Minnesota boasts diverse population, healthy environment

Located in America’s Midwestern heartland, Minnesota is one of the United States’ healthiest states and home to a large immigrant community and thriving business sector.

The state consistently ranks high in public health, diversity, environment and business innovation.

Minnesota is a candidate to host the world’s Specialised Expo in 2027. Expos, also known as world’s fairs, promote people-to-people ties and cooperation among nations. The global event allows participating nations to recognize gains made in science and technology, as well as social progress.

People viewing waterfall from hillside path and bridge above (© Jim Mone/AP)
Young people get a close-up view of the fast-flowing Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis in May 2013. (© Jim Mone/AP)

“Minnesota is the perfect choice to provide a sustainable, innovative global exposition,” President Biden wrote in a June 2022 letter to the Bureau International des Expositions in France, the organization that supervises the event.

Minnesota’s proposed theme is “Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Wellness and Well-Being for All,” a concept that acknowledges the need to emphasize public health in light of COVID-19 and the climate crisis.

“We would like to be part of the conversation about what we can all do to create a healthier planet and healthier people,” John Stanoch, president and chief executive of Minnesota USA Expo 2027, told ShareAmerica.

Man cycling with two women in seat on the front of his bike (© Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune/Getty Images)
Tony Desnick of Cycling Without Age picks up Sister Susan Smith and Sister Rosalind Gefre near St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2019 as part of program to get seniors on bikes even if they have limited mobility. (© Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune/Getty Images)

Stanoch emphasized the state’s high rate of volunteerism and civic engagement and its history of hosting successful events such as the Super Bowl (the U.S. championship pro football game), college basketball championships and political conventions.

Some of the state’s highlights:

Living well

Woman and man fishing from kayak on lake near sailboats (© Jim Mone/AP)
Kayakers try their luck at fishing as sailing enthusiasts navigate the waters of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis in July 2013. In 2020, the lake’s name was changed to Bde Maka Ska, the name traditionally used by the area’s indigenous residents. (© Jim Mone/AP)

U.S. News & World Report ranked Minnesota the United States’ healthiest state in 2022. Strong health outcomes are tied to residents’ ready access to natural resources, such as the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and more than 10,000 lakes. Stanoch describes the area as a unique combination: a thriving urban area surrounded by nature.

Man holding onto rails and walking with prosthetics on both legs (© John Autey/MediaNews Group/St. Paul Pioneer Press/Getty Images)
Andrii Sobkovskyi, a Ukrainian soldier and double leg amputee, practices walking on prosthetic legs without crutches at the Protez Foundation clinic in Oakdale, Minnesota, in March. (© John Autey/MediaNews Group/St. Paul Pioneer Press/Getty Images)

Several major health technology companies make their home in the state’s Medical Alley, lending Minnesota its reputation as the “Silicon Valley of Healthcare.” Patients worldwide visit the Mayo Clinic, the highest-ranked medical center in the United States.

“We always had a focus on health as a cultural attribute,” Stanoch said. “We are an active population and have an amazing medical and health community.”

Innovators in food, health

Sixteen Fortune 500 companies have headquarters in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. Nine Fortune 500 companies in the health and wellness sector operate in Minnesota.

Two women in lab coats and head coverings holding and tasting liquid in small cup (© Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune/Getty Images)
Scientists Melinda Montgomery, left, and Terri VanderPol taste test a prototype sports drink at the Cargill research facility in Minnesota. (© Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune/Getty Images)

Cargill, the world’s largest private corporation, is located in Minnesota, exporting beef, poultry and egg products around the world. Other major food companies calling the state home include General Mills, producer of breakfast cereals and snacks; Land O’ Lakes, a dairy products company; and Hormel Foods, best known for its Spam meat product.

Tractor cutting hayfield in geometric pattern (© Ricky Caroti/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
Minnesota ranks among the top five producers of agricultural products (crops and livestock) in the United States. This farm in Montgomery is shown in 2019. (© Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

With plenty of farmland and researchers, the state also leads the U.S. in the number of food patents per capita.

Other Minnesota-based companies include Medtronic, a medical device company; 3M, which makes N95 respirators; and Ecolab, whose products help to keep food and water clean and prevent infections.

Welcoming the world

Man hanging welcome postcard among others hanging from laundry line (© Jerry Holt/Star Tribune/Getty Images)
Kevin Le hangs his postcard among others with messages of support for Minnesota’s newest immigrants and refugees during the 2017 Twin Cities World Refugee Day festival. (@ Jerry Holt/Star Tribune/Getty Images)

Ethnic diversity is a hallmark of the state’s history. Norwegians and French Canadians who arrived in the 19th century were followed by immigrants from every region.

Minnesota is home to the largest Hmong, Nepali and Somali populations in the United States. All religious faith communities play an active role in helping immigrants get acclimated, Stanoch said.

Performers in traditional Somali clothing waving flags, with audience in seats (© Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune/Getty Images)
Performers wave the Somali flag and dance to Somali pop music at the Minneapolis Convention Center in December 2022. They are awaiting the arrival of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was visiting after attending the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington. (© Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune/Getty Images)

Other state residents claiming African descent hail from Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria. Large communities also trace their roots to Germany, Laos, Mexico, Norway, Thailand and Vietnam.

Laotian dancers performing in a community center (© Jerry Holt/Star Tribune/Getty Images)
Members of the Minnesota Bright Starts dance group perform during a celebration at the Lao Family Community Center in St. Paul to honor contributions of Hmong Americans to Minnesota. (© Jerry Holt/Star Tribune/Getty Images)

“There are a lot of beautiful sites in the state,” Stanoch said. “We are just a kind, generous, welcoming people, and we would love to show our Minnesota hospitality to the world.”

Argentina, Serbia, Spain and Thailand are also bidding to host the event. The Bureau International des Expositions will vote on the host nation in June.