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Stearns County, Minnesota

Stearns County, Minnesota
Stearns County Courthouse
Map of Minnesota highlighting Stearns County
Location in the state of Minnesota
Map of the United States highlighting Minnesota
Minnesota's location in the U.S.
Founded February 20, 1855[1]
Named for Charles Thomas Stearns
Seat St. Cloud
Largest city St. Cloud
 • Total 1,390 sq mi (3,600 km2)
 • Land 1,343 sq mi (3,478 km2)
 • Water 47 sq mi (122 km2), 3.4%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 152,912
 • Density 112/sq mi (43/km²)
Congressional districts 6th, 7th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Stearns County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 150,642.[2] Its county seat is Saint Cloud.[3] The county was founded in 1855. It was supposed to be named after Isaac Ingalls Stevens, but a clerical error changed the name to Stearns, after Charles Thomas Stearns.

Stearns County is part of the St. Cloud, MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI Combined Statistical Area.


  • History 1
  • Politics 2
  • Geography 3
    • Major highways 3.1
    • Adjacent counties 3.2
  • Demographics 4
  • Communities 5
    • Cities 5.1
    • Townships 5.2
    • Unincorporated communities 5.3
  • See also 6
  • References and notes 7
  • External links 8


The area that is currently Stearns County was formerly occupied by numerous indigenous tribes, such as the Sioux (Dakota), Chippewa (Ojibwe) and Winnebago (Ho-chunk). The first large immigration was of German Catholics in the 1850s. Early arrivals also came from eastern states. Originally, the county was supposed to be named Stevens County after Governor Isaac Ingalls Stevens who conducted an area expedition in 1853. However, due to a clerical error, the county was named Stearns after Charles Thomas Stearns who was a member of the Territorial Council. (Later, the area two counties west was named Stevens County, to compensate for this clerical error.)


Presidential Election Results 2000-2012
Year Democratic Republican
2012 42.75% 33,551 54.81% 43,015
2008 45.32% 35,690 52.31% 41,194
2004 43.21% 32,659 55.21% 41,726
2000 39.70% 24,800 51.86% 32,402


Native vegetation based on NRCS soils information[4]
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,390 square miles (3,600 km2), of which 1,343 square miles (3,480 km2) is land and 47 square miles (120 km2) (3.4%) is water.[5]

The East border of Stearns County is the Mississippi River. The land consists of rolling hills, scenic lakes, prairies, savannas and woodlands of a mixture of coniferous and deciduous trees. Stearns is one of 17 Minnesota savanna region counties with more savanna soils than either prairie or forest soils. Two examples of native vegetation are: and, There are 166 lakes in the county of Stearns.

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Age pyramid of county residents based on 2000 U.S. census data

As of the census of 2000, there were 133,166 people, 47,604 households, and 32,132 families residing in the county. The population density was 99 people per square mile (38/km²). There were 50,291 housing units at an average density of 37 per square mile (14/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.99% White, 0.83% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.58% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.47% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 1.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 56.9% were of German and 9.4% Norwegian ancestry.

There were 47,604 households out of which 35.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.30% were married couples living together, 7.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.50% were non-families. 23.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.70% under the age of 18, 16.10% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 19.10% from 45 to 64, and 11.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 101.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,426, and the median income for a family was $51,553. Males had a median income of $34,268 versus $23,393 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,211. About 4.30% of families and 8.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.70% of those under age 18 and 8.60% of those age 65 or over.




Unincorporated communities

See also

References and notes

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ Nelson, Steven (2011). Savanna Soils of Minnesota. Minnesota: Self. pp. 49-52. ISBN 978-0-615-50320-2.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^

External links

  • Stearns County official website
  • Sartell Historical Society - Sartell, MN
  • Stearns History Museum official website

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