These Are The 20 Best Small Towns In Minnesota For 2018


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

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Data updated for 2018.

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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 20, here’s a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in Minnesota for 2018:

  1. Deephaven (Homes For Sale)
  2. Carver (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Long Lake (Homes For Sale)
  4. Oronoco (Homes For Sale)
  5. Elko New Market (Homes For Sale)
  6. North Oaks (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Wayzata (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Tonka Bay (Homes For Sale)
  9. Circle Pines (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Oak Park Heights (Homes For Sale)

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:

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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 2012-2016 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.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 20 best small towns in Minnesota.

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1. Deephaven


Population: 3,786
Median Income: $123,152 (3rd Best)
Median Home Value: $537,600 (2nd Best)
More on Deephaven: Data| Homes For Sale

2. Carver

Carver, MN

Population: 4,328
Median Income: $116,954 (5th Best)
Median Home Value: $298,700 (15th Best)
More on Carver: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

3. Long Lake


Population: 1,704
Median Income: $74,539 (27th Best)
Median Home Value: $250,300 (21st Best)
More on Long Lake: Data| Homes For Sale

4. Oronoco


Population: 1,532
Median Income: $108,125 (8th Best)
Median Home Value: $266,100 (19th Best)
More on Oronoco: Data| Homes For Sale

5. Elko New Market


Population: 4,472
Median Income: $113,583 (6th Best)
Median Home Value: $268,200 (18th Best)
More on Elko New Market: Data| Homes For Sale

6. North Oaks

North Oaks, MN

Population: 4,832
Median Income: $149,507 (2nd Best)
Median Home Value: $531,800 (3rd Best)
More on North Oaks: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

7. Wayzata

Wayzata, MN

Population: 4,296
Median Income: $69,854 (36th Best)
Median Home Value: $485,700 (5th Best)
More on Wayzata: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

8. Tonka Bay


Population: 1,344
Median Income: $119,167 (4th Best)
Median Home Value: $587,500 (1st Best)
More on Tonka Bay: Data| Homes For Sale

9. Circle Pines

Circle Pines, MN

Population: 4,947
Median Income: $73,352 (29th Best)
Median Home Value: $174,500 (46th Best)
More on Circle Pines: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

10. Oak Park Heights


Population: 4,790
Median Income: $51,726 (101st Best)
Median Home Value: $225,800 (26th Best)
More on Oak Park Heights: Data| Homes For Sale

11. Cologne


Population: 1,655
Median Income: $81,719 (19th Best)
Median Home Value: $208,500 (33rd Best)
More on Cologne: Data| Homes For Sale

12. Eagle Lake


Population: 2,712
Median Income: $70,375 (34th Best)
Median Home Value: $166,000 (51st Best)
More on Eagle Lake: Data| Homes For Sale

13. Centerville

Centerville, MN

Source: Public domain

Population: 3,907
Median Income: $89,118 (14th Best)
Median Home Value: $221,600 (29th Best)
More on Centerville: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

14. Esko


Population: 1,814
Median Income: $75,213 (25th Best)
Median Home Value: $234,500 (23rd Best)
More on Esko: Data| Homes For Sale

15. Nisswa

Nisswa, MN

Population: 2,135
Median Income: $64,453 (51st Best)
Median Home Value: $278,600 (16th Best)
More on Nisswa: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

16. Hanover

Hanover, MN

Source: Public domain

Population: 3,064
Median Income: $91,464 (12th Best)
Median Home Value: $270,600 (17th Best)
More on Hanover: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

17. Grant


Population: 4,134
Median Income: $108,940 (7th Best)
Median Home Value: $426,200 (7th Best)
More on Grant: Data| Homes For Sale

18. Roseau


Population: 2,661
Median Income: $52,679 (94th Best)
Median Home Value: $109,200 (137th Best)
More on Roseau: Data| Homes For Sale

19. Chatfield

Chatfield, MN

Population: 2,821
Median Income: $64,535 (50th Best)
Median Home Value: $170,200 (48th Best)
More on Chatfield: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

20. Mayer


Population: 1,973
Median Income: $90,536 (13th Best)
Median Home Value: $192,500 (38th Best)
More on Mayer: Data| Homes For Sale

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 20 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. Little Rock

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 3,786 $123,152 $537,600
2 Carver 4,328 $116,954 $298,700
3 Long Lake 1,704 $74,539 $250,300
4 Oronoco 1,532 $108,125 $266,100
5 Elko New Market 4,472 $113,583 $268,200
6 North Oaks 4,832 $149,507 $531,800
7 Wayzata 4,296 $69,854 $485,700
8 Tonka Bay 1,344 $119,167 $587,500
9 Circle Pines 4,947 $73,352 $174,500
10 Oak Park Heights 4,790 $51,726 $225,800
11 Cologne 1,655 $81,719 $208,500
12 Eagle Lake 2,712 $70,375 $166,000
13 Centerville 3,907 $89,118 $221,600
14 Esko 1,814 $75,213 $234,500
15 Nisswa 2,135 $64,453 $278,600
16 Hanover 3,064 $91,464 $270,600
17 Grant 4,134 $108,940 $426,200
18 Roseau 2,661 $52,679 $109,200
19 Chatfield 2,821 $64,535 $170,200
20 Mayer 1,973 $90,536 $192,500
21 Goodview 4,036 $61,996 $148,200
22 Cold Spring 4,071 $56,055 $149,200
23 Eyota 2,073 $66,765 $158,900
24 Avon 1,669 $68,036 $158,400
25 Afton 2,951 $100,764 $411,200
26 St. Augusta 3,547 $75,184 $200,000
27 Nicollet 1,040 $71,176 $155,900
28 Dilworth 4,237 $53,512 $163,800
29 La Crescent 4,808 $51,593 $168,800
30 Crosslake 1,835 $59,605 $363,500
31 Scanlon 1,162 $56,923 $138,000
32 Dellwood 1,206 $171,250 $528,800
33 Greenfield 2,888 $106,523 $389,000
34 Glyndon 1,247 $75,341 $152,000
35 East Gull Lake 1,012 $80,781 $306,500
36 Lake Crystal 2,430 $53,426 $136,400
37 Barnesville 2,571 $67,414 $138,000
38 Lakeland 1,847 $87,917 $225,500
39 Spring Park 1,842 $50,521 $327,800
40 Spicer 1,309 $61,667 $161,200
41 Osseo 2,612 $49,728 $164,300
42 Cottonwood 1,252 $50,521 $145,300
43 Lindstrom 4,406 $67,642 $169,700
44 Dundas 1,586 $71,125 $177,300
45 Janesville 2,674 $66,296 $130,200
46 Bayport 3,604 $69,345 $198,600
47 Plainview 3,267 $57,543 $139,500
48 Medford 1,388 $66,250 $140,600
49 Lake St. Croix Beach 1,071 $62,880 $177,700
50 Proctor 3,064 $54,681 $142,900
51 Independence 3,687 $101,569 $408,100
52 Hawley 1,919 $59,609 $147,500
53 Breezy Point 2,298 $63,098 $199,300
54 Maple Plain 1,812 $63,698 $213,300
55 Lonsdale 3,814 $69,081 $180,500
56 Rockford 4,229 $73,494 $179,400
57 Albany 2,645 $53,902 $142,100
58 Rockville 2,511 $70,352 $233,300
59 Scandia 4,029 $85,417 $323,000
60 St. Bonifacius 2,596 $85,489 $224,300
61 Clearwater 1,743 $67,546 $153,000
62 Mantorville 1,098 $71,250 $153,000
63 Norwood Young America 3,655 $62,717 $163,900
64 Elgin 1,213 $55,000 $141,100
65 New London 1,267 $42,500 $152,500
66 Waverly 1,446 $76,719 $157,700
67 Excelsior 2,510 $45,915 $443,000
68 Cohasset 2,749 $60,461 $212,400
69 Perham 3,172 $51,847 $149,500
70 Columbus 3,980 $77,727 $241,800
71 Richmond 1,596 $54,167 $140,600
72 Rice 1,467 $69,044 $153,600
73 Zumbrota 3,357 $47,763 $163,300
74 Lauderdale 2,472 $44,345 $172,200
75 Breckenridge 3,347 $40,231 $98,900
76 Grand Marais 1,048 $47,716 $214,800
77 Madison Lake 1,007 $67,321 $198,100
78 Becker 4,677 $77,153 $165,300
79 Warren 1,549 $55,875 $87,800
80 Jackson 3,258 $47,052 $109,600
81 Sleepy Eye 3,475 $45,625 $112,600
82 Lakefield 1,619 $48,854 $89,900
83 Le Sueur 3,996 $58,007 $136,600
84 Wheaton 1,588 $42,154 $64,200
85 Springfield 2,016 $43,145 $73,900
86 Hallock 1,018 $55,900 $81,800
87 Blooming Prairie 1,814 $53,625 $111,500
88 Luverne 4,660 $49,662 $124,100
89 Rushford 1,940 $44,750 $143,600
90 Goodhue 1,261 $71,250 $154,200
91 Sauk Centre 4,342 $48,783 $138,100
92 Renville 1,383 $43,750 $77,400
93 Warroad 1,759 $42,045 $118,800
94 Lewiston 1,538 $59,821 $144,200
95 Edgerton 1,210 $48,382 $94,100
96 Olivia 2,327 $58,229 $99,600
97 Minneota 1,380 $56,776 $97,000
98 Sherburn 1,078 $46,724 $78,500
99 Mountain Iron 2,879 $52,083 $123,500
100 Benson 3,130 $42,875 $97,900

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