Minnesota (/ˌmɪnᵻˈsoʊtə/; locally [ˌmɪnəˈso̞ɾɐ]) is a state in the Midwestern United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory. The name comes from the Dakota word for "clear blue water". Owing to its large number of lakes, the state is informally known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Its official motto is L'Étoile du Nord (French: Star of the North). Minnesota is the 12th largest in area and the 21st most populous of the U.S. states; nearly 60 percent of its residents live in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area (known as the "Twin Cities"), the center of transportation, business, industry, education, and government and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast, now partially cleared, farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation.
Minnesota is known for its progressive political orientation and its high rate of civic participation and voter turnout. Until European settlement, Minnesota was inhabited by the Dakota and Ojibwe/Anishinaabe. The French voyageurs and later English fur trappers were the earliest non-native inhabitants. A large majority of the early territory and statehood settlers emigrated from the Eastern United States and Western Europe including Germany, Scandinavia, and Ireland. Eastern Europeans immigrated in the late 19th and early 20th century, with many first working in iron mines. In recent decades, immigration from Asia, Somalia, and Latin America has broadened the state's historic demographic and cultural composition. Minnesota has America's largest Somali population. Minnesota's standard of living index is among the highest in the United States, and the state is also among the best-educated and wealthiest in the nation.
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