Stearns County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesota, founded in 1855. As of 2006, the population was 144,096 (133,166 in 2000). Its county seat is St. Cloud. It was named after Charles Thomas Stearns, a local politician. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,390 square miles (3,600 kmē), of which, 1,345 square miles (3,482 kmē) of it is land and 45 square miles (118 kmē) of it (3.27%) is water.