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Minnesota Facts & Figures

State of Minnesota

The name "Minnesota" comes from Dakota Indian words meaning "sky-tinted waters" or "sky-blue waters."

  • Capital: St. Paul
  • Statehood: Became a state in 1858, the 32nd state in the union
  • Size: 12th-largest state in U.S.
  • Length: just over 400 miles
  • Width: varies from about 200-350 miles
  • Location: Upper Midwest, in north central U.S. Along the U.S.-Canada border


  • Total: 5.5 million
  • State rank: 21st
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area: 3.5 million, 16th-largest metro area in the U.S.

Five Largest Cities

  1. Minneapolis, largest city in Minnesota: 412,517
  2. St. Paul, state capital: 300,353
  3. Rochester, home of Mayo Clinic: 111,907
  4. Bloomington, home of Mall of America: 87,224
  5. Duluth, major shipping port on Lake Superior: 86,597

Minnesota Waters

Minnesota's lakes and rivers are part of what this state is all about. One of Minnesota's nicknames is "Land of 10,000 Lakes," but it really has lots more. It's on the shore of the biggest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior. And, it's where the world's third-largest river, the Mississippi, begins.

Here are some facts about Minnesota's waters.

  • Number of lakes: 11,842 (over 10 acres)
  • Rivers and streams add up to 69,200 miles
  • Mississippi River: 680 miles of its 2,552 total miles flow through Minnesota.
  • Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake. It's at the end of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which brings boats from around the world to the port of Duluth, Minn.
  • Minnesota's rivers and streams flow in three directions: north to Hudson Bay in Canada, east to the Atlantic Ocean, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.


Tourism: $15.3 billion industry in Minnesota

2019 Tourism and the Economy Fact Sheet, featuring 2017 state sales tax and jobs data

Other major industries: healthcare and medical equipment, high technology, finance and insurance,
forest products, printing and publishing, food products, iron ore mining

Minnesota businesses: Minnesota is home to some of the biggest companies in the U.S., including Target, Best Buy, 3M, General Mills, Medtronic, Hormel Foods, Ameriprise Financial, Ecolab and St. Jude Medical.

Agriculture: Top crops include corn, soybeans, sugar beets, wheat. Major livestock includes hogs, dairy cows, beef cattle, turkeys.


Twin Cities average temperatures High/Low
January 24 F/7 F
May 70 F/48 F
August 80 F/61 F
October 59 F/39 F

Average annual snowfall: 36-70 inches
Normal annual precipitation: 18-32 inches
Temperatures are usually slightly warmer south of the Twin Cities, and cooler in northern parts of the state.

State Symbols

  • State Motto: "L'Etoile du Nord," which means "Star of the North" in French
  • State Nicknames: North Star State, Land of 10,000 Lakes, Gopher State
  • State Bird: Common Loon
    There are more loons in Minnesota than in any other state except Alaska.
  • State Flower: Pink and White Lady's Slipper
    The flower looks like a moccasin, or slipper, and grows in damp, wooded areas.
  • State Fish: Walleye
    Found in lakes throughout Minnesota, the walleye is a favorite among anglers.
  • State Tree: Red Pine (also called Norway pine)
  • State Gemstone: Lake Superior Agate

Famous Minnesotans

Ann Bancroft Explorer: first woman to cross the ice to both the North Pole (1986 by dogsled) and South Pole (1993 by skis) 
Robert Bly Poet/author: won National Book Award for Poetry
Bob Dylan Singer/songwriter: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Grammy, Oscar and Nobel Prize winner
Louise Erdrich Author: numerous novels, poetry, short stories and more
Judy Garland Actress/singer: played Dorothy in the movie "The Wizard of Oz"
Hubert H. Humphrey U.S. Senator, 1949-64 and 1971-78; U.S. Vice President, 1965-69
Garrison Keillor Author/humorist/radio personality: host of "A Prairie Home Companion"
Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. First person to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean, 1927
Walter F. Mondale U.S. Senator, 1964-76; U.S. Vice President, 1977-81
George "Pinky" Nelson Astronaut: flew space missions in 1984, 1986 and 1988
Karen Nyberg Astronaut: 2008 space shuttle flight
Prince (Rogers Nelson) Singer/songwriter/actor: Grammy Award winner, Oscar for Best Soundtrack; known for his movie "Purple Rain"
Charles Schulz Cartoonist: created Peanuts series
Lindsey Vonn Only American woman to win gold in downhill skiing (2010)
Laura Ingalls Wilder Author: "Little House on the Prairie" series of children's books
Roy Wilkins Civil rights leader: director of the NAACP, 1955-1977
Dave Winfield Baseball player: 12-time MLB All-Star; Baseball Hall of Fame inductee