Minnesota (i /mɪnɪˈsoʊtə/) is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.27 million residents. 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.
Nearly sixty percent of Minnesota's residents live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area known as the "Twin Cities", the centre of transportation, business and industry, education 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. The large majority of residents are of German or Nordic descent, but ethnic diversity has increased in recent decades. Substantial influxes of African, Asian, and Latin American immigrants have joined the descendants of European immigrants and the original Native American inhabitants.
The state is known for its moderate to progressive politics and social policies, civic involvement, and high voter turnout. Minnesota ranks among the healthiest states, and has a highly literate population.