The Northland consists of eight counties covering two states, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The vast area called the Arrowhead Region covers Koochiching down to Carlton Counties and everything east. Douglas County is the lone county in Wisconsin because it is part of the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), along with Carlton and St. Louis counties in Minnesota.
The entire Northland shares a common environment, culture, and identity. Within it, however, is a wide range of different communities, each with its own unique history and strengths. The Northland’s diverse communities provide a variety of options for anyone seeking to start or expand a business. These community profiles provide economic and demographic overviews of each city, town, and county in the region. Explore them to learn what each one brings to the table.
Click below to find available properties in the Northland region along with comprehensive community data.
The Northland’s diverse economy is built around nine major industry sectors, which range from natural resources to manufacturing to services such as tourism and healthcare. All are brought together by a strong transportation network, a major investment-owned utility, and a half dozen electric cooperatives.
The region set out to diversify its industry in the 1980s, which helped carry it through troubled economic times. The Northland is uniquely positioned to directly and competitively penetrate U.S., Canadian, and global markets. The region’s multi-faceted business climate provides great opportunity to supply large-scale industrial developments and entrepreneurial endeavors. The region’s quality of life makes it an attractive place to live, work, and play.
Our largest economic hub is the City of Duluth, the largest city in the area with more than 86,000 people. Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin combine to form the Twin Ports at the head of Lake Superior and the world’s largest freshwater port. Duluth, Superior, and outlying communities such as Cloquet, Hermantown, Proctor, and Rice Lake combine to form a metropolitan area with a population over 200,000.
To the north, the Iron Range spans across the eastern half of Itasca County and northern St. Louis County. The raw materials that built the American steel industry were mined on the ranges of northern Minnesota, and mining remains central to the region’s economy, even as it diversifies. The cities of Grand Rapids, Hibbing, and Virginia form the main centers of economic activity on the Range.
Up the North Shore of Lake Superior in Lake County, Two Harbors and Silver Bay maintain their roles in the supply chain for traditional mining, forestry, and shipping industries while welcoming tourists seeking out its stunning natural beauty. Up in Koochiching County, International Falls features a large paper mill and easy access to pristine lakes along the Canadian Border. In the southwestern corner of the region, Aitkin County maintains a strong rural character and enjoys innovative growth in a number of traditional industries.