Albert Lea is a city located in Freeborn County in southeast Minnesota. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 18,356. It is the county seat of Freeborn County. The city is at the junction of I-90 and I-35, about 90 miles south of the Twin Cities. It is on the shore of Fountain Lake, which is part of the Shell Rock River flowage. Its early growth was based upon agriculture, farming support services and manufacturing. At one time it was the site of Cargill's headquarters. Other manufacturing included Edwards Manufacturing, Scotsman Ice Machines and Universal Milking Machines. Like many U.S. towns much of the manufacturing base has diminished. A long-time center of the city's job opportunity was the Wilson & Company meat packing plant, later know as Festival. This facility was destroyed by fire.6.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 32.5 km2 (12.6 mi2). 27.9 km2 (10.8 mi2) of it is land and 4.6 km2 (1.8 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 14.17% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 18,356 people, 7,785 households, and 4,826 families residing in the city. The population density is 657.4/km2 (1,702.5/mi2). There are 8,133 housing units at an average density of 291.3/km2 (754.3/mi2). The racial makeup of the city is 92.80% White, 0.37% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.54% from other races, and 1.18% from two or more races. 9.48% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 7,785 households out of which 26.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% are married couples living together, 9.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.0% are non-families. 33.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 16.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.28 and the average family size is 2.88.
In the city the population is spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 21.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 41 years. For every 100 females there are 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $32,841, and the median income for a family is $42,407. Males have a median income of $31,383 versus $21,114 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,979. 10.2% of the population and 6.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 10.6% of those under the age of 18 and 10.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.