The 11-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metro contains more than 200 municipalities and registers a population of nearly 3.4 million. The Twin Cities metro area encompasses the seven core counties of the region, the largest being Hennepin County. Minneapolis is the largest city in the state, with 392,100 citizens, followed by St. Paul, with 291,100 inhabitants.
The metro has a diverse economic base and is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies. The local GMP increased by an estimated 1.4 percent in 2013. The Twin Cities are involved in all aspects of the food delivery system, ranging from initial production to final sale. Similar to many other Midwestern cities, the metro has a strong manufacturing base, encompassing both traditional industry and high-tech manufacturing.
Relative to other areas, the metro has a high concentration of technology companies. Many are biomedical firms that have developed from research at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, located 75 miles south of the metro in Rochester. The region is also the base of a number of major retailers, including Target Corp. and Best Buy Co., in addition to many financial services firms.
Minneapolis houses the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which services Minnesota, the Dakotas, Montana, and portions of Michigan and Wisconsin. A number of financial and insurance institutions are also headquartered in the area.
An ability to handle air, land, river and sea transportation ranks the metro among the top in the nation for its logistics infrastructure. Its location in the upper Midwest has made the Twin Cities a hub for motor freight companies. Barge lines operate on the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers, transporting agricultural goods to the world via the Mississippi. Minneapolis is only 150 miles from the Port of Duluth, which connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System.
Nearly 1,000 of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes are located within the metro, along with the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers. The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul straddle the Mississippi River, with Minneapolis located upstream from St. Paul. The metro covers 6,364 square miles of fertile soil atop limestone and sandstone and includes 11 counties, two of which are in Wisconsin.