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University of Minnesota Extension
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Community research

Our educators work with communities across Minnesota. They conduct research on community-focused topics, such as understanding local economics, retaining businesses, growing retail markets, getting to know consumers and developing tourism.

Featured research

View o an ethanol indutry plant

$6.6 billion of economic activity generated, 20,914 jobs, and $2.5 billion to the state's GDP. Read more findings from the 2023 report.

Attendees excited and sporting school colors at a Minnesota State University Mankato (MNSU) homecoming celebration.

Increasing non-student attendance by 25% to 3,621 would increase the total economic impact to $392,726. Read more key findings from Extension's report.

 People playing in an outdoor volleyball match at the Hmong International Freedom Festival.

The 2023 festival generated $4.5 million in economic activity. Read more findings.

Completed reports and surveys

Our reports are listed by location (region, state, national or international) and topic. There are the five regions in Minnesota:

  • Northwest
  • Northeast
  • Central
  • Southwest
  • Southeast

Note: Completed reports are not available for every county or location listed below.

About our topics

  • Developing tourism: examines current issues and opportunities for communities and the tourism industry in Minnesota and beyond.
  • Getting to know consumers: examines and profiles consumer behavior.
  • Growing retail markets: examines the strengths and weaknesses of retail sectors in communities and counties across Minnesota.
  • Housing: examines housing challenges in small rural communities in Minnesota.
  • Retaining businesses: features findings from community interviews with existing businesses about the local business climate. Reports may also highlight the strategic actions the communities identified in their business retention and expansion work.
  • Understanding local economies: examines the effects of economic change in communities, regions and states.

Statewide in Minnesota

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Northwest

This region includes these counties:

Becker, Clay, Clearwater, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, Traverse, Wadena, Wilkin

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Northeast

This region includes these counties:

Aitkin, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, St. Louis, Todd

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Central

This region includes these counties:

Anoka, Benton, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, McLeod, Meeker, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington, Wright

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Southwest

This region includes these counties:

Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Pope, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Stevens, Swift, Watonwan, Yellow Medicine

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Southeast

This region includes these counties: 

Blue Earth, Brown, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Le Sueur, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Rice, Sibley, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Winona

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Non-region specific

Research reports or studies that are not related to any specific region or location.

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National

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Consult with us

Community economics • Leadership and civic engagement • Tourism

Extension educators work in communities with partners throughout Minnesota. Contact us for consultation, guidance and conversation about your community.

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