Hennepin County was created in 1852 by the Minnesota Territorial Legislature. Father Louis Hennepin’s name was chosen because he originally named St. Anthony Falls and recorded some of the earliest accounts of the area for the Western world. Hennepin County’s early history is closely linked to the establishment of the cities of Minneapolis and St. Anthony. The history of Hennepin County is cataloged at the Hennepin History Museum, located in Minneapolis.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 607 square miles (1,570 km2), of which 554 square miles (1,430 km2) is land and 53 square miles (140 km2) (8.7%) is water. Hennepin is one of 17 Minnesota counties with more savanna soils than either prairie or forest soils, and is one of only two Minnesota counties with more than 75% of its area in savanna soils (the other is Wright County).
Soils of Hennepin County
The highest waterfall on the Mississippi River, the Saint Anthony Falls (discovered by Louis Hennepin) is in Hennepin County next to downtown Minneapolis, but in the 19th century, the falls were converted to a series of dams. Barges and boats now pass through locks to move between the parts of the river above and below the dams.
There were 456,129 households out of which 28.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.30% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.40% were non-families. 31.80% 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 2.39 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the county 24.00% of the population was under the age of 18, 9.70% was between 18 and 24, 33.70% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 11.00% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 97.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $51,711, and the median income for a family was $65,985 (these figures had risen to $60,115 and $79,970 respectively as of a 2007 estimate) Accounting for inflation, these figures rise again to $76,202.87 for individuals, and $92,353.46 for households, adjusted for 2014 dollars. Males had a median income of $42,466 versus $32,400 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,789. About 5.00% of families and 8.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.50% of those under age 18 and 5.90% of those age 65 or over.
Hennepin County is the wealthiest county in Minnesota and one of the 100 highest-income counties in the United States.
Law and government
Like all counties in Minnesota, Hennepin is governed by an elected and nonpartisan board of commissioners. In Minnesota, county commissions usually have five members, but Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Anoka and St Louis counties have seven members. Each commissioner represents a district of approximately equal population. In Hennepin the county commission appoints the medical examiner, county auditor-treasurer and county recorder. The sheriff and county attorney are also elected on a nonpartisan ticket. The county government’s headquarters are in downtown Minneapolis in the Hennepin County Government Center. The county oversees the Hennepin County Library system (which merged with the Minneapolis Public Library system in 2008), and Hennepin County Medical Center.
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