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Thrive Up North

About Itasca County

Thanks to its diverse economic base and natural beauty, our region trends in northern Minnesota with steady population growth and a population that has grown younger over the past decade. With loyal and welcoming residents, it’s easy to see why so many who discover our area’s assets will make the Itasca County area their forever home. 

Why Live Here?

  • Average Commute Time - 16.3 Minutes
  • Average Rent - 25.4% less than Minnesota Average
  • Cost of Living - ⅓ less than Twin Cities Metro
  • Homeownership - 80%


The Itasca County area also cares for its residents through all stages of life. Personalized care is the hallmark of our healthcare system, with more physicians per person than state and national averages. escape the stress of city life in some of the purest waters in the nation, and enjoy the clean air and safe streets of a tight-knit, supportive community.  

In the last Community Profile release, Healthcare and Education Services came in at the top with a workforce of 5,095 total employed at a top total payroll of $193,671,140.


Itasca County is home to some of the most robust entrepreneurs in the country - they call Itasca County home because the quality of life meets the expectations for business. Entrepreneurship does more than provide employment opportunities – it creates market disruption and inspires new products and services that can change whole systems and support better standards of living for individuals and communities. Entrepreneurship gives people options, and within Itasca County the options are endless.

Outdoor Recreation & Nightlife

Outside of work and education, Itasca County provides plenty of opportunity to play! With a fun and inviting nightlife, we have breweries and restaurants that are sure to meet your needs. Residents in Itasca County are able to truly get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Easy access to natural amenities helps you find a lake, a trail or a scenic destination just about anywhere. These opportunities make it seem almost effortless to “Thrive Up North.” Please follow the links below to both see all the “things-to-do” in our area.


Within our safe and affordable real estate markets are school districts that provide an outstanding education to our future workforce. Through a unique collaboration, the Itasca Area Schools Collaborative ( was established to form a sense of partnership in our k12 community to bring forth an increase in educational opportunities for Itasca County students. The school districts included in IASC are: Grand Rapids Public School District (, Greenway Public School District (, Deer River Public School District (, Floodwood School District (, Nashwauk-Keewatin School District (, Northland Community Schools ( , and Itasca Community College (

Cost of Living

Real Estate markets in Itasca County allow residents to escape long commutes, never sit in traffic, and enjoy homes that provide both easy access to a relaxing spot called “home” as well as a supportive community. Statistical studies were performed for the local community profile. There were three statistics that really stuck out with regard to cost of living:

  • Average Itasca County Rent is 25.4% less than Minnesota Average Rent.
  • Average area commute time to work is only 16.3 minutes whereas the Minnesota average is 23.2 minutes.
  • The cost of living for a family of four is 1/3 less than that of the Twin Cities metro.

Safety & Sense of Community

Community Pride, Safety & Security

In the Itasca area, the nature of our community reflects the strength and spirit of the lakes, rivers, and trees we call home. We’re fiercely proud of the people, places and culture that make us who we are. We celebrate community accomplishments and rally together to lift each other during tough times. We call this, Itasca Strong! We’re good neighbors, avid hometown fans, passionate arts patrons, and adventure seekers. Take a drive down one of our city streets or country roads and you’ll see kids riding bikes, neighbors waving and so many people outside -- enjoying the beauty of the Northwoods!

About Thrive Up North

thrive up north

Thrive Up North is a collaborative rural recruitment marketing campaign that showcases the Itasca County Communities as a place that offers a great work life balance, good place to start a business, and a great place to raise a family.

We want to leverage the success of existing industry, businesses, and individual entrepreneurs to attract new professionals, entrepreneurs and corporations to relocate or start a new business in the Itasca County communities.

Privacy Policy

The Thrive Up North Task Force oversees the operations behind This policy was created to notify you that we use your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) to gather useful and timely logged data to promote our community to potential future residents. PII may include, but is not limited to; your name, email or phone number.  The logged data is the information that we gather from site visits, link redirects, length of your site visits, time and dates of your site visits and more. By visiting our site, you are agreeing to the collection and use of your PII through our logged data. 

To learn more about the data this site collects or exercise your right to know, delete, and opt-out refer to the Privacy Manager Tool.


Thrive Up North would like to thank all of our funders for their help in making this campaign possible. Without you, people outside of our area may not have been able to see all that Itasca County has to offer. Our campaign has been supported by an amazing group of partners that formed a Thrive Up North Taskforce. Their hard work and effort is truly appreciated and never goes unnoticed. Your dedication to our area outshines any other. Thank you.