Dakota County is the third-most populous county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 398,552. The county seat is Hastings. Dakota County is named after the Dakota Sioux tribal bands who settled in the area. The name is recorded as "Dahkotah" in the United States Census records until 1851.
Dakota County is included in the Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN–WI Metropolitan Statistical Area, the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States with about 3.3 million residents. The county is bordered by the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers on the north, and the state of Wisconsin on the east.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 587 square miles (1,520 km²), of which 562 square miles (1,460 km²) is land and 25 square miles (65 km²) (4.2%) is water. The surface is nearly level.
According to the 2010 census, Dakota County had a population of 398,552, of which 195,661 (49.1%) were male and 202,891 (50.9%) were female. In terms of age, 76.7% of the population were 16 years and over, 73.6% were 18 years and over, 70.5% were 21 years and over, 12.8% were 62 years and over, and 10.0% were 65 years and over. The median age was 36.8 years. The median age for males was 35.7; the median age for females was 37.9.
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