There are 87 counties in the U.S. state of Minnesota. There are also several historical counties.
On October 27, 1849, nine counties were established: Benton, Dahkotah, Itasca, Ramsey, Mahkahta, Pembina, Wabasha, Washington, and Wahnata. Six of these names still exist. With the foundation of Kittson County on March 9, 1878, Pembina County no longer existed.When Minnesota was organized as a state, 57 of the present 87 counties were established. The last county to be created was Lake of the Woods County in 1923.
The names of many of the counties allude to the long history of exploration. Over ten counties are named for Native American groups residing in parts of what is now Minnesota. Another fifteen counties are named after physical geographic features, and the remainder for politicians.
The FIPS county code is the five-digit Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code which uniquely identifies counties and county equivalents in the United States. The three-digit number is unique to each individual county within a state, but to be unique within the entire United States, it must be prefixed by the state code. This means that, for example, the number 001 is shared by Aitkin County, Minnesota, Adams County, Wisconsin, and Adair County, Iowa. To uniquely identify Aitkin County, Minnesota, one must use the state code of 27 plus the county code of 001; therefore, the unique nationwide identifier for Aitkin County, Minnesota is 27001. The links in the column FIPS County Code are to the Census Bureau Info page for that county.
|County||FIPS code||County seat||Est.||Origin||Etymology||Population||Area||Map|
|AitkinCounty||001||Aitkin||1857||Pine County, Ramsey County||William Alexander Aitken (1785-1851), early fur trader with Ojibwe Indians||15,697||1,819.30 sq mi|
|AnokaCounty||003||Anoka||1857||Ramsey County||Dakota word meaning "both sides"||363,887||423.61 sq mi|
|BeckerCounty||005||Detroit Lakes||1858||Cass County, Pembina County||George Loomis Becker, former state senator and third mayor of Saint Paul (1856–1857)||35,183||1,310.42 sq mi|
|BeltramiCounty||007||Bemidji||1866||Unorganized Territory, Itasca County, Pembina County, Polk County||Giacomo Beltrami, Italian explorer who explored the northern reaches of Mississippi River in 1823.||46,228||2,505.27 sq mi|
|BentonCounty||009||Foley||1849||One of nine original counties; formed from residual St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory.||Thomas Hart Benton (1782–1858), former United States Senator from Missouri (1821-1851)||41,379||408.28 sq mi|
|Big StoneCounty||011||Ortonville||1862||Pierce County||Big Stone Lake, a lake located in the county||5,166||496.95 sq mi|
|Blue EarthCounty||013||Mankato||1853||Unorganized Territory, Dakota County||Blue Earth River, a river that flows through Minnesota||69,112||752.36 sq mi|
|BrownCounty||015||New Ulm||1855||Blue Earth County||Joseph Renshaw Brown (1805-1870), member of Minnesota territorial legislature (1854-55) and prominent pioneer||25,912||610.86 sq mi|
|CarltonCounty||017||Carlton||1857|| Pine County,|
Saint Louis County
|Rueben B. Carlton (1812-1863), early settler and state senator (1857-1858)||36,207||860.33 sq mi|
|CarverCounty||019||Chaska||1855||Hennepin County, Sibley County||Jonathan Carver (1710–1790), early explorer and cartographer of the Mississippi river.||106,922||357.04 sq mi|
|CassCounty||021||Walker||1851||Dakota County, Pembina County, Mankahto County, Wahnata County||Lewis Cass (1782–1866), senator from Michigan (1845–1857) and United States Secretary of State (1831–1836)||30,066||2,017.60 sq mi|
|ChippewaCounty||023||Montevideo||1870||Pierce County, Davis County||Chippewa River, a river that flows through Minnesota||12,598||582.80 sq mi|
|ChisagoCounty||025||Center City||1851||Washington County, Ramsey County||Chisago Lake, a lake located in the county||56,621||417.63 sq mi|
|ClayCounty||027||Moorhead||1862||Pembina County||Henry Clay (1777-1852), Kentucky statesman and ninth secretary of state of the United States (1825–1829)||65,318||1,045.24 sq mi|
|ClearwaterCounty||029||Bagley||1902||Beltrami County||Clearwater River and lake, both features located in the state||8,524||994.71 sq mi|
|CookCounty||031||Grand Marais||1874||Lake County||Named for Civil War veteran Major Michael Cook of Faribault, who was also a territorial and state senator 1857-62||5,600||1,450.60 sq mi|
|CottonwoodCounty||033||Windom||1857||Brown County||Cottonwood River||11,517||639.99 sq mi|
|Crow WingCounty||035||Brainerd||1857||Ramsey County||Crow Wing River||66,123||996.57 sq mi|
|DakotaCounty||037||Hastings||1849||One of nine original counties.||From the Dakota language, after a local tribe Dakota, meaning "Allies"||439,882||569.58 sq mi|
|DodgeCounty||039||Mantorville||1855||Rice County, Unorganized Territory||Henry Dodge (1782–1867), twice governor of Wisconsin.||20,867||439.50 sq mi|
|DouglasCounty||041||Alexandria||1858||Cass County, Pembina County||Stephen Arnold Douglas (1813-1861), former United States Senator from Illinois (1847-1861)||39,006||634.32 sq mi|
|FaribaultCounty||043||Blue Earth||1855||Blue Earth County||Jean-Baptiste Faribault (1775-1860), early settler and fur trader||13,921||713.63 sq mi|
|FillmoreCounty||045||Preston||1853||Wabasha County||Millard Fillmore (1800-1874), thirteenth president of the United States (1850-1853)||21,228||861.25 sq mi|
|FreebornCounty||047||Albert Lea||1855||Blue Earth County, Rice County||William S. Freeborn (1816-1900), member of the Territorial Legislature||30,895||707.64 sq mi|
|GoodhueCounty||049||Red Wing||1853||Wabasha County, Dakota County||James Madison Goodhue, the first newspaper editor in Minnesota.||47,582||758.27 sq mi|
|GrantCounty||051||Elbow Lake||1868||Stevens County, Wilkin County, Traverse County||Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), eighteenth president of the United States (1869-1877)||6,074||546.41 sq mi|
|HennepinCounty||053||Minneapolis||1852||Dakota County||Father Louis Hennepin (1626-1705), early explorer of the Twin Cities area in the 17th Century||1,281,565||556.62 sq mi|
|HoustonCounty||055||Caledonia||1854||Fillmore County||Sam Houston (1793–1863), the second and fourth president of the Republic of Texas and seventh governor of Texas||18,843||558.41 sq mi|
|HubbardCounty||057||Park Rapids||1883||Cass County||Lucius Frederick Hubbard (1836-1913), ninth governor of Minnesota (1882-1887)||21,344||922.46 sq mi|
|IsantiCounty||059||Cambridge||1857||Ramsey County||Division of the Dakotas called the Izatys, meaning [those that] dwell at Knife Lake, after where they resided.||41,135||439.07 sq mi|
|ItascaCounty||061||Grand Rapids||1849||One of nine original counties; formed from residual La Pointe County, Wisconsin Territory.||Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River (located in northwestern Minnesota).||45,014||2,665.06 sq mi|
|JacksonCounty||063||Jackson||1857||Brown County||Henry Jackson, member of the first territorial legislature and the first merchant in St. Paul||9,989||701.69 sq mi|
|KanabecCounty||065||Mora||1858||Pine County||From the Ojibwe language Kan-a-bec-o-si-pi (Ginebigo-ziibi), meaning Snake River, which flows through the county||16,032||524.93 sq mi|
|KandiyohiCounty||067||Willmar||1858||Meeker County, Renville County, Pierce County, Davis County, Stearns County||From the Sioux language for "buffalo fish"||43,732||796.06 sq mi|
|KittsonCounty||069||Hallock||1879||Pembina County||Norman Kittson (1814-1888), businessman and mayor of Saint Paul (1858-1859)||4,207||1,097.08 sq mi|
|KoochichingCounty||071||International Falls||1906||Itasca County||From the Ojibwe language Gojijiing (Place of inlets), which was the Cree name for Rainy Lake and Rainy River.||12,062||3,102.36 sq mi|
|Lac qui ParleCounty||073||Madison||1871||Redwood County||French phrase meaning "lake which talks".||6,719||764.87 sq mi|
|LakeCounty||075||Two Harbors||1856||Itasca County||Lake Superior, which forms one of its edges||10,905||2,099.16 sq mi|
|Lake of the WoodsCounty||077||Baudette||1923||Beltrami County||Lake of the Woods, a lake located within the county.||3,763||1,296.70 sq mi|
|Le SueurCounty||079||Le Center||1853||Dakota County||Pierre-Charles Le Sueur (1657-1704), fur trader and early explorer of the Minnesota River Valley||28,674||448.50 sq mi|
|LincolnCounty||081||Ivanhoe||1873||Lyon County||Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), sixteenth president of the United States (1861-1865)||5,640||537.03 sq mi|
|LyonCounty||083||Marshall||1871||Redwood County||Nathaniel Lyon (1818–1861), United States Army general killed during the Civil War||25,269||714.17 sq mi|
|McLeodCounty||085||Glencoe||1856||Carver County, Sibley County||Martin McLeod early pioneer and member of the territorial legislature (1849–1856)||36,771||491.91 sq mi|
|MahnomenCounty||087||Mahnomen||1906||Norman County||Ojibwa word meaning "wild rice".||5,411||556.14 sq mi|
|MarshallCounty||089||Warren||1879||Kittson County||William Rainey Marshall (1825-1896), fifth governor of Minnesota (1866-1870)||9,040||1,772.24 sq mi|
|MartinCounty||091||Fairmont||1857||Faribault County, Brown County||Morgan Lewis Martin (1805-1887), delegate to Congress from Wisconsin Territory||20,025||709.34 sq mi|
|MeekerCounty||093||Litchfield||1856||Davis County||Bradley B. Meeker (1813–1873), Associate Justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court (1849–1853)||23,400||608.54 sq mi|
|Mille LacsCounty||095||Milaca||1857||Ramsey County||Mille Lacs Lake, a lake located within the county.||26,459||574.47 sq mi|
|MorrisonCounty||097||Little Falls||1856||Benton County||William & Allan Morrison, fur trading brothers||34,010||1,124.50 sq mi|
|MowerCounty||099||Austin||1855||Rice County||John Edward Mower (1815–1879), member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in the 1850s||40,029||711.50 sq mi|
|MurrayCounty||101||Slayton||1857||Brown County||William Pitt Murray (1825–1910), Minnesota statesman and member of the territorial legislature (1852–1855) and 1857||8,179||704.43 sq mi|
|NicolletCounty||103||St. Peter||1853||Dakota County||Joseph Nicolas Nicollet (1786–1843), early explorer and cartographer of the Upper Mississippi River||34,454||452.29 sq mi|
|NoblesCounty||105||Worthington||1857||Brown County||William H. Nobles, member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in 1854 and 1856||22,290||715.39 sq mi|
|NormanCounty||107||Ada||1881||Polk County||Early Norwegian, also known as Norman, settlers.||6,441||876.27 sq mi|
|OlmstedCounty||109||Rochester||1855||Fillmore County, Wabasha County, Rice County||David Olmsted, first mayor of Saint Paul and member of territorial legislature (1849-1850)||162,847||653.01 sq mi|
|Otter TailCounty||111||Fergus Falls||1858||Pembina County, Cass County||Otter Tail Lake, a lake located within the county||60,081||1,979.71 sq mi|
|PenningtonCounty||113||Thief River Falls||1910||Red Lake County||Edmund Pennington (b. 1848), executive of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad||13,992||616.54 sq mi|
|PineCounty||115||Pine City||1856||Chisago County, Ramsey County||Giant forests of Eastern White Pine and Red Pine that flourish in the county||28,876||1,411.04 sq mi|
|PipestoneCounty||117||Pipestone||1857||Brown County||Name of a sacred Dakota quarry of red pipestone found in the county||9,424||465.89 sq mi|
|PolkCounty||119||Crookston||1858||Pembina County||James K. Polk (1795-1849), eleventh president of the United States (1845-1849)||31,192||1,970.37 sq mi|
|PopeCounty||121||Glenwood||1862||Pierce County, Cass County, Unorganized Territory||John Pope (1822–1892), United States Army general during the Dakota War of 1862||11,308||670.14 sq mi|
|RamseyCounty||123||Saint Paul||1849||One of nine original counties; formed from residual St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory.||Alexander Ramsey (1815-1903), second governor of Minnesota (1860-1863)||552,352||155.78 sq mi|
|Red LakeCounty||125||Red Lake Falls||1896||Polk County||Red Lake River, a river that flows through Minnesota.||3,935||432.43 sq mi|
|RedwoodCounty||127||Redwood Falls||1862||Brown County||Redwood River, a river that flows through Minnesota.||15,425||879.73 sq mi|
|RenvilleCounty||129||Olivia||1855||Nicollet County, Pierce County, Sibley County||Joseph Renville (1779-1846), interpreter for early explorations of the Louisiana Purchase||14,723||982.92 sq mi|
|RiceCounty||131||Faribault||1853||Dakota County, Wabasha County||Henry Mower Rice (1816-1894), former United States Senator from Minnesota (1858-1863)||67,097||497.57 sq mi|
|RockCounty||133||Luverne||1857||Brown County||Large rocky plateau located within the county, known as "the mound."||9,704||482.61 sq mi|
|RoseauCounty||135||Roseau||1894||Kittson County, Beltrami County||Roseau River and Roseau Lake, both of which are located nearby||15,331||1,662.51 sq mi|
|Saint LouisCounty||137||Duluth||1855||Itasca County, Newton||Saint Louis River, a river that flows through Minnesota||200,231||6,225.16 sq mi|
|ScottCounty||139||Shakopee||1853||Dakota County||Winfield Scott (1786–1866), United States Army general who served from (1808–1861)||150,928||356.68 sq mi|
|SherburneCounty||141||Elk River||1856||Benton County||Moses Sherburne (1813–1873), Associate Justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court (1853-1857)||97,183||436.30 sq mi|
|SibleyCounty||143||Gaylord||1853||Dakota County||Henry Hastings Sibley (1811-1891), first governor of Minnesota (1858-1860)||14,836||588.65 sq mi|
|StearnsCounty||145||St. Cloud||1855||Cass County, Nicollet County, Pierce County, Sibley County||Charles Thomas Stearns (1814-1888), early settler of St. Cloud and member of the Minnesota territorial legislature (1849-1858)||158,292||1,344.52 sq mi|
|SteeleCounty||147||Owatonna||1855||Rice County, Blue Earth County, Le Sueur County||Franklin Steele (1813-1880), early settler of Minneapolis and developer of Saint Anthony Falls||37,406||429.55 sq mi|
|StevensCounty||149||Morris||1862||Pierce County, Unorganized Territory||Isaac Ingalls Stevens (1818-1862), first governor of Washington Territory (1853-1857)||9,671||562.06 sq mi|
|SwiftCounty||151||Benson||1870||Chippewa County||Henry Adoniram Swift (1823-1869), third governor of Minnesota (1863-1864)||9,838||743.53 sq mi|
|ToddCounty||153||Long Prairie||1855||Cass County||John Blair Smith Todd, commander of Fort Ripley (1849-56); general in the Civil War; delegate in Congress from Dakota Territory (1861 and 1863-65); governor of Dakota Territory (1869-71)||25,262||942.02 sq mi|
|TraverseCounty||155||Wheaton||1862||Pierce County, Unorganized Territory||Lake Traverse, a lake located in the county.||3,360||574.09 sq mi|
|WabashaCounty||157||Wabasha||1849||One of nine original counties.||Named after M'dewakanton Dakota Indian Chief Wabasha III||21,387||525.01 sq mi|
|WadenaCounty||159||Wadena||1858||Cass County, Todd County||Wadena Trading Post, in turn for a Ojibway word meaning "a little round hill".||14,065||535.02 sq mi|
|WasecaCounty||161||Waseca||1857||Steele County||Dakota word meaning "rich and fertile"||18,968||423.25 sq mi|
|WashingtonCounty||163||Stillwater||1849||One of nine original counties; formed from residual St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory.||George Washington (1732-1799), first president of the United States (1789-1797)||267,568||391.70 sq mi|
|WatonwanCounty||165||St. James||1860||Brown County||Watonwan River, a river that flows through Minnesota.||11,253||434.51 sq mi|
|WilkinCounty||167||Breckenridge||1858||Cass County, Pembina County||Alexander Wilkin (1820-1864), Minnesota politician and soldier killed in the Civil War||6,506||751.43 sq mi|
|WinonaCounty||169||Winona||1854||Fillmore County, Wabasha County||Named after Wee-No-Nah, Sister or Cousin of Chief Wabasha III||49,671||626.30 sq mi|
|WrightCounty||171||Buffalo||1855||Cass County, Sibley County||Silas Wright (1795-1847), former United States Senator from New York (1833-1844)||141,337||660.75 sq mi|
|Yellow MedicineCounty||173||Granite Falls||1871||Redwood County||Yellow Medicine River, a river that flows through Minnesota.||9,528||757.96 sq mi|
St. Croix County is a county in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2010 census, the population was 84,345. Its county seat is Hudson. The county was created in 1840 and organized in 1849.
Pembina County is a county in the U.S. state of North Dakota. At the 2020 United States Census its population was 6,844. The county seat is Cavalier.
Wilkin County is a county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population of Wilkin County was 6,506. Its county seat is Breckenridge. The county is named for Colonel Alexander Wilkin, a lawyer who served as Minnesota's U.S. marshal and was later killed in the Civil War.
Kittson County is a county in the northwestern corner of the U.S. state of Minnesota along the Canada–US border, south of the Canadian province of Manitoba. As of the 2020 census, the population was 4,207. Its county seat is Hallock.
Cass County is a county in the central part of the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 30,066. Its county seat is Walker. The county was formed in 1851, and was organized in 1897.
Aitkin County is a county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 15,697. Its county seat is Aitkin. Part of the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation is in the county. The county was created in 1857 and organized in 1871.
The Territory of Minnesota was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 3, 1849, until May 11, 1858, when the eastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Minnesota.
Norman Wolfred Kittson was one of early Minnesota's most prominent citizens. He was best known as first a fur trader, then a steamboat-line operator and finally a railway entrepreneur and owner of thoroughbred racehorses. He was part of the original syndicate that went on to create the Canadian Pacific Railway. Kittson County, Minnesota is named for him. Norman County, Minnesota also was named for him.
The Arrowhead Region is located in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Minnesota, so called because of its pointed shape. The predominantly rural region encompasses 10,635.26 square miles (27,545.2 km2) of land area and includes Carlton, Cook, Lake and Saint Louis counties. Its population at the 2000 census was 248,425 residents. The region is loosely defined, and Aitkin, Itasca, and Koochiching counties are sometimes considered as part of the region, increasing the land area to 18,221.97 square miles (47,194.7 km2) and the population to 322,073 residents. Primary industries in the region include tourism and iron mining.
La Pointe County was created on February 19, 1845, by the Territory of Wisconsin from the northern portion of the existing territorial St. Croix County, encompassing the remaining portions of the Northwest Territory in Wisconsin Territory north of the line drawn from the confluence of the Ripple River with the Mississippi River to the western edge of Lac Courte Oreilles, to the eastern edge of Lac Courte Oreilles, and to the western branch of the Montreal River. The county was named for the community of La Pointe, Wisconsin on Madeline Island, which was its county seat from 1858 until 1866.
Joseph Rolette was a well-known American fur trader and politician during Minnesota's territorial era and the Civil War. His father was Jean Joseph Rolette, often referred to as Joe Rolette the elder, a French-Canadian and a trader himself. Joseph Rolette’s mother was Jane Fisher, who married Joe Rolette, Sr. in 1818 when she was either 13 or 14 years old. Jane's relatives took young Joseph to New York. Joseph's parents never divorced because they were Catholics, but the couple became separated in 1836. As part of the settlement, Joe Senior built what is today known as the Brisbois House for his estranged wife on Water Street, St. Feriole Island, Prairie du Chien, WI.
By the Treaty of Old Crossing (1863) and the Treaty of Old Crossing (1864), the Pembina and Red Lake bands of the Ojibwe, then known as Chippewa Indians, purportedly ceded to the United States all of their rights to the Red River Valley. On the Minnesota side, the ceded territory included all lands lying west of a line running generally southwest from the Lake of the Woods to Thief Lake, about 30 miles (48 km) west of Red Lake, and then angling southeast to the headwaters of the Wild Rice River near the low-lying divide separating the watershed of the Red River of the North from the watershed of the Mississippi River. On the North Dakota side, the ceded territory included all of the Red River Valley north of the Sheyenne River. The total land area, roughly 127 miles (204 km) wide east to west and 188 miles (303 km) long north to south, consisted of nearly 11,000,000 acres (45,000 km2) of rich prairie land and forests.
County roads in Minnesota are roads locally maintained by county highway departments in Minnesota. County roads span a wide variety of road types, varying from A-minor arterials that carry large volumes of traffic to gravel roads.
Wahnata County was an extinct county in Minnesota Territory. Created as one of the original 9 counties in 1849, the county was dissolved in 1851.
Minnesota counties (−) (±)Kittson County, Minnesota (−) (±)1878 establishments in Minnesota (−) (±)Populated places established in 1878 (−) (±)(+)