Duluth /dəˈluːθ/ (listen) is a major port city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and the county seat of Saint Louis County. Duluth has a population of 85,884 and is the 4th largest city in Minnesota. It is the 2nd largest city on Lake Superior, after Thunder Bay, Ontario. It has the largest metropolitan area on the lake, with a population of 279,771 in 2010, the second-largest in the state.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 87.43 square miles (226.44 km); 67.79 square miles (175.58 km) is land and 19.64 square miles (50.87 km) is water. It is Minnesota’s second-largest city by land area, surpassed only by Hibbing. Of its 87.3 square miles (226 km), 68 square miles (180 km), or 77.89%, is land and 19.3 square miles (50 km), or 22.11%, is water. Duluth’s canal connects Lake Superior to the Duluth–Superior harbor and the Saint Louis River. It is spanned by the Aerial Lift Bridge, which connects Canal Park with Minnesota Point (“Park Point”). Minnesota Point is about 7 miles long, and when included with adjacent Wisconsin Point, which extends 3 miles from the city of Superior, Wisconsin, is the largest freshwater baymouth bar in the world at a total of 10 miles.
Duluth’s topography is dominated by a steep hillside that climbs from Lake Superior to high inland elevations. Duluth has been called “the San Francisco of the Midwest,” alluding to San Francisco’s similar water-to-hilltop topography. This similarity was most evident before World War II, when Duluth had a network of streetcars and an inclined railroad, the 7th Avenue West Incline Railway, that, like San Francisco’s cable cars, climbed a steep hill. The change in elevation is illustrated by Duluth’s two airports. The weather station at Sky Harbor Airport on Park Point has an elevation of 607 feet (185 m), while Duluth International Airport, atop the hill, is 820 feet higher at 1,427 feet (435 m).
Even as the city has grown, its populace has tended to hug Lake Superior’s shoreline, so Duluth is primarily a southwest–northeast city. The considerable development on the hill has given Duluth many steep streets. Some neighborhoods, such as Piedmont Heights and Bayview Heights, are atop the hill with scenic views of the city. Skyline Parkway is a scenic roadway that extends from Becks Road above the Gary – New Duluth neighborhood near the western end of the city to the Lester Park neighborhood on the east side. It crosses nearly Duluth’s entire length and affords views of Lake Superior, the Aerial Lift Bridge, Canal Park, and the many industries that inhabit the largest inland port.
A rapidly developing part of the city is Miller Hill Mall and the adjacent big-box retailer shopping strip “over the hill” along the Miller Trunk Highway corridor. The 2009–10 road reconstruction project in Duluth’s Miller Hill area improved movement through the U.S. Highway 53 corridor from Trinity Road to Maple Grove Road. The highway project reconstructed connector roads, intersections, and adjacent roadways. A new international airport terminal was completed in 2013 as part of the federal government’s Stimulus Reconstruction Program.
As of the 2010 census, there were 86,265 people, 35,705 households, and 18,680 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,272.5 inhabitants per square mile (491.3/km). There were 38,208 housing units at an average density of 563.6 per square mile (217.6/km). The racial makeup of the city was 90.4% White, 2.3% African American, 2.5% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.
There were 35,705 households of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 47.7% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84.
The median age in the city was 33.6 years. 18.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 19.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.4% were from 25 to 44; 24.8% were from 45 to 64; and 13.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.
As of the 2000 census, there were 35,500 households and 19,918 families in the city. The population density was 1,278.1/sq mi (493.5/km). There were 36,994 housing units at an average density of 544.0/sq mi (210.0/km). The racial makeup of the city was 92.7% White, 1.6% Black or African American, 2.4% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. 1.1% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Among Duluth’s households, 26.6% had children under 18, 41.4% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.9% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were one-person households, and 13.3% had someone 65 or older living alone. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 21.3% under the age of 18, 16.2% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over there were 89.7 males.
Duluth’s median household income was $33,766; median family income was $46,394. Males had a median income of $35,182, females $24,965. The per capita income was $18,969. About 8.6% of families and 15.5% of all residents were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under 18 and 9.5% of those 65 or over.