Best counties to raise a family in Minnesota

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June 3, 2021
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Best counties to raise a family in Minnesota

Known in other parts of the world as shires, provinces, or territories, the United States’ counties (also known in certain states as boroughs or parishes) date back to the 1600s, when settlers first came to find freedom from British rule. Today, those counties remain, with the 50 states divided into several, each with its own unique makeup.

For people looking to find a home to raise a family in, choosing a county is an important decision. Most families place affordable homes, safe neighborhoods, a quality school system, and family-friendly activities at the top of their wishlists.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to raise a family in Minnesota using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, healthcare, recreation and weather.

The list features counties that boast some of the top schools and fun, family-friendly activities for every season. Keep reading to explore the best counties to raise a family. Maybe you’ll find one that suits your brood.

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Crow Wing County

- Population: 64,217
- Median home value: $198,300 (77% own)
- Median rent: $806 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $56,549
- Top public schools: Lowell Elementary School (A-), Baxter Elementary School (A-), Brainerd Senior High School (A-)
- Top private schools: Lake Region Christian School (B), St. Francis Catholic School (unavailable), Montessori School of Brainerd (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Baxter (B+), Crosby (B+), Oak Lawn Township (B)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Nobles County

- Population: 21,734
- Median home value: $127,100 (71% own)
- Median rent: $726 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $55,304
- Top public schools: Adrian Secondary School (B+), Worthington Senior High School (B), Adrian Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools: St. Mary's School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Worthington (B-), Adrian (B+), Seward Township (B+)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Rice County

- Population: 66,185
- Median home value: $208,600 (74% own)
- Median rent: $843 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $68,584
- Top public schools: Northfield Senior High School (A), Sibley Elementary School (A-), Bridgewater Elementary School (A-)
- Top private schools: Shattuck-St. Mary's School (A+), Bethlehem Academy (A-), Divine Mercy Catholic School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Northfield (A), Dundas (A-), Bridgewater Township (A-)
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Goodhue County

- Population: 46,246
- Median home value: $204,100 (75% own)
- Median rent: $862 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $66,800
- Top public schools: Pine Island Middle School (A-), Pine Island Elementary School (A-), Pine Island Secondary School (A-)
- Top private schools: St. John's Lutheran School (unavailable), St. John's Evangelical Lutheran School (unavailable), Christ Lutheran School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Pine Island (A-), Cannon Falls (B+), Zumbrota (B+)
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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Roseau County

- Population: 15,361
- Median home value: $132,800 (82% own)
- Median rent: $723 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $62,202
- Top public schools: Roseau Elementary School (B+), Warroad Elementary School (B+), Greenbush-Middle River Senior High School (B+)
- Top private schools: Warroad Christian Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Roseau (A-), Dewey Township (A), Spruce Township (A-)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Cook County

- Population: 5,376
- Median home value: $240,100 (77% own)
- Median rent: $651 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $57,432
- Top public schools: Cook County Senior High School (B), Sawtooth Mountain Elementary School (B), Great Expectations School (B-)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Grand Marais (A-), Lutsen Township (B+), Tofte Township (B)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Benton County

- Population: 40,129
- Median home value: $174,900 (67% own)
- Median rent: $760 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $57,715
- Top public schools: Foley Elementary School (A-), Sauk Rapids-Rice Senior High School (A-), Foley Intermediate Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: St. Cloud Christian School (A-), St. Katharine Drexel School (unavailable), St. Johns Area School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Sauk Rapids (B), Minden Township (B), Watab Township (B-)
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Blue Earth County

- Population: 66,795
- Median home value: $184,800 (62% own)
- Median rent: $883 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $57,429
- Top public schools: Mankato West Senior High School (A), Franklin Elementary School (A), Bridges Community Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Loyola Catholic School (A-), Immanuel Lutheran School (C+), Mount Olive Lutheran School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Mankato Township (A-), Mankato (A-), Eagle Lake (B+)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Rock County

- Population: 9,402
- Median home value: $153,000 (75% own)
- Median rent: $678 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $63,005
- Top public schools: Hills-Beaver Creek Elementary School (A-), Luverne Elementary School (A-), Luverne Middle School (B+)
- Top private schools: Hills Christian School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Luverne (A), Martin Township (A-), Mound Township (A-)
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Sherburne County

- Population: 94,463
- Median home value: $230,500 (84% own)
- Median rent: $995 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $89,250
- Top public schools: Parker Elementary School (A-), Rogers Elementary School (A-), Twin Lakes Elementary School (A-)
- Top private schools: St. Andrew Catholic School (unavailable), Heritage Montessori School (unavailable), Northland Christian School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Elk River (A-), Becker (B+), Big Lake (B)
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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Lyon County

- Population: 25,758
- Median home value: $148,900 (68% own)
- Median rent: $666 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $57,730
- Top public schools: Marshall High School (A-), Lakeview Elementary School (A-), Minneota Secondary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Holy Redeemer School (unavailable), Marshall Area Christian School (unavailable), St. Edward School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Marshall (B+), Fairview Township (A-), Lynd Township (A-)
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Gobonobo // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Stevens County

- Population: 9,789
- Median home value: $160,100 (68% own)
- Median rent: $753 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $60,559
- Top public schools: Hancock Elementary School (A), Morris Area Elementary School (A-), Morris Area Secondary School (A-)
- Top private schools: St. Mary's School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Morris (A-), Moore Township (A), Darnen Township (A)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Nicollet County

- Population: 33,954
- Median home value: $191,900 (74% own)
- Median rent: $837 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $67,399
- Top public schools: St. Peter High School (B+), North Intermediate School (B+), Nicollet Senior High School (B)
- Top private schools: Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School (A-), Immanuel Lutheran School (unavailable), John Ireland School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: North Mankato (A), St. Peter (B+), Belgrade Township (B+)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Beltrami County

- Population: 46,403
- Median home value: $162,600 (67% own)
- Median rent: $765 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $49,160
- Top public schools: Treknorth High School (A-), Bemidji Senior High School (B+), Bemidji Middle School (B+)
- Top private schools: St. Philip's School (unavailable), St. Mary's Mission School (unavailable), Heartland Christian Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Northern Township (A), Bemidji Township (A), Grant Valley Township (A-)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Clay County

- Population: 63,446
- Median home value: $197,100 (67% own)
- Median rent: $865 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $65,269
- Top public schools: Barnesville Elementary School (A-), Hawley Elementary School (B+), Hawley High School (B+)
- Top private schools: Park Christian School (B+)
- Top places to live: Moorhead (B+), Dilworth (B+), Barnesville (A-)
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McGhiever // Wikicommons

#10. Stearns County

- Population: 158,452
- Median home value: $184,900 (68% own)
- Median rent: $833 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $62,789
- Top public schools: Sartell Senior High School (A), Sartell Middle School (A), Oak Ridge Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Saint John's Preparatory School (A+), Cathedral High School (A), St. Joseph Laboratory School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Sartell (A), Le Sauk Township (A), St. John Cantius (A-)
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Wright County

- Population: 134,438
- Median home value: $238,500 (82% own)
- Median rent: $969 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $84,974
- Top public schools: Big Woods Elementary School (A), St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West (A), St. Michael-Albertville Middle School East (A)
- Top private schools: St. Michael Catholic School (unavailable), St. Francis Xavier Elementary School (unavailable), St. Timothy's Parish School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: St. Michael (A), Delano (A), Otsego (A)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Anoka County

- Population: 350,253
- Median home value: $232,400 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,118 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $82,175
- Top public schools: DaVinci Academy of Arts & Science (A), Elementary Lighthouse (A), McKinley Elementary School (A-)
- Top private schools: Totino-Grace High School (A), Al-Amal School (A), Avail Academy High School (B+)
- Top places to live: Lino Lakes (A), Blaine (A-), Circle Pines (A-)
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Appraiser // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Scott County

- Population: 145,275
- Median home value: $299,700 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,170 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $102,152
- Top public schools: Aspen Academy (A), Prior Lake High School (A), Glendale Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: St. John the Baptist Catholic School and Preschool (A), Prior Lake Christian Academy (B-), Shakopee Area Catholic School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Savage (A), Prior Lake (A), Credit River Township (A-)
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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Carver County

- Population: 101,949
- Median home value: $313,200 (82% own)
- Median rent: $1,146 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $101,496
- Top public schools: Chanhassen High School (A), Jonathan Elementary School (A), Chanhassen Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Holy Family Catholic High School (A), Southwest Christian High School (A), Mayer Lutheran High School (A-)
- Top places to live: Chanhassen (A+), Victoria (A+), Waconia (A)
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Iulus Ascanius // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Washington County

- Population: 255,938
- Median home value: $289,400 (81% own)
- Median rent: $1,307 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $96,671
- Top public schools: Math & Science Academy (A+), St. Croix Preparatory Academy Upper School (A+), St. Croix Preparatory Academy Middle School (A+)
- Top private schools: New Life Academy (A), Hope Christian Academy (B+), St. Peter Catholic School (A+)
- Top places to live: Woodbury (A+), Dellwood (A+), Mahtomedi (A+)
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Olmsted County

- Population: 154,809
- Median home value: $214,600 (73% own)
- Median rent: $968 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $76,951
- Top public schools: Mayo Senior High School (A), Century Senior High School (A), Byron Intermediate School (A)
- Top private schools: Lourdes High School (A), Schaeffer Academy (A), Rochester Central Lutheran School (A)
- Top places to live: Cascade Township (A+), Rochester (A), Haverhill Township (A)
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Mulad // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Ramsey County

- Population: 544,442
- Median home value: $229,600 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,007 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $64,660
- Top public schools: Nova Classical Academy Upper School (A+), Mounds View Senior High School (A+), Great River School (A)
- Top private schools: Mounds Park Academy (A+), St. Paul Academy & Summit School (A+), Cretin-Derham Hall (A+)
- Top places to live: Macalester-Groveland (A+), St. Anthony Park (A+), Falcon Heights (A+)
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Dakota County

- Population: 421,453
- Median home value: $266,000 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,174 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $86,036
- Top public schools: Eagan Senior High School (A+), Eastview Senior High School (A+), East Lake Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Saint Thomas Academy (A+), Visitation School (A+), Trinity School at River Ridge (A+)
- Top places to live: Mendota Heights (A+), Eagan (A+), Lakeville (A)
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Checubus // Shutterstock

#1. Hennepin County

- Population: 1,245,837
- Median home value: $276,900 (62% own)
- Median rent: $1,135 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $78,167
- Top public schools: Minnetonka Senior High School (A+), Wayzata High School (A+), Edina Senior High School (A+)
- Top private schools: The International School of Minnesota (A+), The Blake School (A+), Breck School (A+)
- Top places to live: Eden Prairie (A+), Edina (A+), Linden Hills (A+)

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