Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state on May 11, 1858. Known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," the state's name comes from a Dakota word for "sky-tinted water." Those waters, together with forests, parks, and wilderness areas, offer residents and tourists a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.
Minnesota is the 12th most extensive and the 21st most populous of the U.S. states. Nearly 60% of its residents live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area (known as the "Twin Cities"), the center of transportation, business, industry, education, 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 cleared, farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation.
Minnesota is known for its relatively mixed social and political orientations, and has a high rate of civic participation and voter turnout. Minnesota ranks among the healthiest states, and has a highly literate population. The large majority of residents are of Scandinavian and German descent. The state is known as a center of Scandinavian American culture. Ethnic diversity has increased in recent decades. Substantial influxes of Asian, African, and Latin American immigrants have joined the descendants of European immigrants and the original Native American inhabitants.