List of counties in Minnesota

This is a list of counties in Minnesota. 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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3]

Number of counties listing

FIPS code[3] County seat[4] Est.[1][4] Origin[5][6][7] Etymology Population[4][8] Area[4][8] Map
Aitkin County 001 Aitkin1857Pine County, Ramsey CountyWilliam Alexander Aitken (1785-1851), early fur trader with Ojibwe Indians 16,202 1,819.30 sq mi
(4,712 km2)
Anoka County 003 Anoka1857Ramsey CountyDakota word meaning "both sides" 330,844 423.61 sq mi
(1,097 km2)
Becker County 005 Detroit Lakes1858Cass County, Pembina CountyGeorge Loomis Becker, former state senator and third mayor of Saint Paul (1856–1857) 32,504 1,310.42 sq mi
(3,394 km2)
Beltrami County 007 Bemidji1866Unorganized Territory, Itasca County, Pembina County, Polk CountyGiacomo Beltrami, Italian explorer who explored the northern reaches of Mississippi River in 1823. 44,442 2,505.27 sq mi
(6,489 km2)
Benton County 009 Foley1849One 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) 38,451 408.28 sq mi
(1,057 km2)
Big Stone County 011 Ortonville1862Pierce CountyBig Stone Lake, a lake located in the county 5,269 496.95 sq mi
(1,287 km2)
Blue Earth County 013 Mankato1853Unorganized Territory, Dakota CountyBlue Earth River, a river that flows through Minnesota 64,013 752.36 sq mi
(1,949 km2)
Brown County 015 New Ulm1855Blue Earth CountyJoseph Renshaw Brown (1805-1870), member of Minnesota territorial legislature (1854-55) and prominent pioneer 25,893 610.86 sq mi
(1,582 km2)
Carlton County 017 Carlton1857Pine County,
Saint Louis County
Rueben B. Carlton (1812-1863), early settler and state senator (1857-1858) 35,386 860.33 sq mi
(2,228 km2)
Carver County 019 Chaska1855Hennepin County, Sibley CountyJonathan Carver (1710–1790), early explorer and cartographer of the Mississippi river. 91,042 357.04 sq mi
(925 km2)
Cass County 021 Walker1851Dakota County, Pembina County, Mankahto County, Wahnata CountyLewis Cass (1782–1866), senator from Michigan (1845–1857) and United States Secretary of State (1831–1836) 28,567 2,017.60 sq mi
(5,226 km2)
Chippewa County 023 Montevideo1870Pierce County, Davis CountyChippewa River, a river that flows through Minnesota 12,441 582.80 sq mi
(1,509 km2)
Chisago County 025 Center City1851Washington County, Ramsey CountyChisago Lake, a lake located in the county 53,887 417.63 sq mi
(1,082 km2)
Clay County 027 Moorhead1862Pembina CountyHenry Clay (1777-1852), Kentucky statesman and ninth secretary of state of the United States (1825–1829) 58,999 1,045.24 sq mi
(2,707 km2)
Clearwater County 029 Bagley1902Beltrami CountyClearwater River and lake, both features located in the state 8,695 994.71 sq mi
(2,576 km2)
Cook County 031 Grand Marais1874Lake CountyNamed for Civil War veteran Major Michael Cook of Faribault, who was also a territorial and state senator 1857-62 5,176 1,450.60 sq mi
(3,757 km2)
Cottonwood County 033 Windom1857Brown CountyCottonwood River 11,687 639.99 sq mi
(1,658 km2)
Crow Wing County 035 Brainerd1857Ramsey CountyCrow Wing River 62,500 996.57 sq mi
(2,581 km2)
Dakota County 037 Hastings1849One of nine original counties.From the Dakota language, after a local tribe Dakota, meaning "Allies" 398,552 569.58 sq mi
(1,475 km2)
Dodge County 039 Mantorville1855Rice County, Unorganized TerritoryHenry Dodge (1782–1867), twice governor of Wisconsin.[9] 20,087 439.50 sq mi
(1,138 km2)
Douglas County 041 Alexandria1858Cass County, Pembina CountyStephen Arnold Douglas (1813-1861), former United States Senator from Illinois (1847-1861) 36,009 634.32 sq mi
(1,643 km2)
Faribault County 043 Blue Earth1855Blue Earth CountyJean-Baptiste Faribault (1775-1860), early settler and fur trader 14,553 713.63 sq mi
(1,848 km2)
Fillmore County 045 Preston1853Wabasha CountyMillard Fillmore (1800-1874), thirteenth president of the United States (1850-1853) 20,866 861.25 sq mi
(2,231 km2)
Freeborn County 047 Albert Lea1855Blue Earth County, Rice CountyWilliam S. Freeborn (1816-1900), member of the Territorial Legislature 31,255 707.64 sq mi
(1,833 km2)
Goodhue County 049 Red Wing1853Wabasha County, Dakota CountyJames Madison Goodhue, the first newspaper editor in Minnesota.[10] 46,183 758.27 sq mi
(1,964 km2)
Grant County 051 Elbow Lake1868Stevens County, Wilkin County, Traverse CountyUlysses S. Grant (1822-1885), eighteenth president of the United States (1869-1877) 6,018 546.41 sq mi
(1,415 km2)
Hennepin County 053 Minneapolis1852Dakota CountyFather Louis Hennepin (1626-1705), early explorer of the Twin Cities area in the 17th Century 1,152,425 556.62 sq mi
(1,442 km2)
Houston County 055 Caledonia1854Fillmore CountySam Houston (1793–1863), the second and fourth president of the Republic of Texas and seventh governor of Texas 19,027 558.41 sq mi
(1,446 km2)
Hubbard County 057 Park Rapids1883Cass CountyLucius Frederick Hubbard (1836-1913), ninth governor of Minnesota (1882-1887) 20,428 922.46 sq mi
(2,389 km2)
Isanti County 059 Cambridge1857Ramsey CountyDivision of the Dakotas called the Izatys, meaning [those that] dwell at Knife Lake, after where they resided. 37,816 439.07 sq mi
(1,137 km2)
Itasca County 061 Grand Rapids1849One of nine original counties; formed from residual La Pointe County, Wisconsin Territory.Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River (located in northwestern Minnesota). 45,058 2,665.06 sq mi
(6,902 km2)
Jackson County 063 Jackson1857Brown CountyHenry Jackson, member of the first territorial legislature and the first merchant in St. Paul 10,266 701.69 sq mi
(1,817 km2)
Kanabec County 065 Mora1858Pine CountyFrom the Ojibwe language Kan-a-bec-o-si-pi (Ginebigo-ziibi), meaning Snake River, which flows through the county 16,239 524.93 sq mi
(1,360 km2)
Kandiyohi County 067 Willmar1858Meeker County, Renville County, Pierce County, Davis County, Stearns CountyFrom the Sioux language for "buffalo fish" 42,239 796.06 sq mi
(2,062 km2)
Kittson County 069 Hallock1879Pembina CountyNorman Kittson (1814-1888), businessman and mayor of Saint Paul (1858-1859) 4,552 1,097.08 sq mi
(2,841 km2)
Koochiching County 071 International Falls1906Itasca CountyFrom the Ojibwe language Gojijiing (Place of inlets), which was the Cree name for Rainy Lake and Rainy River. 13,311 3,102.36 sq mi
(8,035 km2)
Lac qui Parle County 073 Madison1871Redwood CountyFrench phrase meaning "lake which talks". 7,259 764.87 sq mi
(1,981 km2)
Lake County 075 Two Harbors1856Itasca CountyLake Superior, which forms one of its edges 10,866 2,099.16 sq mi
(5,437 km2)
Lake of the Woods County 077 Baudette1923Beltrami CountyLake of the Woods, a lake located within the county. 4,045 1,296.70 sq mi
(3,358 km2)
Le Sueur County 079 Le Center1853Dakota CountyPierre-Charles Le Sueur (1657-1704), fur trader and early explorer of the Minnesota River Valley 27,703 448.50 sq mi
(1,162 km2)
Lincoln County 081 Ivanhoe1873Lyon CountyAbraham Lincoln (1809-1865), sixteenth president of the United States (1861-1865) 5,896 537.03 sq mi
(1,391 km2)
Lyon County 083 Marshall1871Redwood CountyNathaniel Lyon (1818–1861), United States Army general killed during the Civil War 25,857 714.17 sq mi
(1,850 km2)
McLeod County 085 Glencoe1856Carver County, Sibley CountyMartin McLeod early pioneer and member of the territorial legislature (1849–1856) 36,651 491.91 sq mi
(1,274 km2)
Mahnomen County 087 Mahnomen1906Norman CountyOjibwa word meaning "wild rice". 5,413 556.14 sq mi
(1,440 km2)
Marshall County 089 Warren1879Kittson CountyWilliam Rainey Marshall (1825-1896), fifth governor of Minnesota (1866-1870) 9,439 1,772.24 sq mi
(4,590 km2)
Martin County 091 Fairmont1857Faribault County, Brown CountyMorgan Lewis Martin (1805-1887), delegate to Congress from Wisconsin Territory 20,840 709.34 sq mi
(1,837 km2)
Meeker County 093 Litchfield1856Davis CountyBradley B. Meeker (1813–1873), Associate Justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court (1849–1853) 23,300 608.54 sq mi
(1,576 km2)
Mille Lacs County 095 Milaca1857Ramsey CountyMille Lacs Lake, a lake located within the county. 26,097 574.47 sq mi
(1,488 km2)
Morrison County 097 Little Falls1856Benton CountyWilliam & Allan Morrison, fur trading brothers[11] 33,198 1,124.50 sq mi
(2,912 km2)
Mower County 099 Austin1855Rice CountyJohn Edward Mower (1815–1879), member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in the 1850s 39,163 711.50 sq mi
(1,843 km2)
Murray County 101 Slayton1857Brown CountyWilliam Pitt Murray (1825–1910), Minnesota statesman and member of the territorial legislature (1852–1855) and 1857 8,725 704.43 sq mi
(1,824 km2)
Nicollet County 103 St. Peter1853Dakota CountyJoseph Nicolas Nicollet (1786–1843), early explore and cartographer of the Upper Mississippi River 32,727 452.29 sq mi
(1,171 km2)
Nobles County 105 Worthington1857Brown CountyWilliam H. Nobles, member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in 1854 and 1856 21,378 715.39 sq mi
(1,853 km2)
Norman County 107 Ada1881Polk CountyEarly Norwegian, also known as Norman, settlers. 6,852 876.27 sq mi
(2,270 km2)
Olmsted County 109 Rochester1855Fillmore County, Wabasha County, Rice CountyDavid Olmsted, first mayor of Saint Paul and member of territorial legislature (1849-1850) 144,248 653.01 sq mi
(1,691 km2)
Otter Tail County 111 Fergus Falls1858Pembina County, Cass CountyOtter Tail Lake, a lake located within the county 57,303 1,979.71 sq mi
(5,127 km2)
Pennington County 113 Thief River Falls1910Red Lake CountyEdmund Pennington (b. 1848), executive of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad 13,930 616.54 sq mi
(1,597 km2)
Pine County 115 Pine City1856Chisago County, Ramsey CountyGiant forests of Eastern White Pine and Red Pine that flourish in the county 29,750 1,411.04 sq mi
(3,655 km2)
Pipestone County 117 Pipestone1857Brown CountyName of a sacred Dakota quarry of red pipestone found in the county 9,596 465.89 sq mi
(1,207 km2)
Polk County 119 Crookston1858Pembina CountyJames K. Polk (1795-1849), eleventh president of the United States (1845-1849) 31,600 1,970.37 sq mi
(5,103 km2)
Pope County 121 Glenwood1862Pierce County, Cass County, Unorganized TerritoryJohn Pope (1822–1892), United States Army general during the Dakota War of 1862 10,995 670.14 sq mi
(1,736 km2)
Ramsey County 123 Saint Paul1849One of nine original counties; formed from residual St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory.Alexander Ramsey (1815-1903), second governor of Minnesota (1860-1863) 508,640 155.78 sq mi
(403 km2)
Red Lake County 125 Red Lake Falls1896Polk CountyRed Lake River, a river that flows through Minnesota. 4,089 432.43 sq mi
(1,120 km2)
Redwood County 127 Redwood Falls1862Brown CountyRedwood River, a river that flows through Minnesota. 16,059 879.73 sq mi
(2,278 km2)
Renville County 129 Olivia1855Nicollet County, Pierce County, Sibley CountyJoseph Renville (1779-1846), interpreter for early explorations of the Louisiana Purchase 15,730 982.92 sq mi
(2,546 km2)
Rice County 131 Faribault1853Dakota County, Wabasha CountyHenry Mower Rice (1816-1894), former United States Senator from Minnesota (1858-1863) 64,142 497.57 sq mi
(1,289 km2)
Rock County 133 Luverne1857Brown CountyLarge rocky plateau located within the county, known as "the mound." 9,687 482.61 sq mi
(1,250 km2)
Roseau County 135 Roseau1894Kittson County, Beltrami CountyRoseau River and Roseau Lake, both of which are located nearby 15,629 1,662.51 sq mi
(4,306 km2)
Saint Louis County 137 Duluth1855Itasca County, NewtonSaint Louis River, a river that flows through Minnesota 200,226 6,225.16 sq mi
(16,123 km2)
Scott County 139 Shakopee1853Dakota CountyWinfield Scott (1786–1866), United States Army general who served from (1808–1861) 129,928 356.68 sq mi
(924 km2)
Sherburne County 141 Elk River1856Benton CountyMoses Sherburne (1813–1873), Associate Justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court (1853-1857) 88,499 436.30 sq mi
(1,130 km2)
Sibley County 143 Gaylord1853Dakota CountyHenry Hastings Sibley (1811-1891), first governor of Minnesota (1858-1860) 15,226 588.65 sq mi
(1,525 km2)
Stearns County 145 St. Cloud1855Cass County, Nicollet County, Pierce County, Sibley CountyCharles Thomas Stearns (1814-1888), early settler of St. Cloud and member of the Minnesota territorial legislature (1849-1858) 150,642 1,344.52 sq mi
(3,482 km2)
Steele County 147 Owatonna1855Rice County, Blue Earth County, Le Sueur CountyFranklin Steele (1813-1880), early settler of Minneapolis and developer of Saint Anthony Falls 36,576 429.55 sq mi
(1,113 km2)
Stevens County 149 Morris1862Pierce County, Unorganized TerritoryIsaac Ingalls Stevens (1818-1862), first governor of Washington Territory (1853-1857) 9,726 562.06 sq mi
(1,456 km2)
Swift County 151 Benson1870Chippewa CountyHenry Adoniram Swift (1823-1869), third governor of Minnesota (1863-1864) 9,783 743.53 sq mi
(1,926 km2)
Todd County 153 Long Prairie1855Cass CountyJohn 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) 24,895 942.02 sq mi
(2,440 km2)
Traverse County 155 Wheaton1862Pierce County, Unorganized TerritoryLake Traverse, a lake located in the county. 3,558 574.09 sq mi
(1,487 km2)
Wabasha County 157 Wabasha1849One of nine original counties.Named after M'dewakanton Dakota Indian Chief Wabasha III 21,676 525.01 sq mi
(1,360 km2)
Wadena County 159 Wadena1858Cass County, Todd CountyWadena Trading Post, in turn for a Ojibway word meaning "a little round hill". 13,843 535.02 sq mi
(1,386 km2)
Waseca County 161 Waseca1857Steele CountyDakota word meaning "rich and fertile" 19,136 423.25 sq mi
(1,096 km2)
Washington County 163 Stillwater1849One of nine original counties; formed from residual St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory.George Washington (1732-1799), first president of the United States (1789-1797) 238,136 391.70 sq mi
(1,014 km2)
Watonwan County 165 St. James1860Brown CountyWatonwan River, a river that flows through Minnesota. 11,211 434.51 sq mi
(1,125 km2)
Wilkin County 167 Breckenridge1858Cass County, Pembina CountyAlexander Wilkin (1820-1864), Minnesota politician and soldier killed in the Civil War 6,576 751.43 sq mi
(1,946 km2)
Winona County 169 Winona1854Fillmore County, Wabasha CountyNamed after Wee-No-Nah, Sister or Cousin of Chief Wabasha III 51,461 626.30 sq mi
(1,622 km2)
Wright County 171 Buffalo1855Cass County, Sibley CountySilas Wright (1795-1847), former United States Senator from New York (1833-1844) 124,700 660.75 sq mi
(1,711 km2)
Yellow Medicine County 173 Granite Falls1871Redwood CountyYellow Medicine River, a river that flows through Minnesota. 10,438 757.96 sq mi
(1,963 km2)

Historical counties

  • St. Clair County, Indiana (1801–12) (Transferred to Illinois in 1809)
  • St. Charles County, Louisiana (1809–13) (Transferred to Missouri in 1812)
  • Madison County (IL) (1812–18) Formed from St. Clair County (IL)
  • Michilimackinac County, Michigan Territory (1818–37)
  • Crawford County, Michigan and Wisconsin Territories (1818–40)
  • Chippewa County, Michigan Territory (1827–37)
  • Dubuque County (MI) (1834–37)
  • Fayette County (WI) (1837–49)
  • St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory (1840–49)
  • La Pointe County, Wisconsin Territory (1845–49) Formed from St. Croix
  • Mahkatah County (1849–51) (Mahkahto) (One of Original 9 counties) Dissolved to Pembina and Cass
  • Wahnata County (1849–51) (One of Original 9 counties) Dissolved to Pembina and Cass
  • Buchanan County (1857–61) Formed from Pine County, Dissolved back to Pine
  • Pierce County (1853–62) Formed from Dakota County
  • Superior County Name change to Saint Louis County then to Lake.
  • Davis County (1855–62) Formed from Cass, Nicollet and Sibley Counties
  • Toombs County (1858–62) Formed from Pembina. Name Changed to Andy Johnson.
  • Newton County (1855–6) Formed from Itasca County and Un-Organized. Name Changed from Doty County, then to Saint Louis County.
  • Monroe County merged with Mille Lacs.
  • Lincoln County (1861–8) Formed from Renville County
  • Lac qui Parle County (1862–8) Formed from Davis
  • Manomin County (1857–1869) Formed from Ramsey County, Merged into Anoka County.
  • Monongalia County (1861–70)Formed from Ramsey County, Pierce County and un-Organized. Dissolved to Kandiyohi County.
  • Aiken County (1857–72) Formed from Pine and Ramsey Counties, Change name to Aitkin County
  • Pembina County (1849–78) (One of Original 9 counties) Name Change to Kittson County
  • Saint Louis County. Name change from Superior, then to Lake.
  • Breckenridge County (1858–62) Formed from Pembina. Name Change to Clay in 1862
  • Andy Johnson County (1862–8) Formally Toombs county. Named changed to Wilkin.
  • Midway County (1857–8) Area created from Brown county, overlapped Pipestone county. Dissolved in 1858 when the State of Minnesota was formed and the rest of the territory not added to the state became unorganized.

See also

  • List of Minnesota county name etymologies
  • List of Minnesota county seats


  1. "Minnesota Place Names". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  2. "Minnesota County History". Association of Minnesota Counties. Archived from the original on 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2007-09-02.
  3. "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  4. National Association of Counties. "NACo - Find a county". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  5. Upham, Warren (1969). Minnesota Geographic Names. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society.
  6. "County Name Origins". Association of Minnesota Counties. Archived from the original on 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  7. "Origin of Minnesota County Name". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  8. "Minnesota QuickFacts". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2012. (2010 Census)
  9. "Dodge County History" (PDF). Dodge County website. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  10. "The History of Goodhue County". Goodhue County, Minnesota website. Archived from the original on 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  11. MCHS - William Morrison - Fur Trader Archived 2008-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
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