Minneapolis (/ˌmɪniˈæpəlɪs/ (listen)) is the county seat of Hennepin County and the larger of the Twin Cities, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. As of 2018, Minneapolis is the largest city in the state of Minnesota and 46th-largest in the United States, with an estimated population of 425,403. The Twin Cities metropolitan area consists of Minneapolis, its neighbor Saint Paul and suburbs which altogether contain about 3.63 million people, and is the third-largest economic center in the Midwest.
As of the 2010 U.S. census, the racial composition was as follows:
European Americans make up about three-fifths of Minneapolis’s population. This community is predominantly of German and Scandinavian descent. There are 82,870 German Americans in the city, making up over one-fifth (23.1%) of the population. The Scandinavian-American population is primarily Norwegian and Swedish. There are 39,103 Norwegian Americans, making up 10.9% of the population; there are 30,349 Swedish Americans, making up 8.5% of the city’s population. Danish Americans are not nearly as numerous as there are 4,434 of them, making up only 1.3% of the population. Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish Americans together make up 20.7% of the population. This means that ethnic Germans and Scandinavians together make up 43.8% of Minneapolis’s population, and make up the majority of Minneapolis’s non-Hispanic white population. Other significant European groups in the city include those of Irish (11.3%), English (7.0%), Polish (3.9%), French (3.5%) and Italian (2.3%) descent. African Americans make up 18.6% of the city’s population, with a large fraction hailing from Rust Belt cities such as Chicago and Gary, Indiana over the past three decades.
There are 10,711 individuals who identify as multiracial in Minneapolis: People of black and white ancestry number at 3,551, and make up 1.0% of the population. People of white and Native American ancestry number at 2,319, and make up 0.6% of the population. Those of white and Asian ancestry number at 1,871, and make up 0.5% of the population. Lastly, people of black and Native American ancestry number at 885, and make up 0.2% of Minneapolis’s population.
As early as the 16th century, Dakota tribes, mostly the Mdewakanton, were known as permanent settlers near their sacred site of St. Anthony Falls. New settlers arrived during the 1850s and 1860s in Minneapolis from New England, New York, and Canada, and, during the mid-1860s, immigrants from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark began to call the city home. Migrant workers from Mexico and Latin America also interspersed. Later, immigrants came from Germany, Italy, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Southern and Eastern Europe. These immigrants tended to settle in the Northeast neighborhood, which remains ethnically rich and is particularly known for its Polish and Czech communities. Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe began arriving in the 1880s and settled primarily on the north side of the city before moving in large numbers to the western suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s. Asians came from China, the Philippines, Japan, and Korea. Two groups came for a short while during U.S. government relocations: Japanese during the 1940s, and Native Americans during the 1950s. From 1970 onward, Asians arrived from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Beginning in the 1990s, a sizable Latino population arrived, along with immigrants from the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia. Like other major cities, the metropolitan area has been an immigrant gateway that had a 127% increase in foreign-born residents between 1990 and 2000.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population of Minneapolis to be 422,331 as of 2017, a 10.4% increase since the 2010 census. The population grew until 1950, when the census peaked at 521,718, and then declined until about 1990 as people moved to the suburbs.
Among U.S. cities as of 2006, Minneapolis has the fourth-highest percentage of gay, lesbian, or bisexual people in the adult population, with 12.5% (behind San Francisco, and slightly behind both Seattle and Atlanta). In 2012, The Advocate named Minneapolis the seventh gayest city in America. In 2013, the city was among 25 U.S. cities to receive the highest possible score from the Human Rights Campaign, signifying its support for LGBT residents.
Racial and ethnic minorities in the city lag behind white counterparts in education, with 15.0% of blacks and 13.0% of Hispanics holding bachelor’s degrees compared to 42.0% of the white population. The standard of living is on the rise, with incomes among the highest in the Midwest, but median household income among minorities is below that of whites by over $17,000. Regionally, home ownership among minority residents is half that of whites, though Asian home ownership has doubled. In 2000, the poverty rate for whites was 4.2%; for blacks it was 26.2%; for Asians, 19.1%; Native Americans, 23.2%; and Hispanics, 18.1%.
In December 2018, the Minneapolis City Council voted to end single-family zoning citywide. At the time, 70% of residential land was zoned for detached single-family homes. The New York Times explains that the United States, as a whole, is suffering from an acute shortage of affordable places to live, particularly in urban areas where economic opportunity is concentrated, leading to rising homelessness rates and housing prices. Studies have found that single-family neighborhoods exacerbates the problem of the rising cost of housing by limiting the supply of available units. Many Minneapolis blocks today date to before the 1920s, with duplexes or small apartment buildings next to single-family homes. For years, those older buildings were considered “nonconforming” to the cities’ ordinances. Under Minneapolis’s new plan, that distinction will end as townhomes, duplexes and apartments will become the preferred norm. Therefore, most improvements of these ideas are not new, but rather retroactively undoing typical notions and policies set in the past. Slate Magazine explained that single-family home zoning was devised as a legal way to keep black Americans and other minorities from moving into certain neighborhoods, and it still functions as an effective barrier today. Thus, zoning was used as an indirect way to enact residential racial segregation. Further, Politico Magazine explains that single-family-only neighborhoods, which were common of city and suburban planning for years, and have been components of the American dream: streets lined with stand-alone houses, green lawns and plenty of room. Minneapolis’ new plan would reshape the urban streetscape around walking and mass transit. Minneapolis’s approach has been to upzone every single-family neighborhood at once. In addition to cost, single-family neighborhoods constrain the economic potential of cities by limiting growth and contributes to climate change, by necessitating sprawl and long commutes. Increasing housing density, which can be measured as the number of dwelling units per acre of residential area, not including streets, open space, or other non-residential space, can be a way that cities can become more environmentally sustainable.
The Dakota people, the original inhabitants of the area where Minneapolis now stands, believed in the Great Spirit and were surprised that not all European settlers were religious. More than 50 denominations and religions have an established presence in Minneapolis: According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 70% of the population of the city identified themselves as Christians, with 46% professing attendance at a variety of churches that could be considered Protestant, and 21% professing Roman Catholic beliefs. The same study says that other religions (including Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism) collectively make up about 5% of the population, and 23% claimed no religious affiliation.
Those who arrived from New England were for the most part Christian Protestants, Quakers, and Universalists. The oldest continuously used church in the city, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, was built in the Nicollet Island/East Bank neighborhood in 1856 by Universalists and soon afterward was acquired by a French Catholic congregation. The first Jewish congregation in Minneapolis was formed in 1878 as Shaarai Tov (though it has been known since 1920 as Temple Israel) and in 1928 built a synagogue in the East Isles neighborhood. St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral was founded in 1887, opened a missionary school in 1897, and in 1905 created the first Russian Orthodox seminary in the U.S. Edwin Hawley Hewitt designed both St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral and Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church on Hennepin Avenue just south of downtown. The first basilica in the United States, and co-cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Basilica of Saint Mary near Loring Park was named by Pope Pius XI in 1926.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Decision magazine, and World Wide Pictures film and television distribution were headquartered in Minneapolis from the late 1940s into the 2000s. Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye met while attending the Pentecostal North Central University and began a television ministry that by the 1980s reached 13.5 million households. Today, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in southwest Minneapolis is the nation’s second-largest Lutheran congregation, with about 6,000 attendees. Christ Church Lutheran in the Longfellow neighborhood, designed by Eliel Saarinen with an education building by his son Eero Saarinen, is a National Historic Landmark.
During the 1950s, members of the Nation of Islam created a temple in north Minneapolis, and the first Muslim mosque was built in 1967. In 1972 a relief agency resettled the first Shi’a Muslim family from Uganda. By 2004, between 20,000 and 30,000 Somali Muslims made the city their home. In 1972 after the death of Shunryū Suzuki, Minnesotans at the San Francisco Zen Center invited Buddhist monk Dainin Katagiri to move from California to Minneapolis—by one account, a place he thought nobody else would want to go. He founded a lineage which today includes three Sōtō Zen centers among the city’s nearly 20 Buddhist and meditation centers. Atheists For Human Rights has its headquarters in the Shingle Creek neighborhood in a geodesic dome. Minneapolis has had a chartered local body of Ordo Templi Orientis since 1994.