List of counties in Minnesota
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.
Number of counties listing
||FIPS code||County seat||Est.||Origin||Etymology||Population||Area||Map|
|Aitkin County||001||Aitkin||1857||Pine County, Ramsey County||William Alexander Aitken (1785-1851), early fur trader with Ojibwe Indians||16,202||1,819.30 sq mi|
|Anoka County||003||Anoka||1857||Ramsey County||Dakota word meaning "both sides"||330,844||423.61 sq mi|
|Becker County||005||Detroit Lakes||1858||Cass County, Pembina County||George Loomis Becker, former state senator and third mayor of Saint Paul (1856–1857)||32,504||1,310.42 sq mi|
|Beltrami County||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.||44,442||2,505.27 sq mi|
|Benton County||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)||38,451||408.28 sq mi|
|Big Stone County||011||Ortonville||1862||Pierce County||Big Stone Lake, a lake located in the county||5,269||496.95 sq mi|
|Blue Earth County||013||Mankato||1853||Unorganized Territory, Dakota County||Blue Earth River, a river that flows through Minnesota||64,013||752.36 sq mi|
|Brown County||015||New Ulm||1855||Blue Earth County||Joseph Renshaw Brown (1805-1870), member of Minnesota territorial legislature (1854-55) and prominent pioneer||25,893||610.86 sq mi|
|Carlton County||017||Carlton||1857||Pine County,|
Saint Louis County
|Rueben B. Carlton (1812-1863), early settler and state senator (1857-1858)||35,386||860.33 sq mi|
|Carver County||019||Chaska||1855||Hennepin County, Sibley County||Jonathan Carver (1710–1790), early explorer and cartographer of the Mississippi river.||91,042||357.04 sq mi|
|Cass County||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)||28,567||2,017.60 sq mi|
|Chippewa County||023||Montevideo||1870||Pierce County, Davis County||Chippewa River, a river that flows through Minnesota||12,441||582.80 sq mi|
|Chisago County||025||Center City||1851||Washington County, Ramsey County||Chisago Lake, a lake located in the county||53,887||417.63 sq mi|
|Clay County||027||Moorhead||1862||Pembina County||Henry Clay (1777-1852), Kentucky statesman and ninth secretary of state of the United States (1825–1829)||58,999||1,045.24 sq mi|
|Clearwater County||029||Bagley||1902||Beltrami County||Clearwater River and lake, both features located in the state||8,695||994.71 sq mi|
|Cook County||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||5,176||1,450.60 sq mi|
|Cottonwood County||033||Windom||1857||Brown County||Cottonwood River||11,687||639.99 sq mi|
|Crow Wing County||035||Brainerd||1857||Ramsey County||Crow Wing River||62,500||996.57 sq mi|
|Dakota County||037||Hastings||1849||One of nine original counties.||From the Dakota language, after a local tribe Dakota, meaning "Allies"||398,552||569.58 sq mi|
|Dodge County||039||Mantorville||1855||Rice County, Unorganized Territory||Henry Dodge (1782–1867), twice governor of Wisconsin.||20,087||439.50 sq mi|
|Douglas County||041||Alexandria||1858||Cass County, Pembina County||Stephen Arnold Douglas (1813-1861), former United States Senator from Illinois (1847-1861)||36,009||634.32 sq mi|
|Faribault County||043||Blue Earth||1855||Blue Earth County||Jean-Baptiste Faribault (1775-1860), early settler and fur trader||14,553||713.63 sq mi|
|Fillmore County||045||Preston||1853||Wabasha County||Millard Fillmore (1800-1874), thirteenth president of the United States (1850-1853)||20,866||861.25 sq mi|
|Freeborn County||047||Albert Lea||1855||Blue Earth County, Rice County||William S. Freeborn (1816-1900), member of the Territorial Legislature||31,255||707.64 sq mi|
|Goodhue County||049||Red Wing||1853||Wabasha County, Dakota County||James Madison Goodhue, the first newspaper editor in Minnesota.||46,183||758.27 sq mi|
|Grant County||051||Elbow Lake||1868||Stevens County, Wilkin County, Traverse County||Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), eighteenth president of the United States (1869-1877)||6,018||546.41 sq mi|
|Hennepin County||053||Minneapolis||1852||Dakota County||Father Louis Hennepin (1626-1705), early explorer of the Twin Cities area in the 17th Century||1,152,425||556.62 sq mi|
|Houston County||055||Caledonia||1854||Fillmore County||Sam Houston (1793–1863), the second and fourth president of the Republic of Texas and seventh governor of Texas||19,027||558.41 sq mi|
|Hubbard County||057||Park Rapids||1883||Cass County||Lucius Frederick Hubbard (1836-1913), ninth governor of Minnesota (1882-1887)||20,428||922.46 sq mi|
|Isanti County||059||Cambridge||1857||Ramsey County||Division of the Dakotas called the Izatys, meaning [those that] dwell at Knife Lake, after where they resided.||37,816||439.07 sq mi|
|Itasca County||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).||45,058||2,665.06 sq mi|
|Jackson County||063||Jackson||1857||Brown County||Henry Jackson, member of the first territorial legislature and the first merchant in St. Paul||10,266||701.69 sq mi|
|Kanabec County||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||16,239||524.93 sq mi|
|Kandiyohi County||067||Willmar||1858||Meeker County, Renville County, Pierce County, Davis County, Stearns County||From the Sioux language for "buffalo fish"||42,239||796.06 sq mi|
|Kittson County||069||Hallock||1879||Pembina County||Norman Kittson (1814-1888), businessman and mayor of Saint Paul (1858-1859)||4,552||1,097.08 sq mi|
|Koochiching County||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.||13,311||3,102.36 sq mi|
|Lac qui Parle County||073||Madison||1871||Redwood County||French phrase meaning "lake which talks".||7,259||764.87 sq mi|
|Lake County||075||Two Harbors||1856||Itasca County||Lake Superior, which forms one of its edges||10,866||2,099.16 sq mi|
|Lake of the Woods County||077||Baudette||1923||Beltrami County||Lake of the Woods, a lake located within the county.||4,045||1,296.70 sq mi|
|Le Sueur County||079||Le Center||1853||Dakota County||Pierre-Charles Le Sueur (1657-1704), fur trader and early explorer of the Minnesota River Valley||27,703||448.50 sq mi|
|Lincoln County||081||Ivanhoe||1873||Lyon County||Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), sixteenth president of the United States (1861-1865)||5,896||537.03 sq mi|
|Lyon County||083||Marshall||1871||Redwood County||Nathaniel Lyon (1818–1861), United States Army general killed during the Civil War||25,857||714.17 sq mi|
|McLeod County||085||Glencoe||1856||Carver County, Sibley County||Martin McLeod early pioneer and member of the territorial legislature (1849–1856)||36,651||491.91 sq mi|
|Mahnomen County||087||Mahnomen||1906||Norman County||Ojibwa word meaning "wild rice".||5,413||556.14 sq mi|
|Marshall County||089||Warren||1879||Kittson County||William Rainey Marshall (1825-1896), fifth governor of Minnesota (1866-1870)||9,439||1,772.24 sq mi|
|Martin County||091||Fairmont||1857||Faribault County, Brown County||Morgan Lewis Martin (1805-1887), delegate to Congress from Wisconsin Territory||20,840||709.34 sq mi|
|Meeker County||093||Litchfield||1856||Davis County||Bradley B. Meeker (1813–1873), Associate Justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court (1849–1853)||23,300||608.54 sq mi|
|Mille Lacs County||095||Milaca||1857||Ramsey County||Mille Lacs Lake, a lake located within the county.||26,097||574.47 sq mi|
|Morrison County||097||Little Falls||1856||Benton County||William & Allan Morrison, fur trading brothers||33,198||1,124.50 sq mi|
|Mower County||099||Austin||1855||Rice County||John Edward Mower (1815–1879), member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in the 1850s||39,163||711.50 sq mi|
|Murray County||101||Slayton||1857||Brown County||William Pitt Murray (1825–1910), Minnesota statesman and member of the territorial legislature (1852–1855) and 1857||8,725||704.43 sq mi|
|Nicollet County||103||St. Peter||1853||Dakota County||Joseph Nicolas Nicollet (1786–1843), early explore and cartographer of the Upper Mississippi River||32,727||452.29 sq mi|
|Nobles County||105||Worthington||1857||Brown County||William H. Nobles, member of the Minnesota territorial legislature in 1854 and 1856||21,378||715.39 sq mi|
|Norman County||107||Ada||1881||Polk County||Early Norwegian, also known as Norman, settlers.||6,852||876.27 sq mi|
|Olmsted County||109||Rochester||1855||Fillmore County, Wabasha County, Rice County||David Olmsted, first mayor of Saint Paul and member of territorial legislature (1849-1850)||144,248||653.01 sq mi|
|Otter Tail County||111||Fergus Falls||1858||Pembina County, Cass County||Otter Tail Lake, a lake located within the county||57,303||1,979.71 sq mi|
|Pennington County||113||Thief River Falls||1910||Red Lake County||Edmund Pennington (b. 1848), executive of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad||13,930||616.54 sq mi|
|Pine County||115||Pine City||1856||Chisago County, Ramsey County||Giant forests of Eastern White Pine and Red Pine that flourish in the county||29,750||1,411.04 sq mi|
|Pipestone County||117||Pipestone||1857||Brown County||Name of a sacred Dakota quarry of red pipestone found in the county||9,596||465.89 sq mi|
|Polk County||119||Crookston||1858||Pembina County||James K. Polk (1795-1849), eleventh president of the United States (1845-1849)||31,600||1,970.37 sq mi|
|Pope County||121||Glenwood||1862||Pierce County, Cass County, Unorganized Territory||John Pope (1822–1892), United States Army general during the Dakota War of 1862||10,995||670.14 sq mi|
|Ramsey County||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)||508,640||155.78 sq mi|
|Red Lake County||125||Red Lake Falls||1896||Polk County||Red Lake River, a river that flows through Minnesota.||4,089||432.43 sq mi|
|Redwood County||127||Redwood Falls||1862||Brown County||Redwood River, a river that flows through Minnesota.||16,059||879.73 sq mi|
|Renville County||129||Olivia||1855||Nicollet County, Pierce County, Sibley County||Joseph Renville (1779-1846), interpreter for early explorations of the Louisiana Purchase||15,730||982.92 sq mi|
|Rice County||131||Faribault||1853||Dakota County, Wabasha County||Henry Mower Rice (1816-1894), former United States Senator from Minnesota (1858-1863)||64,142||497.57 sq mi|
|Rock County||133||Luverne||1857||Brown County||Large rocky plateau located within the county, known as "the mound."||9,687||482.61 sq mi|
|Roseau County||135||Roseau||1894||Kittson County, Beltrami County||Roseau River and Roseau Lake, both of which are located nearby||15,629||1,662.51 sq mi|
|Saint Louis County||137||Duluth||1855||Itasca County, Newton||Saint Louis River, a river that flows through Minnesota||200,226||6,225.16 sq mi|
|Scott County||139||Shakopee||1853||Dakota County||Winfield Scott (1786–1866), United States Army general who served from (1808–1861)||129,928||356.68 sq mi|
|Sherburne County||141||Elk River||1856||Benton County||Moses Sherburne (1813–1873), Associate Justice of the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court (1853-1857)||88,499||436.30 sq mi|
|Sibley County||143||Gaylord||1853||Dakota County||Henry Hastings Sibley (1811-1891), first governor of Minnesota (1858-1860)||15,226||588.65 sq mi|
|Stearns County||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)||150,642||1,344.52 sq mi|
|Steele County||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||36,576||429.55 sq mi|
|Stevens County||149||Morris||1862||Pierce County, Unorganized Territory||Isaac Ingalls Stevens (1818-1862), first governor of Washington Territory (1853-1857)||9,726||562.06 sq mi|
|Swift County||151||Benson||1870||Chippewa County||Henry Adoniram Swift (1823-1869), third governor of Minnesota (1863-1864)||9,783||743.53 sq mi|
|Todd County||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)||24,895||942.02 sq mi|
|Traverse County||155||Wheaton||1862||Pierce County, Unorganized Territory||Lake Traverse, a lake located in the county.||3,558||574.09 sq mi|
|Wabasha County||157||Wabasha||1849||One of nine original counties.||Named after M'dewakanton Dakota Indian Chief Wabasha III||21,676||525.01 sq mi|
|Wadena County||159||Wadena||1858||Cass County, Todd County||Wadena Trading Post, in turn for a Ojibway word meaning "a little round hill".||13,843||535.02 sq mi|
|Waseca County||161||Waseca||1857||Steele County||Dakota word meaning "rich and fertile"||19,136||423.25 sq mi|
|Washington County||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)||238,136||391.70 sq mi|
|Watonwan County||165||St. James||1860||Brown County||Watonwan River, a river that flows through Minnesota.||11,211||434.51 sq mi|
|Wilkin County||167||Breckenridge||1858||Cass County, Pembina County||Alexander Wilkin (1820-1864), Minnesota politician and soldier killed in the Civil War||6,576||751.43 sq mi|
|Winona County||169||Winona||1854||Fillmore County, Wabasha County||Named after Wee-No-Nah, Sister or Cousin of Chief Wabasha III||51,461||626.30 sq mi|
|Wright County||171||Buffalo||1855||Cass County, Sibley County||Silas Wright (1795-1847), former United States Senator from New York (1833-1844)||124,700||660.75 sq mi|
|Yellow Medicine County||173||Granite Falls||1871||Redwood County||Yellow Medicine River, a river that flows through Minnesota.||10,438||757.96 sq mi|
- 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.
- List of Minnesota county name etymologies
- List of Minnesota county seats
- "Minnesota Place Names". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
- "Minnesota County History". Association of Minnesota Counties. Archived from the original on 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2007-09-02.
- "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- National Association of Counties. "NACo - Find a county". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- Upham, Warren (1969). Minnesota Geographic Names. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society.
- "County Name Origins". Association of Minnesota Counties. Archived from the original on 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- "Origin of Minnesota County Name". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- "Minnesota QuickFacts". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2012. (2010 Census)
- "Dodge County History" (PDF). Dodge County website. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- "The History of Goodhue County". Goodhue County, Minnesota website. Archived from the original on 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- MCHS - William Morrison - Fur Trader Archived 2008-07-23 at the Wayback Machine