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St. Louis County, Minnesota

Saint Louis County, Minnesota
Saint Louis County Courthouse
Map of Minnesota highlighting Saint Louis County
Location in the state of Minnesota
Map of the United States highlighting Minnesota
Minnesota's location in the U.S.
Founded February 20, 1855[1]
Named for Saint Louis River[2]
Seat Duluth
Largest city Duluth
 • Total 6,860 sq mi (17,767 km2)
 • Land 6,247 sq mi (16,180 km2)
 • Water 612 sq mi (1,585 km2), 8.9%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 200,949
 • Density 32/sq mi (12/km²)
Congressional district 8th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website .gov.stlouiscountymnwww

Saint Louis County (abbreviated St. Louis County) is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 200,226.[3] Its county seat is Duluth. It is the largest county by total area in Minnesota, and the second largest in the United States east of the Mississippi River by land area, after Aroostook County, Maine.[4]

Saint Louis County is included in the Duluth, MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Major industries include pulpwood production and tourism. Surface mining of high-grade iron-ore remains an important part of the economy of the Iron Range. Parts of the Bois Forte and Fond du Lac Indian reservations are in the county.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Major highways 2.1
    • Adjacent counties 2.2
    • National protected areas 2.3
  • Demographics 3
  • Government 4
  • Politics 5
    • Presidential elections 5.1
    • Congress 5.2
  • Communities 6
    • Cities 6.1
    • Townships 6.2
    • Unorganized territories 6.3
    • Census-designated places 6.4
    • Unincorporated communities 6.5
    • Former Census-designated place 6.6
    • Ghost towns 6.7
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Saint Louis County was founded on February 20, 1855, as Doty County, and had its name changed to Newton County on March 3, 1855. It originally consisted of the area east and south of the Saint Louis River, while the area east of the Vermilion River and north of the Saint Louis River was part of Superior County. Superior County was renamed Saint Louis County. Then on March 1, 1856, that Saint Louis County became Lake County, and Newton County was renamed Saint Louis County and had that eastern area added to it; it was also expanded westward by incorporating parts of Itasca County, which then also included most of Carlton County. On May 23, 1857, Saint Louis County took its current shape when Carlton County was formed from parts of Saint Louis and Pine counties.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,860 square miles (17,800 km2), of which 6,247 square miles (16,180 km2) is land and 612 square miles (1,590 km2) (8.9%) is water.[5] By area, it is the largest county in Minnesota and the second largest in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River.

Saint Louis County is known for its spectacular natural beauty. Voyageurs National Park, established in 1975, is located in its northwestern corner, on the south shore of Rainy Lake, on the Ontario, Canada border, and is popular with canoeists, kayakers, other boaters and fishermen. The county also includes parts of Superior National Forest, established in 1909, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness within it on the U.S.-Canadian border, established in 1978. The BWCAW is a 1,090,000-acre (4,400 km2) wilderness area designated for fishing, camping, hiking, and canoeing and is one of the most visited wilderness areas in the United States. Saint Louis County has over 500 lakes, including Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake, Namakan Lake, Sand Point Lake, and Crane Lake. The largest lakes are Pelican and Vermilion.[6]

The "Hill of Three Waters" on the Laurentian Divide lies just north of Virginia. Rain falling on this hill runs to three watersheds: Hudson Bay to the north, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the east (via Lake Superior), or the Gulf of Mexico to the south and west (via the Mississippi River).[7] The county is drained by the Saint Louis, Vermilion, and other rivers.[6]

Saint Louis County has one of the most important fresh-water ports in the United States, located in Duluth on Lake Superior.

The county encompasses part of the Iron Range, which has a significant taconite mining industry, particularly in the city of Virginia.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Age pyramid of county residents based on 2000 U.S. census data

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 200,226 people residing in the county. 93.0% were White, 2.2% Native American, 1.4% Black or African American, 0.9% Asian, 0.2% of some other race and 2.3% of two or more races. 1.2% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 18.4% were of German, 11.2% Norwegian, 10.6% Finnish, 9.0% Swedish and 6.1% Irish ancestry.[13]

As of the census of 2000, there were 200,528 people, 82,619 households, and 51,389 families residing in the county. The population density was 32 people per square mile (12/km²). There were 95,800 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.86% White, 0.85% Black or African American, 2.03% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 1.35% from two or more races. 0.80% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.0% were of German, 13.7% Norwegian, 12.1% Finnish, 9.7% Swedish, 6.0% Irish, and 5.3% Italian ancestry.

27.60% of households included children under the age of 18, 49.30% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.80% were non-families. 31.20% of all households consisted of individuals and 13.00% of individuals 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.90.

The population spread by age was 22.40% under the age of 18, 11.40% from 18 to 24, 25.90% from 25 to 44, 24.30% from 45 to 64, and 16.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,306, and the median income for a family was $47,134. Males had a median income of $37,934 versus $24,235 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,982. About 7.20% of families and 12.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.10% of those under age 18 and 8.90% of those age 65 or over.


Like all counties in Minnesota, Saint Louis County is governed by an elected and nonpartisan board of commissioners. In Minnesota, county commissions usually have five members, but Saint Louis, Hennepin, and Ramsey counties have seven members. Each commissioner represents a district of equal population.

The county commission elects a chair who presides at meetings.

Commissioners as of January 2015:

District Commissioner In office since Current term expires
1st Frank Jewell 2011 January 7, 2019
2nd Patrick Boyle 2014 January 3, 2017
3rd Chris Dahlberg 2009 January 3, 2017
4th Tom Rukavina 2015 January 7, 2019
5th Pete Stauber (chair) 2013 January 3, 2017
6th Keith Nelson 2003 January 7, 2019
7th Steve Raukar 1989 January 7, 2019


Election results from statewide races[14]
Year Office GOP DEM Others
2010 Governor 28.6% 61.8% 8.3%
2008 President 32.6% 65.1% 2.3%
Senator 32.4% 54.6% 13.0%
2006 Governor 29.3% 64.6% 6.1%
Senator 25.9% 70.9% 3.2%
2004 President 33.6% 65.2% 1.2%
2002 Governor 26.5% 59.9% 13.6%
Senator 31.6% 65.4% 3.0%
2000 President 33.0% 59.8% 7.2%
Senator 31.7% 63.3% 5.0%
1998 Governor 28.1% 47.3% 24.6%
1996 President 25.5% 60.6% 13.9%
Senator 28.5% 64.7% 6.8%
1994 Governor 44.6% 53.0% 2.4%
Senator 35.9% 56.9% 7.2%
1992 President 22.6% 56.8% 20.6%

In 2007, Saint Louis County considered doing a study about dividing the county into two counties. This plan was abandoned.[15]

This county is by far the most reliable

  • Saint Louis County Government site – Link
  • siteDuluth News Tribune
  • Mn/DOT maps of Saint Louis County (Southwest portion, West–Central portion, Southeast portion, East–Central portion, Northern part of West–Central portion, Northwest portion, Northeast portion)

External links

  1. ^ "Minnesota Place Names". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ 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. 164. 
  3. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ Duluth News Tribune September 22, 2004, p. 2B. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Arostook County has a smaller overall area but a greater land area.
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b  "Saint Louis. I. A N. E. county of Minnesota".  
  7. ^ "7 km NE of Hibbing, Minnesota, United States 7/1/1983". Microsoft Research Terraserver. USGS. Retrieved 17 June 2011. See USGS map sheet "Hibbing Quadrangle", Minnesota-St. Louis county, 7.5 minute series, a marker is located at point labeled "three way watershed marker", a point on the hill about 375 meters south of the truck shop on the property of Hibbing Taconite Iron ore mining company. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder"
  14. ^ Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  15. ^ St. Louis County considers a split | Minnesota Public Radio News. (2007-07-30). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  16. ^ Geographie Electorale
  17. ^ The New York Times electoral map (Zoom in on Minnesota)
  18. ^ Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved on 2013-08-05.


See also

Ghost towns

Former Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Census-designated places

Unorganized territories




Saint Louis County is in Minnesota's 8th congressional district. For many years it was represented by Jim Oberstar, but in 2010 he was defeated after 36 years by Republican Chip Cravaack. Two years later Cravaack was defeated by Rick Nolan, who is the current Representative of the 8th district.


Presidential Election Results 1996-2012
Year Democratic Republican
2012 63.48% 73,378 33.85% 39,131
2008 65.10% 77,351 32.61% 38,742
2004 65.20% 77,958 33.55% 40,112
2000 59.78% 64,237 32.96% 35,420
1996 60.60% 60,736 25.50% 25,553

Democrats have swept this county in the last 20 consecutive presidential elections. The last Republican to carry the county was Herbert Hoover in 1928.[16] In the last ten Presidential elections the Republican candidate has never received more than 34% of the county's vote; the last time a Republican candidate carried more than 34% of the vote was in the 1972 election when Richard Nixon lost the county 58.7% to 39.8%.[17][18]

Presidential elections
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