About Houston County

Four years before Minnesota was admitted to the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858, Houston County was chartered after its division from the eastern half of Fillmore County on April 4, 1854. The county seat was the village of Houston for a few years, but the county board moved the official records to Caledonia for safe storage in the cabin of Commissioner Samuel McPhail. The first court hearings were held in that cabin, and a one-story courthouse and jail was built in Caledonia in 1857. Turmoil over the county seat continued, a two-story building was built in Caledonia in 1867, and several referenda allowed Caledonia to prevail as the county seat by 1874. From that point on, Caledonia prospered, and Houston slowly diminished. The only other area of prominence was La Crescent, which benefited from its connection to La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The county name was chosen to honor Sam Houston, who was president of Texas before its annexation by the United States and afterward was a senator from that state. In the years 1854-56, when antagonism between the North and South on slavery questions would lead eventually to the Civil War, Houston aspired to nomination as the Democratic candidate for the national presidency. In October 1854, the general Democratic committee of New Hampshire recommended him as “the people’s candidate” for the campaign in 1856. His popularity in Minnesota at that time recommended the name of this county, and, likewise, counties in Tennessee and Texas and cities and villages in Texas, Mississippi, Missouri, and other states bear his name.

Minnesota Top Ten Employers

EmployerService or ProductNumber of Employees
Mayo ClinicMedical Care48,200 employees
Allina Health SystemHealth Care40,663 employees
State of MinnesotaState Government36,002 employees
United States Federal Government Federal Government31,936 employees
Fairview Health ServicesHealth Care31,758 employees
University of MinnesotaPublic University26,331 employees
HealthPartnersHealth Care 25,000 employees
Walmart Merchandise and Grocery 24,771 employees
UnitedHealth Group Inc. Health Care 18,000 employees
Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota Banking16,000 employees

Source: Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, July 13, 2022

Economic Overview

lightcast, 2023

Region Takeaways

    • As of 2022 the region’s population increased by 1.1% since 2017, growing by 197. Population is expected to increase by 1.8% between 2022 and 2027, adding 334.
    • From 2017 to 2022, jobs declined by 3.9% in Houston County, MN from 5,786 to 5,562. This change fell short of the national growth rate of 3.4% by 7.3%. As the number of jobs declined, the labor force participation rate decreased from 71.1% to 68.4% between 2017 and 2022.
    • Concerning educational attainment, 18.6% of Houston County, MN residents possess a Bachelor’s Degree (2.2% below the national average), and 18.0% hold an Associate’s Degree (9.1% above the national average).
    • The top three industries in 2022 are Education and Hospitals (Local Government), Local Government, Excluding Education and Hospitals, and Specialized Freight Trucking.

lightcast, 2023

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