Bemidji (/bəˈmɪdʒiː/ bə-MIJ-ee) is a city in (and county seat of) Beltrami County, in north west Minnesota, United States. According to the 2012–2016 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, the United States Census Bureau estimates the total population of Bemidji as of 2018 to be 15,404, making it the largest commercial center between Grand Forks, North Dakota and Duluth, Minnesota. Bemidji houses many Native American services, including the Indian Health Service. The city is the central hub of the Red Lake Indian Reservation, White Earth Indian Reservation and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. Bemidji lies on the south west shore of Lake Bemidji, the northernmost lake feeding the Mississippi River and as such is deemed “The First City On The Mississippi.” Bemidji is also the self-proclaimed “curling capital” of the U.S. and alleged birthplace of Paul Bunyan.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.14 square miles (36.62 km), of which 12.92 square miles (33.46 km) is land and 1.22 square miles (3.16 km) is water.
Four-lane U.S. Route 2, U.S. Route 71, and Minnesota State Highway 197 are three of the main routes in the city. Minnesota State Highways 89 and 371 are nearby.
The largest earthquake on record for the Bemidji area was recorded on September 3, 1917. It is claimed that it shook houses down in Bemidji and across northern Minnesota. The epicenter was about 95 miles (153 km) away in Staples, Minnesota, and affected an area of 48,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi) with a magnitude 4.4 with a maximum intensity of VI to VII. The closest and most recent quake occurred in Walker, Minnesota, on September 27, 1982, with a magnitude of 2.0.
As of the census of 2010, there were 13,431 people, 5,339 households, and 2,557 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,039.6 inhabitants per square mile (401.4/km). There were 5,748 housing units at an average density of 444.9 per square mile (171.8/km). The racial makeup of the city was 81.3% White, 1.2% African American, 11.3% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.
There were 5,339 households of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.7% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 52.1% were non-families. 38.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.83.
The median age in the city was 27.1 years. 19.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 26.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.6% were from 25 to 44; 17.5% were from 45 to 64; and 14.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,917 people, 4,669 households, and 2,427 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,011.8 people per square mile (390.6/km²). There were 4,948 housing units at an average density of 420.1 per square mile (162.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.31% White American, 0.76% African American, 11.52% Native American, 1.12% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.
There were 4,669 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.0% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.0% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 24.9% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 15.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,072, and the median income for a family was $37,250. Males had a median income of $28,312 versus $20,694 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,264. About 13.2% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.7% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.
Bemidji Minnesota neighborhoods include: Bemidji North, Birchmont Drive, Crown Property, Deerfield Estates, Deerpath, Greater Cameron Park, HW 71 and HW 2, Lake Ave NE, Lavinia, Long Lake, Movil Lakers, Puposky, Riverview, South on 71, Southwest Bemidji, Whispering Meadows, Wolf Lake