Rochester is a city founded in 1854 in the U.S. State of Minnesota and is the county seat of Olmsted County located on the Zumbro River’s south fork in Southeast Minnesota. It is Minnesota’s third-largest city and the largest city located outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2018, the Rochester metropolitan area had a population estimated at 219,802. According to the 2010 United States Census the city had a population of 106,769. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the 2018 population was 116,961. It is the home of the Mayo Clinic and a major IBM facility, one of the company’s largest at its peak. The city has long been rated as one of the best places to live in the United States by multiple publications such as Money.
Rochester lies alongside the South Fork of the Zumbro River which is 57.6 miles long and is ringed by gentle hills and largely surrounded by farmland within a deciduous forest biome. The Zumbro Watershed flows through 1,422 square miles of agricultural and urban lands. Located in southeast Minnesota, the City of Rochester falls within the Driftless Area: the only region in North America that was never glaciated and contains deeply-carved river valleys. The rugged terrain is due both to the lack of glacial deposits, or drift, and to the incision of the upper Mississippi River and its tributaries into bedrock. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 54.75 square miles (141.80 km), of which 54.59 square miles (141.39 km) of it is land and 0.16 square miles (0.41 km) is water. The city is located 85 miles (137 km) southeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Rochester is in Olmsted County, one of only four counties in Minnesota without a natural lake. Artificial lakes exist in the area, including Silver Lake, a dammed portion of the South Fork Zumbro River just below the convergence with Silver Creek near the city center. Silver Lake was once used as a cooling pond when the coal-burning power plant was operated by Rochester Public Utilities at the lake. When operational, the RPU coal plant’s heated water output prevented the lake from generally freezing over during the winter months; attracting large numbers of migrating giant Canada geese.
Rochester has an extensive parks system, the largest of which are Silver Lake and Soldiers Field in the central part of the city. A major flood in 1978 led the city to embark on an expensive and successful flood-control project that involved altering many nearby rivers and streams. The Zumbro river flowing through the center of the city is presently being readdressed for increased development and use as part of city planning in conjunction with funding from the Destination Medical Center project.
As of the census of 2010, there were 106,769 people, 43,025 households, and 26,853 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,955.8 inhabitants per square mile (755.1/km). There were 45,683 housing units at an average density of 836.8 per square mile (323.1/km). The racial makeup of the city was 82.0% White, 6.3% African American, 0.3% Native American, 6.8% Asian (1.3% Indian, 1.2% Cambodian, 1.0% Chinese, 0.9% Vietnamese, 0.6% Laotian, 0.4% Korean, 0.4% Filipino, 0.2% Hmong, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Thai, 0.1% Pakistani), 2.0% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.2% of the population (3.7% Mexican, 1.3% Puerto Rican, 2.0% Other).
In terms of ancestry, the 2005–2007 American Community Survey found German Americans to be the largest single ethnic group in Rochester, making up 35.5% of the city’s population. Norwegian Americans made up 15.9%, while Irish Americans contributed to 11.6% of the city’s populace. English Americans made up 8.2% of the population and Swedish Americans were 5.0% of the city’s population. In the mid-1980s Rochester had fewer than 40 Hmong persons. The 1990 United States Census counted 200 Hmong persons in Rochester. This increased to 300 by 1998. Cathleen Jo Faruque, author of “Migration of Hmong to Rochester, Minnesota: Life in the Midwest,” wrote in 2003 that there was “every indication that this trend will continue”.
There were 43,025 households of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.4% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.6% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.04.
The median age in the city was 35 years. 24.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.4% were from 25 to 44; 24.8% were from 45 to 64; and 12.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.
As of the 2011–2015 American Community Survey, the median household income was $68,023.