The list of the best small towns to call home in Minnesota for 2021 has been released, and a Central Minnesota town has made it into the top 10.

This list was put together by, using criteria from Census's 2015-2019 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The results are based on things like:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
  • Commute Times (Lower is better)

To determine what classified as a small town, they looked at towns with populations lower than 5,000, and greater than 1,000 giving them 216 towns to compare.

1. Deephaven

Population: 3,879 -- Median Income: $139,531 -- Median Home Value: $570,700

Deephaven is located in Hennepin County on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Being 12 miles outside of downtown Minneapolis allows for a short commute to work, great job opportunities, and it is the birthplace of the Minnetonka Yacht Club.

2. Tonka Bay

Population: 1,570 -- Median Income: $133,000 -- Median Home Value: $661,400

Tonka Bay is also located in Hennepin County on Lake Minnetonka between the upper and lower lakes. With plenty of parks and fun to be had on Lake Minnetonka, plus the close proximity to Minneapolis, it's easy to see why this town ranked so high.


Population: 3,723 -- Median Income: $78,221  -- Median Home Value: $248,900

Originally named "South Stillwater", the city of Bayport is located on the St. Croix River. Naturally, that location lends itself to an association with boating. A fun fact about Bayport is that the entire town has a total area of only 1.75 square miles according to the US Census Bureau. 

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4. Dilworth

Population: 4,410 -- Median Income: $80,219 -- Median Home Value: $221,100

The next town on the list takes us north to the Fargo-Moorehead area where Dilworth is one of the core cities. Dilworth has the benefit of being close to a big city area while being able to keep the small-town charm.

5. Oronoco

Population: 1,577 -- Median Income: $121,250 -- Median Home Value: $308,100

Oronoco is a city in Olmsted County, situated along the Middle Fork of the Zumbro River. The city's website states:

From the historic downtown district to the sprawling acreages of newer developments, a beautiful park and trail system that continues to expand, many residents in Oronoco admit to feeling just a bit spoiled.

6. Wayzata

Population: 4,561 -- Median Income: $86,852 -- Median Home Value: $523,600

Located nine miles from Minneapolis, Wayzata is another one of those small towns that gets the benefit of being near big-city amenities while still retaining the small town title. Also located on the shores of Lake Minnetonka Wayzata is popular among boaters, shoppers, and restaurant-goers.

7. Carver

Population: 4,771 -- Median Income: $114,906 -- Median Home Value: $337,500

The hometown of MyPillow creator Mike Lindell, Carver is located in the county of the same name. In summer 2007, the White House named Carver a Preserve America Community due to its historical significance.

8. Circle Pines

Population: 4,950 -- Median Income: $83,224 -- Median Home Value: $197,100

The Circle Pines website details that safe neighborhoods, a wide range of housing options, highly rated schools, and easy access to both Minneapolis and St. Paul all make the small town a great place to live.

9. Scanlon

Population: 1,181 -- Median Income: $67,560 -- Median Home Value: $149,300

The city website does a great job of selling this town as one of the best:

One of the best resources the city has is the wonderful people who live here. They are warm, friendly, and take great pride in their city. Just take a drive around the city and you will see beautiful gardens, lush lawns and many smiling faces.

10. Avon

Population: 1,670 -- Median Income: $77,206 -- Median Home Value: $174,900

Representing Central Minnesota in the top 10 is Avon:

Fifteen minutes from St. Cloud to the east and 90 minutes from the Twin Cities to the southeast, Avon boasts the best of both worlds: small town living and community life with easy access to big city convenience and pleasure.

It truly is the best of both worlds out in Avon.

Check out the full list of the best small towns to live in Minnesota for 2021 here. 

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