COVID-19 in Rural Minnesota, by the numbers

Marnie Werner, VP Research

Whitney Oachs, Research Associate

Kelly Asche, Research Associate

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, there has still been little research on the impact of the coronavirus on rural communities or the accompanying public health and economic measures taken to control its spread.

In Minnesota, like the rest of the nation, the largest spikes in active cases occurred in the larger population centers in the state, but rural Minnesotans still felt the effects of the pandemic.

In this mostly data-driven report, we’ll give an overview of the pandemic’s impact on Minnesota as a state and also by region and by “ruralness,” looking at health statistics, the healthcare system, the impact on workforce and childcare, which have all seen major shifts since March 2020. As more data becomes available, we will continue to flesh out this report.

To read the full report and interact with the data, go to