Friday, January 4, 2013

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

A wise man once said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When it comes to the state of Minnesota (the whole), though, we’re not so sure about that—we think our cities (the parts) are pretty darn great. 

So in the spirit of celebrating both, here are some fun facts and bite-size knowledge about Minnesota and our cities from over the last 100 years. ...


Q: What was the League of Minnesota Cities originally called?
A: The League of Minnesota Municipalities. (Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?)

Q: What is the oldest city in Minnesota?
A:  It’s a tie! Stillwater and St. Paul were both the first cities to be incorporated in Minnesota Territory on March 4, 1854.

Q: What is the newest city in Minnesota?
A: Nowthen, incorporated in early 2008. Speaking of now and then...

Then & Now

How many cities were in Minnesota then? How many cities are in Minnesota now?
There were 635 cities in Minnesota in 1913, and there are 853 ci  ties in Minnesota today.

What was the most-populated city then, and what is it now?
Minneapolis had a population of 301,408 in 1910, and today the city still houses the most residents with a population of 387,873 (2011).

What was the least-populated city then, and what is the least-populated city now?
The smallest municipality in 1910 was Benton with just 42 citizens, and today Funkley is the tiniest with a population of five people (2011).

What was Minnesota’s population then? And what is Minnesota's population now?
Our state's population was 2,075,708 in 1910, and it has since more than doubled to 5,332,246 in 2011.

Did You Know…

We are a state of small cities! Seventy-four percent of Minnesota cities today have populations of 2,500 or less.


  1. I'm curious if the 1913 listed population of Minneapolis included any of the current suburbs such as Richfield or Bloomington. It just seems the population of Minneapolis would have grown by more than 87,000+ in 100 years, considering the increase in the population of the state.

  2. Hi there, and thanks for the question! We conferred with our research department to get your answer. Their statistics came from the state demographer's office, and are based on city boundaries, no suburbs included. All told, the growth from 1913 to 2011 in Minneapolis was 29 percent. From 1990-2011 growth was five percent. Research staff ventured that the city likely grew rapidly early on, but because the city’s growth was constrained by surrounding suburbs, further expansion was limited. Population can also be affected by people moving out, and any possible border changes.

  3. i saw somewhere else Minnesota had 861 cities. which one is it 861 or 853???

  4. Hi there, thanks for the question! The correct number is 853. However, in 2015, the cities of Carlton and Thompson will merge, bringing the number to 852. Carlton and Thompson are just one example of how this number can change over the years. Incorporations add to the count, and consolidations or dissolutions reduce the count.


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