Minnesota is called the land of 10,000 lakes and gets its name from the Dakota word “minisota,” meaning “water that reflects the sky.” Minnesota covers 79,610 square miles, with a 2014 estimated population of 5,457,173 people - 1,237,792 living in rural Minnesota (USDA-ERS). Saint Paul, the state capital, is located in the southern region of the state. The largest cities are Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Bloomington, Duluth and Rochester. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 85.7% of the state’s population is white, 5.9% is Black/African-American, 1.3% is American Indian, 4.7% is Asian, and 5.1% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (U.S. Census, 2014).

Minnesota Rural Healthcare Facilities

Minnesota Rural Healthcare Facilities map

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There are 131 hospitals in Minnesota (Kaiser, 2014), 84 of which are located in rural areas (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, Dec. 2008). The state has 79 hospitals identified as Critical Access Hospitals (Flex Team, 12/2015). There are also 88 Rural Health Clinics in Minnesota (CMS, 2015), and 17 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 74 sites in the state (MNACHC, 2012).

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural Minnesota

Most Minnesotans have some form of health insurance coverage, although 7% of its residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2014). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Minnesotans in 2014 was $48,998, although rural per-capita income lagged at $41,341. The ERS reports, based on 2010-2014 ACS data, that the poverty rate in rural Minnesota is 12.6%, compared with 11.2% in urban areas of the state. 9.9% of the rural population has not completed high school, while 7.0% of the urban population lacks a high school diploma according to 2010-2014 ACS data reported by ERS. The unemployment rate in rural Minnesota is at 4.7% while in urban Minnesota it is at 3.9% (USDA-ERS, 2014).

For a national comparison, please see an overview of the United States.

Data Sources
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Rural Health Clinic List; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; Minnesota Association for Community Health Centers; U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets


Minnesota Department of Health - Office of Rural Health and Primary Care
Phone: 651.201.3838
Email: health.orhpc@state.mn.us
Provides technical assistance for clinics and hospitals, works to recruit and retain health professionals, and promotes access to quality health care for rural and underserved urban Minnesotans.
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