Best Small Towns In Minnesota For 2020


We used science and data to determine which small towns in Minnesota are the best of the best.

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. This is our sixth time ranking the best small places to live in Minnesota.

You’ve seen these lists before: Best places to live in Minnesota, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the North Star State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in Minnesota based on numbers–not opinions or hearsay.

We’ll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in Minnesota ranked the based–you know, based on science.

Before we get to the top 15, here’s a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in Minnesota for 2020.

The 10 Best Small Towns To Live In Minnesota For 2020

  1. Deephaven (Homes)
  2. Bayport (Homes)
  3. Carver (Photos | Homes)
  4. Tonka Bay (Homes)
  5. Dilworth (Photos | Homes)
  6. Oronoco (Homes)
  7. Elko New Market (Homes)
  8. Wayzata (Photos | Homes)
  9. Scanlon (Homes)
  10. Long Lake (Homes)

What’s the best small town in Minnesota? Deephaven is the best small town in Minnesota based on the most recent Census data. If you live in one of these small towns like Deephaven, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you–keep reading and we’ll get to just why these small towns made our list.

For more reading on the North Star State check out:

The 15 Best Small Towns In Minnesota For 2020

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 3,864
Median Income: $135,714 (2nd Best)
Median Home Value: $551,000 (4th Best)
More on Deephaven: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 3,712
Median Income: $79,107 (31st Best)
Median Home Value: $232,800 (28th Best)
More on Bayport: Data | Homes For Sale

Carver, MN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 4,629
Median Income: $117,697 (6th Best)
Median Home Value: $322,800 (13th Best)
More on Carver: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,410
Median Income: $122,019 (4th Best)
Median Home Value: $646,800 (1st Best)
More on Tonka Bay: Data | Homes For Sale

Dilworth, MN

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 4,370
Median Income: $66,519 (57th Best)
Median Home Value: $179,100 (49th Best)
More on Dilworth: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,486
Median Income: $115,000 (7th Best)
Median Home Value: $284,900 (17th Best)
More on Oronoco: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 4,604
Median Income: $123,750 (3rd Best)
Median Home Value: $301,600 (14th Best)
More on Elko New Market: Data | Homes For Sale

Wayzata, MN

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 4,518
Median Income: $83,348 (24th Best)
Median Home Value: $518,900 (5th Best)
More on Wayzata: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,157
Median Income: $65,417 (60th Best)
Median Home Value: $145,300 (91st Best)
More on Scanlon: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,768
Median Income: $75,769 (33rd Best)
Median Home Value: $277,300 (18th Best)
More on Long Lake: Data | Homes For Sale

Circle Pines, MN

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 4,954
Median Income: $84,137 (22nd Best)
Median Home Value: $191,800 (41st Best)
More on Circle Pines: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Cold Spring, MN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,117
Median Income: $60,593 (69th Best)
Median Home Value: $167,200 (64th Best)
More on Cold Spring: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,825
Median Income: $87,500 (18th Best)
Median Home Value: $227,700 (29th Best)
More on Cologne: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,511
Median Income: $57,348 (83rd Best)
Median Home Value: $142,400 (95th Best)
More on Lake Crystal: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,751
Median Income: $120,600 (5th Best)
Median Home Value: $475,000 (6th Best)
More on Independence: Data | Homes For Sale

How We Determined The Coolest Towns In Minnesota

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent data from the Census’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • Highly Educated Adults (Higher is better)
  • Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
  • Commute Times (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 5,000 people and greater than 1,000, of which, there were a lot – 215 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 215, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in Minnesota. Top of that list — Deephaven. You can download the data here.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 15 best small towns in Minnesota.

Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we’ll say it again — this list: it’s just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 15 small towns in Minnesota are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you’re curious, here are the worst small towns in Minnesota:

  1. Redby
  2. Red Lake
  3. Sandstone

For more minnesota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In Minnesota

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Value
1 Deephaven, MN 3,864 $135,714.0 $551,000.0
2 Bayport, MN 3,712 $79,107.0 $232,800.0
3 Carver, MN 4,629 $117,697.0 $322,800.0
4 Tonka Bay, MN 1,410 $122,019.0 $646,800.0
5 Dilworth, MN 4,370 $66,519.0 $179,100.0
6 Oronoco, MN 1,486 $115,000.0 $284,900.0
7 Elko New Market, MN 4,604 $123,750.0 $301,600.0
8 Wayzata, MN 4,518 $83,348.0 $518,900.0
9 Scanlon, MN 1,157 $65,417.0 $145,300.0
10 Long Lake, MN 1,768 $75,769.0 $277,300.0
11 Circle Pines, MN 4,954 $84,137.0 $191,800.0
12 Cold Spring, MN 4,117 $60,593.0 $167,200.0
13 Cologne, MN 1,825 $87,500.0 $227,700.0
14 Lake Crystal, MN 2,511 $57,348.0 $142,400.0
15 Independence, MN 3,751 $120,600.0 $475,000.0
16 Avon, MN 1,628 $82,532.0 $166,500.0
17 Dundas, MN 1,555 $87,708.0 $201,500.0
18 Lakeland, MN 1,907 $87,250.0 $245,700.0
19 Esko, MN 1,740 $71,744.0 $216,800.0
20 Crosslake, MN 2,015 $62,422.0 $327,000.0
21 Maple Plain, MN 1,844 $66,094.0 $233,100.0
22 Dellwood, MN 1,251 $176,528.0 $619,000.0
23 Grant, MN 4,138 $114,583.0 $460,300.0
24 Chatfield, MN 2,845 $69,833.0 $178,300.0
25 Eyota, MN 1,945 $73,173.0 $171,300.0
26 Oak Park Heights, MN 4,842 $59,167.0 $246,400.0
27 Medford, MN 1,339 $69,630.0 $154,000.0
28 Lonsdale, MN 3,922 $83,942.0 $193,300.0
29 Nisswa, MN 1,937 $65,000.0 $257,700.0
30 Mayer, MN 1,990 $95,129.0 $222,400.0
31 Lindstrom, MN 4,516 $80,714.0 $203,400.0
32 Osseo, MN 2,731 $52,930.0 $181,800.0
33 Spring Park, MN 1,829 $51,738.0 $421,400.0
34 Eagle Lake, MN 2,924 $71,250.0 $172,200.0
35 Lake St. Croix Beach, MN 1,029 $69,375.0 $211,500.0
36 Centerville, MN 3,962 $106,250.0 $252,500.0
37 Roseau, MN 2,679 $53,508.0 $139,600.0
38 Hanover, MN 3,298 $97,092.0 $288,200.0
39 St. Bonifacius, MN 2,219 $79,861.0 $241,900.0
40 Nicollet, MN 1,153 $70,147.0 $157,900.0
41 Janesville, MN 2,545 $72,500.0 $135,000.0
42 Hawley, MN 1,925 $72,778.0 $156,800.0
43 Barnesville, MN 2,579 $72,500.0 $148,300.0
44 Afton, MN 2,980 $114,375.0 $462,400.0
45 Spicer, MN 1,255 $57,961.0 $168,800.0
46 Cottonwood, MN 1,281 $53,060.0 $149,800.0
47 Plainview, MN 3,270 $62,639.0 $138,200.0
48 St. Augusta, MN 3,669 $79,605.0 $215,500.0
49 Scandia, MN 4,083 $87,969.0 $367,300.0
50 Excelsior, MN 2,448 $56,413.0 $553,900.0
51 Greenfield, MN 2,960 $114,213.0 $411,000.0
52 Breckenridge, MN 3,246 $40,545.0 $109,700.0
53 Becker, MN 4,787 $87,083.0 $181,300.0
54 Goodview, MN 4,105 $59,279.0 $149,700.0
55 Lewiston, MN 1,639 $65,048.0 $151,100.0
56 Mantorville, MN 1,082 $83,077.0 $171,300.0
57 Breezy Point, MN 2,305 $68,102.0 $233,800.0
58 St. Charles, MN 3,723 $69,150.0 $163,900.0
59 Elgin, MN 1,240 $59,886.0 $148,700.0
60 Zumbrota, MN 3,395 $51,250.0 $173,000.0
61 Le Roy, MN 1,083 $54,609.0 $80,200.0
62 Springfield, MN 2,056 $49,750.0 $78,000.0
63 Watertown, MN 4,372 $82,130.0 $194,900.0
64 Waverly, MN 1,395 $84,479.0 $180,100.0
65 Rockville, MN 2,533 $75,625.0 $254,500.0
66 Lauderdale, MN 2,514 $50,909.0 $192,600.0
67 Albany, MN 2,691 $55,391.0 $147,900.0
68 Nowthen, MN 4,649 $105,313.0 $298,400.0
69 Two Harbors, MN 3,541 $55,641.0 $139,900.0
70 Cohasset, MN 2,724 $61,740.0 $211,600.0
71 Columbus, MN 4,037 $87,951.0 $254,700.0
72 Richmond, MN 1,568 $56,304.0 $148,100.0
73 Glyndon, MN 1,245 $76,875.0 $166,800.0
74 Grand Meadow, MN 1,065 $61,471.0 $109,500.0
75 Goodhue, MN 1,175 $75,000.0 $168,800.0
76 Dawson, MN 1,701 $48,558.0 $72,000.0
77 Proctor, MN 3,059 $56,430.0 $146,400.0
78 Norwood Young America, MN 3,700 $68,662.0 $184,700.0
79 Sleepy Eye, MN 3,414 $50,909.0 $118,500.0
80 Luverne, MN 4,561 $54,224.0 $123,200.0
81 Rockford, MN 4,585 $66,528.0 $180,200.0
82 Fulda, MN 1,309 $50,250.0 $95,300.0
83 Edgerton, MN 1,230 $48,641.0 $93,700.0
84 Newport, MN 3,506 $63,341.0 $193,100.0
85 New London, MN 1,202 $52,750.0 $158,600.0
86 Perham, MN 3,345 $47,068.0 $149,200.0
87 Jackson, MN 3,225 $48,770.0 $115,600.0
88 Sauk Centre, MN 4,404 $55,938.0 $141,400.0
89 Glenwood, MN 2,535 $48,750.0 $135,100.0
90 Wabasha, MN 2,583 $51,351.0 $167,900.0
91 Cannon Falls, MN 4,064 $60,391.0 $174,900.0
92 Hallock, MN 1,052 $59,858.0 $75,600.0
93 Blooming Prairie, MN 1,860 $54,125.0 $124,600.0
94 Clearwater, MN 1,776 $70,391.0 $168,100.0
95 Melrose, MN 3,634 $53,899.0 $123,300.0
96 Wheaton, MN 1,491 $43,750.0 $71,800.0
97 Waterville, MN 1,984 $53,000.0 $139,500.0
98 Pine Island, MN 3,456 $68,125.0 $182,200.0
99 Winsted, MN 2,269 $54,688.0 $143,500.0
100 Lester Prairie, MN 1,958 $59,130.0 $145,900.0

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.