is the most populous county
in the U.S. state
. The county is bordered by the Mississippi River
on the east and north and the Minnesota River
on the south. Hennepin County is at the center of seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul
, the sixteenth largest metropolitan area
in the United States with about 3.2 million residents. The U.S. Census Bureau
estimated the population of Hennepin County at 1,122,093 in 2006. The county seat
, the largest city in the state. The center of population
of Minnesota is located in the city of Rogers
The county is named in honor of the 17th-century French explorer Father Louis Hennepin. A Franciscan missionary, explorer, and author, his early published account of Saint Anthony Falls and the subsequent milling enterprise put Hennepin County ahead of nearby Ramsey County and Saint Paul, the state's capital.
Hennepin County was created in 1852 by the Minnesota Territorial Legislature. Father Louis Hennepin
's name was chosen as he originally named Saint Anthony Falls
and recorded some of the earliest accounts of the area for the Western world. Hennepin County's early history is closely linked to the establishment of the cities of Minneapolis and St. Anthony.
Law and government
Like all counties in Minnesota, Hennepin is governed by an elected and nonpartisan board of commissioners
. In Minnesota, county commissions usually have five members, but Hennepin, Ramsey
, and St Louis
counties have seven members. Each commissioner represents a district of equal population. In Hennepin the county commission appoints the medical examiner
, county auditor
and county recorder
. The sheriff
and county attorney are also elected on a nonpartisan ticket. The county government's headquarters are in downtown Minneapolis
in the Hennepin County Government Center
. The county oversees the Hennepin County Library
system, which in 2008 merged with and incorporated the Minneapolis Public Library
The county commission elects a chair who presides at meetings.
Commissioners as of February 2008
Commissioners Steele and Koblick have announced that they are not seeking reelection in the November 2008 elections.
Hennepin County's normal operations are coordinated by the County Administrator Richard Johnson, Deputy Administrator David Hough, Assistant County Administrator for Human Services and Public Health Daniel E. Engstrom and Assistant County Administrator for Public Works Marthand Nookala.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total area of 606 square miles (1,571 km²), of which, 557 square miles (1,442 km²) of it is land and 50 square miles (129 km²) of it (8.21%) is water. The highest waterfall
on the Mississippi River
, the Saint Anthony Falls
, discovered by Louis Hennepin, is in Hennepin County next to downtown Minneapolis, but in the 19th century, the falls were converted to a series of dams
. Barges and boats now pass through locks
to move between the parts of the river above and below the dams.
Hennepin County has major economic centers in downtown Minneapolis and Bloomington.
Presidential Election Results 1960-2004
|| Republican |
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,116,200 people, 456,129 households, and 267,291 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,005 people per square mile (774/km²). There were 468,824 housing units at an average density of 842 per square mile (325/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.53% White, 8.95% Black or African American, 1.00% Native American, 4.80% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.06% from other races, and 2.60% from two or more races. 4.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.8% were of German, 12.0% Norwegian, 7.6% Irish and 7.2% Swedish ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 456,129 households out of which 28.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.30% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.40% were non-families. 31.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the county the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 33.70% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 11.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 97.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $51,711, and the median income for a family was $65,985. Males had a median income of $42,466 versus $32,400 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,789. About 5.00% of families and 8.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.50% of those under age 18 and 5.90% of those age 65 or over.
Hennepin County is the wealthiest county in the state of Minnesota and one of 100 Highest-income counties in the United States.
Cities and towns
† While mostly in Hennepin County, the city extends beyond the county border.
‡ Located in another county, but a part of the city extends into Hennepin County.
Colleges and universities
In 2008, the Minneapolis Public Library
system was merged into the Hennepin County Library
In May 2005
, Hennepin County enacted a county-wide indoor smoking
ban. Bar business depressed over the short run, as smokers went into neighboring counties to light up, but has since returned closer to normal, especially in the downtown Minneapolis
clubs that are among the most popular live music
venues in the state. In December
, to great controversy, county officials responded to lobbying efforts from bar owners and returned smoking to bars located outside of Minneapolis, Bloomington and Golden Valley, which have their own municipal smoking bans. In 2007 those community smoking bans became moot when Minnesota enacted its own state wide smoking ban.
In August 2006, the Board voted 4-3 to levy a 0.15% sales tax
within the county to fund the majority of the cost for a baseball
stadium for the Minnesota Twins
. Legislation passed by the Minnesota Legislature
in the waning hours of the 2005-2006 session, and signed by Governor Tim Pawlenty
, authorized the county to levy the tax without a voter referendum. It also created the Minnesota Ballpark Authority
which will construct and manage the stadium on behalf of the county. The tax will be in effect for 30 years, with clauses allowing it to be increased by the board of commissioners.