Ramsey County, Minnesota

Ramsey County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 508,640,[2] making it the second-most populous county in Minnesota. Its county seat and largest city is St. Paul,[3] the state capital. The county was founded in 1849 and is named for Alexander Ramsey (W), the first governor of the Minnesota Territory.[4]

Ramsey County
Location within the U.S. state of Minnesota

Minnesota's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 45°01′N 93°06′W
Country United States
State Minnesota
FoundedOctober 27, 1849[1]
Named forAlexander Ramsey
SeatSaint Paul
Largest citySaint Paul
  Total170 sq mi (400 km2)
  Land152 sq mi (390 km2)
  Water18 sq mi (50 km2)  11%%
  Density3,342/sq mi (1,290/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
  Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districts4th, 5th

Ramsey County is included in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is the smallest and most densely populated county in Minnesota, as well as one of the most densely populated counties in the United States.[5]


With the establishment of the Minnesota Territory in 1849, many new settlers were attracted to Ramsey County and established farms in the northern part of the county. One of these early settlers was Heman Gibbs, whose farm is now operated as the Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life in Falcon Heights. This area remained largely farmland until small villages began to appear in the late 19th century with the incorporation of North St. Paul in 1887, New Brighton in 1891, and White Bear Lake in 1921.[7]

Government and politics

County Sheriff

The Ramsey County Sheriff is the top law enforcement official in Ramsey County. The Ramsey County Sheriff is elected for a four-year term via an election running concurrent with the federal mid-term elections.

The current sheriff is Bob Fletcher, who won the general election for Ramsey County Sheriff on November 6, 2018.

Providing safety in Ramsey County is a collaborative effort across multiple agencies. The Ramsey County Sheriff's office provides a number of unique services across the county as mandated by law. This includes detention for court and other court services. This also includes safety, rescue and law enforcement on the waterways.

Proactively, the Sheriff's office provides multiple safety classes and coordinates community volunteer efforts.

The sheriff's office provides patrol and investigation for communities without local police forces and is available as backup for all communities. An emergency 911 call will send the appropriate agency according to the caller's location and law enforcement availability.

CommunityLaw EnforcementFire ProtectionAmbulance
Arden HillsRamsey County SheriffLake Johanna FireAllina Medical Transport
Falcon HeightsRamsey County SheriffFalcon Heights FireSaint Paul Fire
Gem LakeWhite Bear Lake PoliceWhite Bear Lake FireWhite Bear Lake Fire
LauderdaleSaint Anthony PoliceFalcon Heights FireSaint Paul Fire
Little CanadaRamsey County SheriffLittle Canada Fire & RescueAllina Medical Transport
MaplewoodMaplewood PoliceMaplewood FireMaplewood Fire
Minnesota State FairgroundsMinnesota State Fair PoliceSaint Paul FireSaint Paul Fire
Mounds ViewMounds View PoliceSBM FireAllina Medical Transport
New BrightonNew Brighton Police DivisionNew Brighton Fire DivisionAllina Medical Transport
North OaksRamsey County SheriffLake Johanna FireAllina Medical Transport
North Saint PaulNorth Saint Paul PoliceNorth Saint Paul FireLakeview Emergency Medical
RosevilleRoseville PoliceRoseville FireAllina Medical Transport
Saint AnthonySaint Anthony PoliceSaint Anthony FireHennepin EMS
Saint PaulSaint Paul PoliceSaint Paul FireSaint Paul Fire
ShoreviewRamsey County SheriffLake Johanna FireAllina Medical Transport
University of Minnesota-St. PaulUniversity PoliceSaint Paul FireSaint Paul Fire
Vadnais HeightsRamsey County SheriffVadnais Heights FireAllina Medical Transport
White Bear LakeWhite Bear Lake PoliceWhite Bear Lake FireWhite Bear Lake Fire
White Bear TownshipRamsey County SheriffWhite Bear Lake FireWhite Bear Lake Fire

County Attorney

The Ramsey County Attorney prosecutes felony crimes that occur within the jurisdiction of Ramsey County. The current County Attorney is John Choi, who was elected in 2010.

County Commissioners

The county commission elects a chair who presides at meetings. Commissioners as of June 1, 2019:

District Commissioner In office since Current term expires on December 31 of
2ndMary Jo McGuire20132020
3rdTrista MatasCastillo20192022
4thToni Carter20052022
5thRafael Ortega19952022
6thJim McDonough (Chair)20002022
7thVictoria Reinhardt19972020
Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[8]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 26.0% 70,894 65.1% 177,738 9.0% 24,511
2012 31.1% 86,800 66.3% 184,938 2.5% 7,084
2008 32.1% 88,942 66.0% 182,974 2.0% 5,470
2004 35.6% 97,096 63.0% 171,846 1.3% 3,635
2000 35.9% 87,669 56.7% 138,470 7.4% 18,139
1996 29.3% 66,954 58.7% 133,878 12.0% 27,381
1992 27.1% 68,206 52.0% 130,932 21.0% 52,777
1988 37.8% 88,736 61.2% 143,767 1.0% 2,393
1984 40.0% 95,667 59.2% 141,623 0.9% 2,153
1980 33.9% 78,860 53.6% 124,774 12.5% 29,110
1976 37.9% 86,480 58.6% 133,682 3.5% 7,905
1972 45.6% 95,716 51.6% 108,392 2.8% 5,843
1968 32.8% 64,068 62.6% 122,568 4.6% 9,020
1964 29.7% 56,898 69.9% 133,948 0.4% 746
1960 41.5% 77,408 58.2% 108,464 0.4% 655
1956 47.7% 80,701 51.9% 87,784 0.3% 554
1952 44.4% 76,093 54.7% 93,783 0.9% 1,494
1948 34.2% 48,142 62.8% 88,528 3.0% 4,217
1944 39.7% 53,052 58.9% 78,759 1.5% 1,933
1940 41.3% 57,093 57.2% 78,990 1.5% 2,082
1936 23.4% 30,553 66.0% 86,286 10.6% 13,889
1932 35.7% 38,589 61.2% 66,128 3.0% 3,263
1928 47.8% 53,054 51.2% 56,807 1.0% 1,049
1924 47.7% 39,566 10.1% 8,407 42.2% 35,046
1920 58.6% 40,204 30.8% 21,110 10.6% 7,273
1916 35.1% 13,317 58.7% 22,291 6.2% 2,353
1912 12.7% 4,109 38.4% 12,431 48.9% 15,810[9]
1908 54.6% 16,556 38.3% 11,613 7.0% 2,131
1904 70.2% 18,269 22.5% 5,860 7.3% 1,889
1900 56.3% 15,384 40.0% 10,931 3.8% 1,030
1896 57.7% 17,522 39.7% 12,048 2.7% 817
1892 42.0% 11,307 47.6% 12,817 10.4% 2,802


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 170 square miles (440 km2), of which 152 square miles (390 km2) is land and 18 square miles (47 km2) (11%) is water.[10] It is the smallest county by area in Minnesota. It has been considered completely urbanized since the 1990 United States Census.[11]

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Ramsey County is served by several interstate highways, including Interstate 35 and Interstate 94. I-35 has two routes through Ramsey County. I-35E enters the county from Dakota County to the south and proceeds north through Saint Paul, where it intersects I-94, then continues north to Little Canada, where it runs east concurrently with I-694 for several miles before turning north through North Oaks to Washington County. I-35W crosses from Minneapolis to the west through Saint Anthony before turning north through New Brighton, where it intersects I-694, and then to Anoka County where it goes on to rejoin I-35E in Washington County.[12]

Near the western edge of the county, I-94 enters from Minneapolis where it runs almost parallel to University Avenue until it meets I-35E in Saint Paul and continues east to Washington County. I-494 passes through the southeast corner of the county between Dakota and Washington Counties. From Anoka County in the west, I-694 takes a path through New Brighton, where it meets I-35W, to the junction with I-35E in Little Canada and finally to Washington County in the east.[12]

Ramsey County is also accessible by several U.S. Highways, in particular US 10, US 52, and US 61. US 10 enters from Washington County in the south and continues north to meet I-94 just east of Saint Paul where it turns west to run concurrently with I-94, I-35E, I-694, and finally I-35W before continuing northwest to Anoka County. US 52 runs from South Saint Paul in Dakota County north to downtown Saint Paul where it meets I-94 and turns west to run concurrently with it all the way to the North Dakota border. From the south, US 61 runs concurrently with US 10 and then I-94 until it continues northeast on surface streets through the East Side of Saint Paul. From Saint Paul, US 61 continues north through Maplewood and White Bear Lake before crossing the border into Washington County.[12]

In addition to these federal highways, Ramsey County is served by a number of Minnesota State Highways, including MN 36 and MN 51 which are divided highways for much of their length.[12]

The county also has jurisdiction over 264.108 miles of County State Aid Highways as well as 21,031 miles of county roads and 59 bridges that are maintained and monitored by the Public Works Department of Ramsey County.[13]

Major highways


Ramsey County is a major freight hub along BNSF's Northern Transcon route, as well as being served by Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific.[14]

Amtrak offers daily intercity passenger rail service on the Empire Builder from Union Depot in Saint Paul.[15] Light rail service is provided by Metro, a light rail and bus rapid transit system operated by Metro Transit that connects several communities in Ramsey and Hennepin Counties.[16]


The primary airport serving Ramsey County is Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport located in neighboring Hennepin County. The only airport located in Ramsey County is Saint Paul Downtown Airport, a smaller commercial airport with three runways primarily used for general aviation and military operations.[17]


Historical population
Est. 2018550,210[18]8.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]
1790-1960[20] 1900-1990[21]
1990-2000[22] 2010-2018[2]


As of the 2010 Census, there were 508,640 people, 202,691 households, and 117,799 families residing in the county. The racial makeup of the county was 70.1% White, 11.0% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 11.7% Asian, 2.9% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. 7.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

According to the 2010–2015 American Community Survey, the largest ancestry groups were was German (26.0%), Irish (11.5%), Norwegian (9.9%), and Swedish (7.4%).[23]


At the 2000 Census, there were 511,035 people, 201,236 households, and 119,936 families residing in the county. The population density was 3,281 people per square mile (1,267/km²). There were 206,448 housing units at an average density of 1,325 per square mile (512/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.37% White, 7.61% Black or African American, 0.83% Native American, 8.77% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.45% from other races, and 2.90% from two or more races. 5.28% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 201,236 households out of which 29.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.00% were married couples living together, 11.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.40% were non-families. 32.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.60% under the age of 18, 11.30% from 18 to 24, 30.70% from 25 to 44, 20.70% from 45 to 64, and 11.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,722, and the median income for a family was $57,747. (These figures had risen to $53,141 and $71,485, respectively, as of 2008.) Males had a median income of $39,806 versus $30,814 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,536. About 7.40% of families and 10.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.70% of those under age 18 and 6.80% of those age 65 or over.




Unincorporated communities


Ramsey County records are available for research use. They include school records, district and municipal court files, Board of Commissioners records, County Auditor records, Court of Common Pleas, probate court records, Saint Paul City Council records, and agency histories.

See also


  1. "Minnesota Place Names". Minnesota Historical Society. Archived from the original on June 20, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  2. "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. Chicago and North Western Railway Company (1908). A History of the Origin of the Place Names Connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railways. p. 163.
  5. "Ramsey County". Metro MSP. Minneapolis Regional Chamber Development Foundation. 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  6. Nelson, Steven (2011). Savanna Soils of Minnesota. Minnesota: Self. pp. 61 - 64. ISBN 978-0-615-50320-2.
  7. Virginia Brainard Kunz. "A Brief History of Ramsey County". Ramsey County Historical Society. Archived from the original on December 30, 2017. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  8. Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  9. The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 12,426 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 2,942 votes, Prohibition candidate Eugene Chafin received 275 votes, and Socialist Labor candidate Arthur Reimer received 167 votes.
  10. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  11. "Ramsey County Public Works: A System of Thoroughfares, Highways, Streets and Other Public Ways". Ramsey County. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  12. "Ramsey County Highway Map" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-30. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  13. "Ramsey County Public Works Department 2017 - 2021 Transportation Improvement Plan" (PDF). Ramsey County Public Works Department. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-30. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  14. "Twin Cities Area Freight Railroad Map" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. September 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  15. "Empire Builder". Amtrak. Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  16. "Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Transit System Map". Metro Transit. Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  17. FAA Airport Master Record for STP (Form 5010 PDF), effective Dec 7, 2017.
  18. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  19. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  20. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  21. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  22. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  23. "2015 American Community Survey".

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