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Codes for the Identification of Counties in Minnesota

Date Issued: Approved by the Minnesota Governor's Council on Geographic Information on April 3, 1997


This standard provides a set of codes that uniquely identify each of the 87 counties within the state of Minnesota for the purpose of information interchange among data processing systems. This standard originates from the International Committee for Information Standards INCITS 31:2009 and is recognized as a formal national standard by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute.

Applicability: Who cares about these standards? This standard is important to all developers of public databases containing information about Minnesota counties

When do they apply? When do they not apply? This standard has been developed to improve the exchange of public data about counties. Use of this standard is mandatory when both of the following conditions exist:

  • a state agency is transferring data to an external customer, AND
  • no other previously-agreed-to coding scheme for counties has been designated.

Use of this standard is recommended when local governments exchange data, or when any new public databases are being designed that incorporate a coding scheme for counties. Use of this standard by local government, the private sector and the public is strongly encouraged, but voluntary. This standard applies to data that are being transferred, and does not attempt to restrict how those data are internally stored or used.

Purpose of this Standard: The purpose of this standard is to provide a single, common coding scheme to identify all counties in Minnesota. It is intended to be used primarily when data are being transferred between a state agency and external customers. Its use will improve the sharing of data resources by avoiding unnecessary duplication and reducing incompatibilities in collecting, processing and disseminating data.

Standard Requirements: This standard provides a structure for establishing a set of three-digit codes to be used when representing the 87 counties of the state of Minnesota. This standard is equivalent to the Minnesota portion of INCITS 31:2009. County names and identifying data codes are listed below.

Aitkin001Lac qui Parle073Stearns145
Becker005Lake of the Woods077Stevens149
Beltrami007Le Sueur079Swift151
Big Stone011Lyon083Traverse155
Blue Earth013McLeod085Wabasha157
Chippewa023Mille Lacs095Wilkin167
Clearwater029Murray101Yellow Medicine173
Crow Wing035Norman107
Dodge039Otter Tail111
Hennepin053Red Lake125
Kanabec065Saint Louis137

Compliance: What constitutes compliance? Agencies must be capable of translating their data into a form consistent with this standard for the purpose of exchanging data between organizations. Agencies may continue to store data in alternate formats of their choice, provided the capability exists to readily convert them, if requested by a customer. It is recommended that agencies integrate this standard into their data processing systems whenever possible.

How will compliance be measured? Evidence of compliance will be determined based on reports of satisfactory data transfers from receiving customers.

References and Sources of More Information:

The International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) is a recognized forum for information technology developers, producers and users for the creation and maintenance of formal IT standards. INCITS is accredited by, and operates under rules approved by, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

The standard, INCITS 31:2009 is titled, Information Technology - Codes for the Identification of Counties and Equivalent Areas of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Insular Areas. INCITS 31:2009 replaces the Federal Information Processing Standard FIPS 6-4, which was withdrawn from service by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2002.

Further information about this standard may be obtained from the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo), 300 Centennial Building, 658 Cedar Street; St. Paul, MN 55155;phone: 651-201-2499, email:

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