The 10 Best Counties To Live In Minnesota For 2021


Using science and data, we can tell you which counties in Minnesota have the most for people looking to make the move to Minnesota.

HomeSnacks is reader-supported. When you click through real estate links on our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is Minnesota a good place?

The answer is unequivocally yes… if you know where to locate the best places to live in Minnesota.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help you identify the best counties to live in the North Star State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn’t our first rodeo — we’ve been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.

So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best part of Minnesota, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 87 counties in the state.

After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in North Star State for 2021.

Carver County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in Minnesota. And you might want to avoid Mahnomen County if you can — at least according to the data.

So if you’re thinking of making the move Minnesota, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in Minnesota and the cheapest places to live in Minnesota.

The Best Counties To Live In Minnesota For 2021

1. Carver County

Carver, MN

Biggest Place: Chaska

Population: 101,949
Median Income: $101,496 (2nd best)
Median Home Price: $313,200.0 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (9th best)
More on Carver County: PhotosData

2. Sherburne County

Big Lake, MN

Biggest Place: St. Cloud

Population: 94,463
Median Income: $89,250 (4th best)
Median Home Price: $230,500.0 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (28th best)
More on Sherburne County: PhotosData

3. Washington County

Afton, MN

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Woodbury

Population: 255,938
Median Income: $96,671 (3rd best)
Median Home Price: $289,400.0 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (16th best)
More on Washington County: PhotosData

4. Wright County

Albertville, MN

Biggest Place: St. Michael

Population: 134,438
Median Income: $84,974 (6th best)
Median Home Price: $238,500.0 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (2best)
More on Wright County: PhotosData

5. Dodge County

Dodge Center, MN

Biggest Place: Kasson

Population: 20,669
Median Income: $74,575 (12th best)
Median Home Price: $183,900.0 (27th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (20th best)
More on Dodge County: PhotosData

6. Scott County

Jordan, MN

Biggest Place: Shakopee

Population: 145,275
Median Income: $102,152 (best)
Median Home Price: $299,700.0 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (37th best)
More on Scott County: PhotosData

7. Houston County

Caledonia, MN

Biggest Place: La Crescent

Population: 18,648
Median Income: $60,382 (35th best)
Median Home Price: $173,700.0 (33rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.7% (3rd best)
More on Houston County: PhotosData

8. Chisago County

Lindstrom, MN

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: North Branch

Population: 55,315
Median Income: $83,464 (7th best)
Median Home Price: $231,500.0 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (53rd best)
More on Chisago County: PhotosData

9. Brown County

New Ulm, MN

Biggest Place: New Ulm

Population: 25,163
Median Income: $61,120 (32nd best)
Median Home Price: $141,900.0 (57th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.6% (best)
More on Brown County: PhotosData

10. Lake County

Two Harbors, MN

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Two Harbors

Population: 10,560
Median Income: $61,452 (29th best)
Median Home Price: $174,700.0 (3best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (49th best)
More on Lake County: PhotosData

How do you determine which Minnesota county is the best?

To give you the best county in Minnesota, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what’s a “best county” and what isn’t. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you’d make at a bar using facts, don’t take this analysis to court.

With that in mind, we went to two of the best sources of data on the internet; the American Community Survey data and FBI Crime data for the most recent time period.

We paid particular attention to:

  • Violent Crime Rates
  • Property Crime Rates
  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Adult Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We then ranked each county in Minnesota across each of the criteria from one to 87, with one being the best.

Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the “Best County To Live In Minnesota”.

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the North Star State.

Read on to see why Carver County is the best county, while Mahnomen County is probably in contention for being the worst county in Minnesota.

There You Have It – The Best Counties In Minnesota To Call Home For 2018

It turns out living in Minnesota can vary from one part of the state to the next — who woulda thought?

But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that’s why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.

Here’s a look at the worst counties in Minnesota according to the data:

  1. Mahnomen County
  2. Wadena County
  3. Clearwater County

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Counties In Minnesota

County Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Carver County 1 101,949 $101,496 $313,200.0
Sherburne County 2 94,463 $89,250 $230,500.0
Washington County 3 255,938 $96,671 $289,400.0
Wright County 4 134,438 $84,974 $238,500.0
Dodge County 5 20,669 $74,575 $183,900.0
Scott County 6 145,275 $102,152 $299,700.0
Houston County 7 18,648 $60,382 $173,700.0
Chisago County 8 55,315 $83,464 $231,500.0
Brown County 9 25,163 $61,120 $141,900.0
Lake County 10 10,560 $61,452 $174,700.0
Douglas County 11 37,513 $63,819 $214,800.0
Olmsted County 12 154,809 $76,951 $214,600.0
Nicollet County 13 33,954 $67,399 $191,900.0
Le Sueur County 14 28,242 $71,080 $207,400.0
Pope County 15 11,048 $61,275 $174,300.0
Anoka County 16 350,253 $82,175 $232,400.0
Dakota County 17 421,453 $86,036 $266,000.0
Stevens County 18 9,789 $60,559 $160,100.0
Wilkin County 19 6,291 $60,595 $140,000.0
Pennington County 20 14,183 $60,122 $155,100.0
Meeker County 21 23,105 $63,452 $170,200.0
Steele County 22 36,683 $64,903 $169,300.0
Jackson County 23 9,954 $58,727 $124,900.0
Roseau County 24 15,361 $62,202 $132,800.0
Rock County 25 9,402 $63,005 $153,000.0
Murray County 26 8,296 $60,231 $120,100.0
Mcleod County 27 35,832 $62,121 $164,700.0
Clay County 28 63,446 $65,269 $197,100.0
Wabasha County 29 21,537 $65,226 $183,900.0
Isanti County 30 39,430 $74,616 $196,800.0
Kittson County 31 4,311 $59,643 $84,200.0
Goodhue County 32 46,246 $66,800 $204,100.0
Cook County 33 5,376 $57,432 $240,100.0
Yellow Medicine County 34 9,814 $59,210 $110,000.0
Lac Qui Parle County 35 6,719 $53,071 $88,600.0
Marshall County 36 9,372 $60,118 $117,000.0
Fillmore County 37 20,949 $61,207 $153,800.0
Rice County 38 66,185 $68,584 $208,600.0
Waseca County 39 18,740 $56,762 $158,900.0
Norman County 40 6,520 $55,085 $100,700.0
Big Stone County 41 4,996 $53,900 $97,900.0
Crow Wing County 42 64,217 $56,549 $198,300.0
Sibley County 43 14,892 $63,439 $159,200.0
Becker County 44 34,011 $60,284 $198,400.0
Otter Tail County 45 58,195 $58,682 $189,100.0
Hennepin County 46 1,245,837 $78,167 $276,900.0
Lake Of The Woods County 47 3,771 $49,967 $161,900.0
Red Lake County 48 4,015 $58,576 $116,000.0
Polk County 49 31,521 $59,343 $165,000.0
Benton County 50 40,129 $57,715 $174,900.0
Traverse County 51 3,311 $51,957 $81,400.0
St. Louis County 52 199,759 $55,646 $157,900.0
Faribault County 53 13,801 $53,156 $89,500.0
Winona County 54 50,725 $59,329 $167,300.0
Morrison County 55 33,064 $57,815 $170,100.0
Blue Earth County 56 66,795 $57,429 $184,800.0
Carlton County 57 35,633 $63,098 $171,400.0
Lyon County 58 25,758 $57,730 $148,900.0
Renville County 59 14,652 $59,028 $106,300.0
Aitkin County 60 15,834 $49,351 $183,200.0
Kandiyohi County 61 42,841 $60,294 $168,900.0
Itasca County 62 45,141 $55,139 $164,100.0
Kanabec County 63 16,089 $57,163 $163,900.0
Ramsey County 64 544,442 $64,660 $229,600.0
Hubbard County 65 21,019 $56,709 $193,600.0
Stearns County 66 158,452 $62,789 $184,900.0
Redwood County 67 15,261 $55,404 $106,300.0
Grant County 68 5,935 $55,466 $118,700.0
Chippewa County 69 11,953 $55,269 $119,700.0
Koochiching County 70 12,515 $50,870 $108,400.0
Swift County 71 9,359 $51,620 $104,100.0
Lincoln County 72 5,677 $53,077 $103,100.0
Cass County 73 29,268 $52,204 $194,200.0
Nobles County 74 21,734 $55,304 $127,100.0
Todd County 75 24,494 $53,585 $153,400.0
Watonwan County 76 10,972 $54,065 $96,900.0
Freeborn County 77 30,463 $53,631 $113,800.0
Martin County 78 19,852 $52,798 $118,300.0
Mower County 79 39,807 $54,295 $123,900.0
Cottonwood County 80 11,299 $52,087 $94,200.0
Pine County 81 29,223 $53,422 $164,500.0
Mille Lacs County 82 25,865 $56,135 $163,300.0
Pipestone County 83 9,191 $52,917 $97,500.0
Beltrami County 84 46,403 $49,160 $162,600.0
Clearwater County 85 8,821 $50,386 $137,200.0
Wadena County 86 13,654 $46,605 $132,000.0
Mahnomen County 87 5,501 $44,688 $104,800.0
Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best counties to live in Minnesota.

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.