Arenac County, Michigan

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Arenac County, Michigan
Map of Michigan highlighting Arenac County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded 1883[1]
Seat Standish
Largest city Standish
 • Total 680.81 sq mi (1,763 km2)
 • Land 366.84 sq mi (950 km2)
 • Water 313.97 sq mi (813 km2), 46.12%
 • (2010) 17,269
 • Density 47/sq mi (18/km²)
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Arenac County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,269.[2] The county seat is Standish.[3]


Arenac County was organized in 1883 and the name Arenac, coined by Henry Schoolcraft, is a derivation of the Latin "arena" and the Native American "ac". The combined words mean “A sandy place for a good footing.”[1][4]


  • According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 680.81 square miles (1,763.3 km2), of which 366.84 square miles (950.1 km2) (or 53.88%) is land and 313.97 square miles (813.2 km2) (or 46.12%) is water.[5]

Geographic features[edit]


Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 5,683
1900 9,821 72.8%
1910 9,640 −1.8%
1920 9,460 −1.9%
1930 8,007 −15.4%
1940 9,233 15.3%
1950 9,644 4.5%
1960 9,860 2.2%
1970 11,149 13.1%
1980 14,706 31.9%
1990 14,931 1.5%
2000 17,269 15.7%
2010 15,899 −7.9%
Est. 2012 15,477 −2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
2012 Estimate[7]

As of the 2000 census,[8] there were 17,269 people, 6,710 households, and 4,717 families residing in the county. The population density was 47 people per square mile (18/km²). There were 9,563 housing units at an average density of 26 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.38% White, 1.82% Black or African American, 0.95% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 1.33% from two or more races. 1.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 24.0% were of German, 14.1% Polish, 11.6% French, 10.6% American, 7.9% English, 6.8% Irish and 5.3% French Canadian ancestry according to Census 2000. 96.9% spoke English and 1.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 6,710 households out of which 29.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.00% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% were non-families. 25.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.30% under the age of 18, 7.80% from 18 to 24, 26.80% from 25 to 44, 25.50% from 45 to 64, and 16.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 105.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,805, and the median income for a family was $39,033. Males had a median income of $31,205 versus $20,363 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,300. About 11.30% of families and 13.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.70% of those under age 18 and 7.80% of those age 65 or over.


In early 2007, plans were confirmed for a casino located outside of the city of Standish with a scheduled opening by the end of the year; operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.[9] The Saganing Eagles Landing Casino grand opening was held Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 2690 Worth Road.[10]


The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Arenac County elected officials[edit]

(information as of March 2009)

Cities, villages, and townships[edit]





Recurrent events[edit]

  • Sunrise Side Heritage Bike Ride, first weekend in September. Ride Along Lake Huron Shoreline (US 23) from the Arenac County fairgrounds to Mackinac Bridge then South to West Branch on M-33 and M-55 . This is a 400-mile long organized ride.[12]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°03′N 83°45′W / 44.05°N 83.75°W / 44.05; -83.75