Oakland County, Michigan
|Oakland County, Michigan|
Location in the state of Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
|Founded||January 12, 1819|
908.00 sq mi (2,352 km²)
872.51 sq mi (2,260 km²)
35.49 sq mi (92 km²), 3.91%
1,391/sq mi (537/km²)
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
Oakland County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. The 2010 Census recorded a population of 1,202,362. The county seat is Pontiac. Oakland County is part of the Detroit metropolitan area, though the city of Detroit is located in neighboring Wayne County, south of 8 Mile Road. It is among the ten highest income counties in the United States with populations over one million people. Oakland County is home to 62 cities, villages and townships. These communities range from blue-collar, inner-ring suburbs like Ferndale and Hazel Park, to affluent cities such as Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield Township, Oakland Township and Franklin. The white-collar cities of Troy, Southfield, Farmington Hills, and Auburn Hills host a rich mix of Fortune 500 companies and international firms. The cities of Royal Oak and Ferndale attract many young people to their mature, bohemian downtowns, which have many restaurants, shops and night clubs. Oakland County is also home to Oakland University, a large public institution that straddles the Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills border.
The county's knowledge-based economic initiative, coined "Automation Alley", is one of the largest employment centers for engineering and related occupations in the United States. Oakland County has shared in the recent economic hardships brought on by troubles at General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, although it has fared better than Detroit and Flint, as its economy is more diverse and less reliant on manufacturing jobs. All three automotive companies are major employers within southeast Michigan and have a significant presence within Oakland County.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 908.00 square miles (2,351.7 km2), of which 872.51 square miles (2,259.8 km2) (or 96.09%) is land and 35.49 square miles (91.9 km2) (or 3.91%) is water.
Oakland County was originally divided into 25 separate townships, which are listed below. Each township is roughly equal in size at six miles (10 km) by six miles, for a total township area of 36 square miles (93 km2). The roots of this design were born out of the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the subsequent Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Oakland County itself is a prime example of the land policy that was established, as all townships are equal in size (save for slight variations due to waterways). Section 16 in each township was reserved for financing and maintaining public education, and even today many schools in Oakland County townships are located within that section.
Wayne County, where the city of Detroit is located, borders Oakland County to the south. The southern boundary is 8 Mile Road, also known as "Baseline Road" in some areas. The baseline was used during the original surveying for Michigan, and it serves as the northern/southern boundaries for counties from Lake St. Clair all the way to Lake Michigan. This divide (8 Mile Road) was historically known as an unofficial racial dividing line between the largely black city and almost exclusively white suburbs. In recent years, however, the patterns of de facto segregation have faded, as middle-class African-Americans depart the city for inner-ring suburbs, notably Southfield (75.08%), west of Woodward Avenue. Based on the 2010 Census, cities like Farmington (25.3%), Farmington Hills (31.7%), Novi (30.12%),Oak Park (62.61%), Lathrup Village (72.97%), Orchard Lake Village (16.08%), Rochester Hills (20.94%), Troy (29.4%), Wixom (26.28%), West Bloomfield (24.0%), Bloomfield (18.28%), Bloomfield Hills (14.2%), Ferndale (17.2%), and Madison Heights (17.7%) have significant non-white populations, most notably African American and Asian Americans.
Adjacent counties 
- Lapeer County (northeast)
- Genesee County (northwest)
- Macomb County (east)
- Wayne County (southeast)
- Washtenaw County (southwest)
- Livingston County (west)
||Genesee County||Genesee County
|Livingston County||Macomb County|
|Washtenaw County||Wayne County||Wayne County (Detroit)|
As of the 2010 Census, there were 1,202,362 people and 315,175 families residing in the county. In 2010, the racial makeup of the county was 75.1% White, 13.6% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 5.6% Asian American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.84% from other races, and 1.86% from two or more races. 3.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 527,255 housing units at an average density of 564 per square mile (218/km²).
Regarding ancestry, in 2000 14.4% of the population were ethnically German, 9.0% Irish, 8.5% English, 8.5% Polish, 5.7% Italian and 5.5% American, according to Census 2000. 87.4% spoke only English at home; 2.0% spoke Spanish, 1.3% Syriac (Neo Aramaic) and 1.0% Arabic. The population density as of the 2000 census was 1,369 people per square mile (528/km²). There were 492,006 housing units at an average density of 564 per square mile (218/km²).
The 2000 census showed two Native American tribes with more than 1,000 members in Oakland County. There were 2,095 Cherokee and 1,458 Chippewa.
The Jewish community of metropolitan Detroit, with a population of 72,000, is the 21st largest Jewish community in the nation. This community is concentrated in Oakland County, especially in West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills, Farmington Hills, Troy and Huntington Woods.
There were 471,115 households, of which 32.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them. 54.20% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.10% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.09.
Among Asian Americans, eight ethnic groups had more than 1,000 members in the county in 2000. The most numerous were those of Asian Indian descent, with 20,705. Next were those of Chinese heritage, numbering 10,018. Next were those of Japanese (5,589), Filipino (5,450) Korean (5,351), Vietnamese (1,687), Pakistani (1,458) and Hmong (1,210) ancestry.
The county's population was spread out in terms of age, with 25.20% of people under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 32.40% from 25 to 44, 23.90% from 45 to 64, and 11.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $61,907, and the median income for a family was $75,540 (these figures had risen to $62,308 and $79,589 respectively as of a 2009 estimate). Males had a median income of $55,833 versus $35,890 for females. The per capita income for the county was $32,534. About 3.80% of families and 5.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.50% of those under age 18 and 6.50% of those age 65 or over.
Created by territorial Gov. Lewis Cass in 1819, sparsely settled Oakland was twice its current size at first, but shrank as Michigan's population grew and new counties were established. Woodward Avenue and the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad helped draw settlers in the 1840s. By 1840, Oakland had more than fifty mills. Pontiac, located on the Clinton River, was Oakland's first town and became the county seat. After the Civil War, Oakland was mainly an agricultural county with numerous isolated villages. By the end of the 19th century, three rail lines served Pontiac and the city attracted carriage and wagon factories. Streetcars began moving people in the late 1890s.
Developers turned southern Oakland County into a suburb of Detroit in the 1890s, when a Cincinnati firm platted a section of Royal Oak called "Urbanrest." Migration worked both ways. Several thousand people moved from Oakland County farms to Detroit as the city attracted factories. By 1910, a number of rich Detroiters had summer homes and some year-round residences in what became Bloomfield Hills. The auto age enveloped Pontiac in the early 1900s. The Oakland Motor Car Company was founded in 1907 and became a part of General Motors Corp., which was soon Pontiac's dominant firm.
In the 1950s, the Detroit metropolitan population began migrating to the suburbs. Oakland County is among the ten highest income counties in the United States with more than one million population. The median price of a home in Oakland County skyrocketed to $164,697, more than $30,000 above the national median. Oakland County is home to popular super-regional shopping malls such as Somerset Collection, Twelve Oaks Mall, and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
The county government operates the jail, 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 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. Oakland County has an elected sheriff, and his or her law-enforcement services are used throughout the county. Fourteen cities/townships do not have municipal police forces, but rather contract with the sheriff for police services specific to the municipalities. For instance, the city of Rochester Hills does not have a "Rochester Hills Police Department," but instead has an established sheriff substation in the city with deputies who are dedicated to that city only. That branch operates as the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Hills substation. The sheriff operates in the same manner with other municipalities who opt not to have their own police agencies. This typically is a cost-effective way for municipalities to provide police services to its citizens. The county sheriff also maintains a civil division, marine division, alcohol and traffic enforcement units, and an aviation division.
Oakland County elected officials 
- County Executive: L. Brooks Patterson (Republican)
- Prosecuting Attorney: Jessica R. Cooper (Democrat)
- Sheriff: Mike Bouchard (Republican)
- County Clerk/Register of Deeds: Lisa Brown (Democrat)
- County Treasurer: Andy Meisner (Democrat)
- Water Resources Commissioner: Jim Nash (Democrat)
- Board of Commissioners: 25 members, elected from districts (15 Republicans, 10 Democrats)
Oakland County Commissioners District 01: Beth Nuccio, District 02: Robert Hoffman, District 03: Michael J. Gingell (Chairman of the Board of Commissioners), District 04: Thomas Middleton, District 05: John A. Scott, District 06: Jim Runestad, District 07: Christine Long, District 08: Philip J. Weipert, District 09: Kathy Crawford, District 10: Mattie M. Hatchett, District 11: Tim Greimel, District 12: Jeff Matis, District 13: Robert Gosselin, District 14: William Dwyer, District 15: Jim Nash, District 16: Shelley G. Taub, District 17: Marcia Gershenson, District 18: Dave Woodward, District 19: Mike Bosnic, District 20: David W. Potts, District 21: Janet Jackson, District 22: Helaine Zack, District 23: Nancy L. Quarles, District 24: Gary R. McGillivray, District 25: Craig Covey
(information as of January 2011)
Road Commission 
Roads that are not maintained by a local community (city/village) are maintained by the independent Road Commission for Oakland County, which is governed by three board members appointed by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. Road Commissioners: Eric. S. Wilson, Chairman; Gregory C. Jamian Vice Chairman; Ron Fowkes Dennis G. Kolar, Managing Director
|2012||53.40% 349,055||45.37% 296,531|
|2008||56.42% 373,270||41.94% 277,480|
|2004||49.75% 319,387||49.32% 316,633|
|2000||49.31% 281,201||48.10% 274,319|
|1996||47.84% 241,884||43.48% 219,855|
|1992||38.64% 214,733||43.57% 242,160|
|1988||37.78% 174,745||61.27% 283,359|
|1984||32.76% 150,286||66.71% 306,050|
|1980||35.58% 164,869||54.65% 253,211|
|1976||39.47% 164,266||58.69% 244,271|
|1972||34.16% 129,400||63.78% 241,613|
|1968||44.76% 154,630||45.31% 156,538|
|1964||61.44% 182,797||38.33% 114,025|
|1960||45.39% 135,531||54.27% 162,026|
Oakland County historically was a stronghold of the Republican Party, a classic bastion of suburban conservatism for most of the 20th century. However, since the 1990s it has become more of a swing county and has voted for the Democratic candidate for President in the last five elections. Democrats also hold four of the six county-wide elective offices.
In 1996, Bill Clinton became the first Democrat to secure the plurality of Oakland County presidential votes since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Al Gore and John Kerry also won by razor-thin pluralities with Oakland County voters against President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. In 2008, Barack Obama had a 14% majority in Oakland County, the first Democrat to win a majority in the country since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. (See chart at right). He again carried the county in 2012, though by a smaller margin.
In 2006, Oakland County favored incumbent Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) by 10 percent margin while favoring Attorney General Mike Cox (R) by 16% and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) by 21%. The Republican Party swept Oakland County's 2010 statewide elections favoring Governor Rick Snyder (R) by a 22 percent margin and nine percent margins for both AG Bill Schuette and SoS Ruth Johnson. However, most countywide offices are still held by Republicans, and Republicans still have a majority on the county commission.
In the 111th Congress, Oakland County is represented by two Democrats, Gary Peters and Sander Levin, and two Republicans, Thaddeus McCotter and Mike Rogers. Peters was elected in 2008 to represent the 9th District, which covers almost two-thirds of the county. The 9th and its predecessors had been held by Republicans for 75 years before Peters' election.
Current cities, villages, and townships 
1In the 2000 Census, Farmington Hills was the most populous city in the county. As of the 2005 Census estimates, Troy is now the most populous city.
2As of 2004, Hazel Park was the most densely populated city in the county.
- Beverly Hills
- Bingham Farms
- Lake Orion
- Wolverine Lake
Unincorporated communities 
Original chartered townships 1 
1 List is ordered based on the position of the township in the county.
2 Avon Township was incorporated as Rochester Hills.
* Currently an incorporated city.
- Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) (Romulus) - Major commercial airport, hub for Delta Air Lines and Spirit Airlines; located in Wayne County.
- Flint-Bishop International Airport(FNT) (Flint) - Commercial airport, which is located in neighboring Genesee County.
- Coleman A. Young International Airport (DET) (Detroit) - General aviation only. This airport is in neighboring Wayne County in the city of Detroit.
- Oakland County International Airport (PTK) Waterford Township) - Charter passenger facility.
Major highways 
- I-75 (Walter P. Chrysler Freeway) is the main north–south highway in the region, serving Flint, Pontiac, Troy, and Detroit, before continuing south (as the Fisher and Detroit-Toledo Freeways) to serve many of the communities along the shore of Lake Erie.
- I-96 runs northwest-southeast through Oakland County and (as the Jeffries Freeway) has its eastern terminus in downtown Detroit.
- I-275 runs north–south from I-75 in the south to the junction of I-96 and I-696 in the north, providing a bypass through the western suburbs of Detroit.
- I-696 (Walter P. Reuther Freeway) runs east–west from the junction of I-96 and I-275, providing a route through the northern suburbs of Detroit. Taken together, I-275 and I-696 form a semicircle around Detroit.
- US 24 ends north of Pontiac at I-75. To the south, US 24 serves suburban Detroit and Monroe before entering Ohio. Much of US 24 in Oakland County is named Telegraph Road, and it is a major north–south road extending from Toledo, Ohio, through Monroe, Wayne, and Oakland Counties to Pontiac. It gained notoriety in a song (Telegraph Road) by the group Dire Straits.
- M-1 (Woodward Avenue) has a northern terminus in Pontiac. The route continues southerly from Oakland County into the City of Detroit, ending downtown. The Detroit Zoo is located along M-1 in Oakland County. M-1 is also home to the Woodward Dream Cruise, a classic-car cruise from Pontiac to Ferndale that is held in August. It is the largest single-day classic-car cruise in America.
- M-10 (John C. Lodge Freeway) runs largely parallel to I-75 from Southfield to downtown Detroit. The service drives are named Northwestern Highway.
- M-15 (Ortonville Road, Main Street in Clarkston)
- M-24 (Lapeer Road) has a southern terminus at I-75 north of Pontiac. To the north, the route continues to Lapeer and beyond. Note: M-24 and US 24 do not intersect at present, although this was the case until the 1950s.
- M-39 (Southfield Freeway) runs north–south from Southfield to Allen Park from I-94. North of 10 Mile Road, the freeway ends and continues as Southfield Road into Birmingham.
- M-59 (Highland Road [from Pontiac westerly], Huron Street [within Pontiac] and Veterans Memorial Freeway [Pontiac to Utica]), continues east in Macomb County as Hall Road to Clinton Township and west to I-96 near Howell
- M-102 Perhaps better known as 8 Mile Road, M-102 follows the Oakland–Wayne county line for most of its length. 8 Mile Road, known by many due to the film 8 Mile, forms the dividing line between Detroit on the south and the suburbs of Macomb and Oakland counties on the north. It is also known as Baseline Road outside of Detroit, because it coincides with the baseline used in surveying Michigan; that baseline is also the boundary for a number of Michigan counties. It is designated M-102 for much of its length in Wayne County.
- M-150 (Rochester Road) serves as a spur highway from M-59 into the city of Rochester.
- Grand River Avenue connects the suburbs of Brighton, Novi, and Farmington to downtown Detroit. The avenue follows the route of old US 16, before I-96 replaced it in 1962. It is one of the five roads planned by Judge August Woodward to radiate out from Detroit and connect the city to other parts of the state.
Mile roads 
- Surface-street navigation in metro Detroit is commonly anchored by "mile roads," major east-west surface streets that are spaced at one-mile (1.6 km) intervals and increment as one travels north and away from the city center. Mile roads sometimes have two names, the numeric name (e.g., 15 Mile Road), used in Macomb County, and a local name (e.g., Maple Road), used in Oakland County (for the most part).
The conditions on most non-residential roads in Oakland County are not favorable to bicycling. Exceptions to this are primarily in the inner-ring suburbs within the southeast corner of the county. This is due to their street grid.
A primary reason for these unfavorable cycling conditions is the Road Commission for Oakland County has a policy of not accommodating bicycles on the road. As a result, some communities have designated sidepaths (locally called "safety paths") as bike routes which do not meet the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guidelines for bicycling facilities and have been found to be less safe than on-road bike facilities.
As a result, there are no designated Bicycle Friendly Communities within Oakland County.
Higher education 
Oakland County is home to several institutions of higher education.
- Baker College, Auburn Hills campus
- Oakland University, Rochester
- The Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Rochester campus
- Lawrence Technological University, Southfield
- Rochester College, Rochester
- South University, Novi campus
- Walsh College of Accountancy and Business, Troy and Novi campuses
- Oakland Community College, five campuses: Orchard Ridge, Auburn Hills, Southfield, Highland Lakes, and Royal Oak.
- Saint Mary's College of Madonna University, Orchard Lake
|Detroit Pistons||National Basketball Association||The Palace of Auburn Hills||1958 (moved to the Palace in 1988)||3|
|Detroit Shock||Womens National Basketball Association||Moved to Oklahoma, October 2009||1998||3|
|Oakland County Cruisers||FL, Baseball||Diamond at the Summit||2009||0|
The NFL's Detroit Lions played their home games at the Pontiac Silverdome from 1975 through 2001, when they moved to Ford Field in Downtown Detroit. The Silverdome was also the site of Super Bowl XVI, where the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, the first of 5 Super Bowl titles for the 49ers.
From 1978 through 1988 prior to their move to the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Pistons also played their home games at the Silverdome.
The Silverdome has also hosted various other sporting events since it opened.
See also 
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Oakland County, Michigan
- List of Michigan State Historic Sites in Oakland County, Michigan
- Oakland County Child Killer
- Saginaw Trail
- "Bibliography on Oakland County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- "History of Oakland County," OaklandWeb.com. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce - quick facts
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved March 17, 2013.
- "Oakland County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- See search results from United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
- Martindale, Mike (January 15, 2009). "New Oakland prosecutor 'going pretty hard'". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
- "Risk of Sidewalk and Wrong-way Riding". Bicyclist Injuries: Learning from the Statistics. Archived from the original on 2007-05-20. Retrieved 2007-03-17.
Further reading 
- Samuel W. Durant, History of Oakland County, Michigan: With Illustrations Descriptive of Its Scenery, Palatial Residences, Public Buildings, Fine Blocks, and Important Manufactories, From Original Sketches by Artists of the Highest Ability. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts and Co., 1877.
- Thaddeus DeWitt Seeley, History of Oakland County Michigan: A Narrative Account of Its Historic Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests. In Two Volumes. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1912. Volume 1 | Volume 2
- General Oakland County Government websit
- Map of Oakland County
- The Road Commission for Oakland County
- An Account of Oakland County edited by Lillian Drake Avery. Dayton, Ohio: National Historical Association, Inc., [1925?]
- "Bibliography on Oakland County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Automation Alley