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Hennepin County was created in 1852 by the Minnesota Territorial Legislature. Father Louis Hennepin's name was chosen because he originally named St. Anthony Falls and recorded some of the earliest accounts of the area for the Western world. Hennepin County's early history is closely linked to the establishment of the cities of Minneapolis and St. Anthony.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 607 square miles (1,570 km2), of which 554 square miles (1,430 km2) is land and 53 square miles (140 km2) (8.7%) is water. Hennepin is one of 17 Minnesota counties with more savanna soils than either prairie or forest soils, and is one of only two Minnesota counties with more than 75% of its area in savanna soils (the other is Wright County).
The highest waterfall on the Mississippi River, the Saint Anthony Falls (discovered by Louis Hennepin) is in Hennepin County next to downtown Minneapolis, but in the 19th century, the falls were converted to a series of dams. Barges and boats now pass through locks to move between the parts of the river above and below the dams.
Soils of Hennepin County
Anoka County (northeast)
Ramsey County (east)
Dakota County (southeast)
Scott County (south)
Carver County (southwest)
Wright County (northwest)
Sherburne County (north)
National protected areas
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (part)
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (part)
Census Pop. %±
1860 12,849 —
1870 31,566 145.7%
1880 67,013 112.3%
1890 185,294 176.5%
1900 228,340 23.2%
1910 333,480 46.0%
1920 415,419 24.6%
1930 517,785 24.6%
1940 568,899 9.9%
1950 676,579 18.9%
1960 842,854 24.6%
1970 960,080 13.9%
1980 941,411 ?1.9%
1990 1,032,431 9.7%
2000 1,116,200 8.1%
2010 1,152,425 3.2%
Est. 2019 1,265,843 9.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
Age pyramid of county residents based on 2000 U.S. census data
Located across the street from the Government Center, the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility serves as the county jail
As of the 2010 Census, there were 1,152,425 people, 475,913 households, and 272,885 families living in the county. The racial makeup of the county was 74.4% White, 11.8% Black or African American, 0.9% Native American, 6.2% Asian, 3.4% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. 6.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
According to the 2010–2015 American Community Survey, the largest ancestry groups were German (26.3%), Norwegian (12.6%), Irish (10.8%), and Swedish (8.3%).
At the 2000 Census, there were 1,116,200 people, 456,129 households, and 267,291 families living in the county. The population density was 774/km? (2,005/mi?). There were 468,824 housing units at an average density of 325/km? (842/mi?). The racial makeup of the county was 80.53% White, 8.95% Black or African American, 1.00% Native American, 4.80% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.06% from other races, and 2.60% from two or more races. 4.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 456,129 households out of which 28.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.30% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.40% were non-families. 31.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the county 24.00% of the population was under the age of 18, 9.70% was between 18 and 24, 33.70% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 11.00% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 97.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $51,711, and the median income for a family was $65,985 (these figures had risen to $60,115 and $79,970 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Accounting for inflation, these figures rise again to $76,202.87 for individuals, and $92,353.46 for households, adjusted for 2014 dollars. Males had a median income of $42,466 versus $32,400 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,789. About 5.00% of families and 8.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.50% of those under age 18 and 5.90% of those age 65 or over.
Hennepin County is the wealthiest county in Minnesota and one of the 100 highest-income counties in the United States.
Besides English, languages with significant numbers of speakers in Hennepin County include Arabic, Hmong, Khmer, Lao, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
In 2010 statistics, the largest religious group in Hennepin County was the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, with 215,205 Catholics worshipping at 73 parishes, followed by 124,732 ELCA Lutherans with 106 congregations, 59,811 non-denominational adherents with 103 congregations, 20,286 UMC Methodists with 42 congregations, 18,836 Missouri Synod Lutherans with 34 congregations, 16,941 PC-USA Presbyterians with 21 congregations, 16,230 Converge Baptists with 26 congregations, 16,128 AoG Pentecostals with 32 congregations, 12,307 UCC Christians with 20 congregations, and 8,608 Reform Jews with 3 congregations. Altogether, 54.3% of the population was claimed as members by religious congregations, although members of historically African-American denominations were underrepresented due to incomplete information. In 2014, Hennepin County had 708 religious organizations, the 16th most out of all US counties.
Law and government
Like all counties in Minnesota, Hennepin is governed by an elected and nonpartisan board of commissioners. In Minnesota, county commissions usually have five members, but Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Anoka and St Louis counties have seven members. Each commissioner represents a district of approximately equal population. In Hennepin the county commission appoints the medical examiner, county auditor-treasurer and county recorder. The sheriff and county attorney are also elected on a nonpartisan ticket. The county government's headquarters are in downtown Minneapolis in the Hennepin County Government Center. The county oversees the Hennepin County Library system (which merged with the Minneapolis Public Library system in 2008), and Hennepin County Medical Center. The county commission also elects a chair who presides at meetings.
District Commissioner In office
since Current term
expires in January
1st Mike Opat 1993 2021
2nd Irene Fernando 2019 2023
3rd Marion Greene (chair) 2014 2023
4th Angela Conley 2019 2023
5th Debbie Goettel 2017 2021
6th Jan Callison 2009 2021
7th Jeff Johnson 2009 2021
Hennepin County's normal operations are coordinated by the County Administrator David Hough, Deputy County Administrator for Health and Human Services Jennifer DeCubellis, Assistant County Administrator for Operations Chester Cooper, Acting Assistant County Administrator for Public Works Chris Sagsveen, and Assistant County Administrator for Public Safety Mark Thompson. Under Administrator Hough's leadership, the number senior management positions in the county has grown by 40%.
Presidential elections results
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Other county roads
Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) serves the Twin Cities area. It is the 17th-busiest airport in the United States by passenger traffic and serves as a hub for Delta Air Lines.
Crystal Airport (MIC) is a public airport in Crystal.
Flying Cloud Airport (FCM) is a public airport in Eden Prairie.
See also: Economy of Minnesota
Major companies and employers
As the economic center of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, Hennepin County is home to many major companies in a diverse section of industries. As of the 2018 estimate, there are twelve Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Hennepin County, five of which are located in Minneapolis.
Fortune 500 Companies in Hennepin County
Company Name National Rank Revenue ($millions),
Headquarters City Industry
UnitedHealth Group 5 201,159 Minnetonka Managed Healthcare
Target 39 71,879 Minneapolis General Retailing
Best Buy 72 42,151 Richfield Electronics Retailing
U.S. Bancorp 122 23,996 Minneapolis Banking and Finance
SuperValu 180 16,009 Eden Prairie Food Distribution and Retailing
General Mills 182 15,619.8 Golden Valley Food Processing
C.H. Robinson 193 14,869.4 Eden Prairie Transportation
Ameriprise Financial 252 12,075 Minneapolis Financial Services
Xcel Energy 266 11,404 Minneapolis Electricity and Natural Gas Utility
Thrivent Financial 343 8,527.9 Minneapolis Financial Services
Mosaic 382 7,409.4 Plymouth Fertilizer Manufacturing
Polaris 496 5,504.8 Medina Snowmobile Manufacturing
From 2014 to 2015, employment in Hennepin County, MN grew at a rate of 2.61%, from 664,619 employees to 681,944 employees. The most common employment sectors for those who live in Hennepin County, MN, are Healthcare & Social Assistance, Manufacturing, and Retail trade. This chart shows the share breakdown of the primary industries for residents of Hennepin County, MN, though some of these residents may live in Hennepin County, MN and work somewhere else. Census data is tagged to a residential address, not a work address.
Tree Map of Employment by Industries in Hennepin County (2015)
Hennepin County is also home to several major private companies such as Carlson and Cargill, both located in Minnetonka, the latter of which is the largest privately-owned company in the United States.
Along with these major companies, Hennepin County also contains several large employers, as listed below. According to the 2016 American Community Survey, the largest overall industries in Hennepin County are healthcare and social assistance (96,511 workers), manufacturing (80,324), and retail trade (75,861).
Largest employers in Hennepin County
Employer Number of Employees Industry
University of Minnesota 18000 Education
Target Stores Inc 10000 Retail
Pharmacy at Park Nicollet 9000 Healthcare
Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital 8200 Healthcare
Park Nicollet Clinic 8000 Healthcare
M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center 8000 Healthcare
M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital 7658 Healthcare
Ameriprise Financial Inc 7000 Financial Services
Park Nicollet Urgent Care 7000 Healthcare
Best Buy Inc 6000 Electronics Retail
According to the 2016 American Community Survey, the average household income in Hennepin County is $71,200. The GINI Index for 2016 was 0.461, lower than the national average of 0.485. As of 2016, nearly 132,000 residents of Hennepin County were living under the poverty line, a full 10.9% of the county. This figure is lower than the national average of 14%.
Colleges and universities in the county include:
Augsburg University in Minneapolis
Dunwoody College of Technology in downtown Minneapolis
Hamline University - Minneapolis campus in St. Louis Park
Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie
Metropolitan State University in downtown Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park
Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Minneapolis
Minneapolis Community and Technical College in downtown Minneapolis
Minnesota State University, Mankato - Twin Cities campus in Edina
Normandale Community College in Bloomington
North Central University in downtown Minneapolis
North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park
Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington
St. Cloud State University - Twin Cities campus in Plymouth
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis
University of St. Thomas - Minneapolis campus in downtown Minneapolis
Minnehaha Falls is the main attraction and namesake of Minnehaha Park.
Hennepin County, and in particular the city of Minneapolis, is renowned for its expansive and high-quality park system. The Minneapolis park system has been called the best-designed, best-financed, and best-maintained in America. The Minneapolis park system has been named the top park system in the country by the Trust for Public Land for 5 consecutive years as of 2017. Many of the Minneapolis' numerous parks are linked by the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, a series of interconnected parks and paths in the city that extends for 51 miles. The byway is divided into seven districts: Downtown Riverfront, Mississippi River, Minnehaha, Chain of Lakes, Theodore Wirth, Victory Memorial, and Northeast. The byway includes many major destinations in Minneapolis, including Nicollet Island, St. Anthony Falls, Stone Arch Bridge, Mill Ruins Park, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Minnehaha Creek, Minnehaha Park, Lake Hiawatha, Lake Nokomis, Lake Harriet, Bde Maka Ska, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake, and Theodore Wirth Park.
Outside of Minneapolis, Hennepin County is part of the Three Rivers Park District, a park system containing 20 parks and 10 trails spanning the Twin Cities metro area.
See also: Arts in Minneapolis
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Numerous art institutions in Minneapolis make Hennepin County a national center for the arts. It contains some of the largest and most well-known centers for art in the country, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Walker Art Center, Weisman Art Museum, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Major art centers include Northeast Minneapolis and the Minneapolis neighborhood of North Loop. Minneapolis is home to many important artist organizations such as the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art, the Handicraft Guild, and the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association.
Hennepin County is also home to a thriving theater scene, highlighted by the Guthrie Theater, located in downtown Minneapolis. It is home to many theater companies such as Mixed Blood, Skewed Visions, Brave New Workshop, and Children's Theatre Company. Other notable theaters include the Orpheum Theatre, the State Theatre, and the Pantages Theatre. Additionally, many other cities in Hennepin County are home to local community theaters, such as Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Orono, Osseo, and Plymouth.
U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, was constructed in 2016, and was the site of Super Bowl LII.
Of the "Big Four" sports leagues in the US, three are located in Minneapolis: the Minnesota Twins play in Target Field, the Minnesota Timberwolves play in Target Center, and the Minnesota Vikings play in U.S. Bank Stadium. Additionally, among major sports leagues, the Minnesota Lynx also play in Target Center.
Minneapolis (county seat)
St. Anthony (partial)
St. Louis Park
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