Minnesota at a Glance
Located in the heart of the Midwest and nicknamed the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota is a diverse state that offers a unique mix of bustling cities and untouched wilderness.
Together, the traditions of the Ojibwe and Dakota American Indians, adventures of traveling fur traders, and ethnic heritage of immigrants weave the rich tapestry that is Minnesota. And along the banks of the Mississippi River are the state’s largest and most populous cities: Minneapolis and St. Paul (the capital), collectively known as the Twin Cities.
With approximately 5.4 million residents, Minnesota is known for its high quality of life, strong economy, active civic participation, and world-renowned health care. Although early state settlers came from Germany, Norway, Sweden, and other European cities, Minnesota has become much more diverse over the last century. Today, the Twin Cities is home to the largest U.S. Somali population, large Hmong, Vietnamese, and Ethiopian populations, and one of the fastest-growing Latino/Hispanic populations. Nearly 60 percent of Minnesota’s residents live in the Twin Cities metropolitan area – 387,000 in Minneapolis and 285,000 in St. Paul.
Considered a world-class metropolitan area, the Twin Cities serves as the manufacturing, commercial, financial, educational, and cultural center of the agriculturally rich North Central States. A diverse mix of industries make up the Twin Cities’ economy, including food and agriculture; computer and electronics technology; health care and medical device manufacturing; printing and publishing; and graphic and performing arts. Among the Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the area are Target, Best Buy, 3M, Wells Fargo, Ecolab, Land O’Lakes, and General Mills. Minnesota is also home to Cargill, the largest privately-owned company in the U.S., and the Mayo Clinic. These and other organizations benefit from Minnesota’s highly-educated workforce and numerous educational institutions, including the University of Minnesota.
The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus is Minnesota’s flagship land-grant university and ranks among the top 10 nationally in number of graduate Fulbright Scholars. Current and former faculty members have won Guggenheim Fellowships, MacArthur Fellowships, and Nobel Prizes.
In addition to its strong commitment to education and thriving economy, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota have a national reputation for high-quality cultural and recreational activities. The vibrant arts, music, and theatre scenes include the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Guthrie Theater. Famous artists include Bob Dylan, Prince, Charles M. Schulz, and Academy-award winning duo Joel and Ethan Coen. And professional baseball, basketball, football, and hockey teams play here.
Located near the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport is the Mall of the America, the largest indoor shopping mall and one of the top tourist destinations in the country. Finally, Minnesota’s four distinct seasons and strong interest in environmentalism make it a great place to enjoy the chain of lakes, parks, and natural resources throughout the state, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park, and the Mississippi River.