The metropolitan area is an immigrant gateway which had a 127% increase in foreign-born residents between 1990 and 2000.
Among U.S. cities as of 2006, Minneapolis has the fourth-highest percentage of gay, lesbian, or bisexual people in the adult population.
Minneapolis was influenced by its early Scandinavian and Lutheran heritage and hosts the largest Somali population in North America. St. Paul was influenced by its early French, Irish and German Catholic roots and currently hosts a thriving Hmong population.
Saint Paul has a population of 285,068.
The area is part of a larger U.S. Census division named Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN-WI. It is the country's 15th-largest metropolitan area composed of 11 counties in Minnesota and two counties in Wisconsin, 182 cities and towships, with a population of 3,422,264 as of the 2010 Census.
Dakota Sioux were the region's sole residents until French explorers arrived around 1680. Minneapolis grew up around Saint Anthony Falls, the highest waterfall on the Mississippi. The history and economic growth of Minneapolis are tied to water, the city's defining physical characteristic. During the 1950s and 1960s, as part of urban renewal, the city razed about 200 buildings across 25 city blocks (roughly 40% of downtown), destroying the Gateway District and many buildings with notable architecture including the Metropolitan Building.