders: Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-42B), Hodan Hassan (DFL-62A), Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL-41B), Fue Lee (DFL-49A), Jamie Long (DFL-61B), Julie Sandstede (DFL-6A)
- Minority Leader: Kurt Daudt (R-31A)
- Deputy Minority Leader: Anne Neu (R-32B)
- Assistant Minority Leaders: Tony Albright (R-55B), Peggy Bennett (R-27A), Josh Heintzeman (R-10A), Jon Koznick (R-58A), Jim Nash (R-47A), Peggy Scott (R-35B)
- Minority Whip: Dan Fabian (R-10A)
Two specialized courts within administrative agencies have been established: the workers' compensation court of appeals, and the tax court, which deals with non-criminal tax cases.
Supreme Court Justices
The State of Minnesota was created by the United States federal government in the traditional and cultural range of lands occupied by the Dakota
peoples as well as other Native American groups. After many years of unequal treaties and forced resettlement by the state and federal government, the tribes re-organized into sovereign tribal governments. Today, the tribal governments are divided into 11 semi-autonomous reservations
that negotiate with the U.S. and the state on a bilateral basis:
Seven Anishinaabe reservations:
The first six of the Anishinaabe bands compose the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
, the collective federally recognized tribal government of the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth reservations.
Election results from statewide races
brought national attention to the state with his address at the 1948 Democratic National Convention
. Minnesotans have consistently cast their Electoral College votes for Democratic presidential candidates since 1976, longer than any other state. Minnesota is the only state in the nation that did not vote for Ronald Reagan
in either of his presidential runs. Minnesota has gone for the Democratic Party in every presidential election since 1960, with the exception of 1972, when it was carried by Republican Richard Nixon
Both the Democratic and Republican parties have major-party status in Minnesota, but its state-level Democratic party has a different name, officially known as the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
(DFL). It was formed out of a 1944 alliance of the Minnesota Democratic and Farmer-Labor
The state has had active third-party movements. The Reform Party
, now the Independence Party
, was able to elect former mayor of Brooklyn Park
and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura
to the governorship in 1998
. The Independence Party
has received enough support to keep major-party status. The Green Party
, while no longer having major-party status, has a large presence in municipal government,
notably in Minneapolis and Duluth, where it competes directly with the DFL party for local offices. Major-party status in Minnesota (which grants state funding for elections) is reserved to parties whose candidates receive five percent or more of the vote in any statewide election (e.g., governor, secretary of state, U.S. president).
The state's U.S. Senate
seats have generally been split since the early 1990s and in the 108th
Congresses, Minnesota's congressional delegation was split, with four representatives and one senator from each party. In the 2006 mid-term election, Democrats were elected to all state offices, except governor and lieutenant governor, where Republicans Tim Pawlenty
and Carol Molnau
narrowly won re-election. The DFL posted double-digit gains in both houses of the legislature, elected Amy Klobuchar to the U.S. Senate, and increased the party's U.S. House caucus by one. Keith Ellison (DFL) was elected as the first African American
U.S. Representative from Minnesota, as well as the first Muslim
elected to Congress nationwide.
In 2008, DFLer and former comedian and radio talk show host Al Franken
defeated incumbent Republican Norm Coleman
in the U.S. Senate race by 312 votes out of three million cast.
In the 2010 election, Republicans took control of both chambers of the Minnesota legislature for the first time in 38 years and, with Mark Dayton's election, the DFL party took the governor's office for the first time in 20 years. Two years later, the DFL regained control of both houses, and with Dayton in office, the party had same-party control of both the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 1990. Two years later, the Republicans regained control of the Minnesota House,
and in 2016, the GOP also regained control of the State Senate.
In 2018, the DFL retook control of the Minnesota House, while electing DFLer Tim Walz
Two of the largest public radio
networks, Minnesota Public Radio
(MPR) and Public Radio International
(PRI), are based in the state. MPR has the largest audience of any regional public radio network in the nation, broadcasting on 46 radio stations as of 2019.
PRI weekly provides more than 400 hours of programming to almost 800 affiliates.
The state's oldest radio station, KUOM
-AM, was launched in 1922 and is among the 10-oldest radio stations
in the United States. The University of Minnesota-owned station is still on the air, and since 1993 broadcasts a college rock
Sports, recreation and tourism Minnesota has an active program of organized amateur and professional sports. Tourism has become an important industry, especially in the Lake region. In the North Country, what had been an industrial area focused on mining and timber has largely been transformed into a vacation destination. Popular interest in the environment and environmentalism
, added to traditional interests in hunting
and fishing, has attracted a large urban audience within driving range.
Minnesota has professional men's teams in all major sports.
Minnesota also has minor-league professional sports teams. The Minnesota Swarm
of the National Lacrosse League
played at the Xcel Energy Center until the team moved to Georgia in 2015. Minor league baseball is represented by major league-sponsored teams and independent teams such as the St. Paul Saints
, who play at CHS Field
in St. Paul.
Minnesotans participate in high levels of physical activity,
and many of these activities are outdoors. The strong interest of Minnesotans in environmentalism has been attributed to the popularity of these pursuits.
In the warmer months, these activities often involve water. Weekend and longer trips to family cabins
on Minnesota's numerous lakes are a way of life for many residents. Activities include water sports
such as water skiing
, which originated in the state, boating
, and fishing
. More than 36 percent of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska.
State and national forests and the seventy-two state parks are used year-round for hunting, camping
, and hiking
. There are almost 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of snowmobile trails statewide.
Minnesota has more miles of bike trails
than any other state,
and a growing network of hiking trails
, including the 235-mile (378 km) Superior Hiking Trail
in the northeast.
Many hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.
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