Kent County, Michigan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Kent County, Michigan
Kent County Courthouse, Grand Rapids, MI.jpg
Kent County Courthouse
Seal of Kent County, Michigan
Seal
Map of Michigan highlighting Kent County
Location in the U.S. state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded March 2, 1831 (created)
1836 (organized)[1]
Named for James Kent
Seat Grand Rapids
Largest city Grand Rapids
Area
 • Total 872 sq mi (2,258 km2)
 • Land 847 sq mi (2,194 km2)
 • Water 25 sq mi (65 km2), 2.9%
Population (est.)
 • (2017) 648,594
 • Density 766/sq mi (296/km2)
Congressional districts 2nd, 3rd
Time zone Eastern: UTC−5/−4
Website www.accesskent.com

Kent County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the county had a population of 602,622.[2] Its county seat is Grand Rapids.[3] The county was set off in 1831, and organized in 1836.[1] It is named for New York jurist and legal scholar James Kent,[4] who represented the Michigan Territory in its dispute with Ohio over the Toledo Strip.

Kent County is part of the Grand Rapids–Wyoming, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Kent County is West Michigan's economic and manufacturing center, with the Steelcase corporation based in the county. It is also the home of the Frederik Meijer Gardens, a significant cultural landmark of the Midwest. The county is a traditional stronghold for the Republican Party, with a substantial conservative population, but in 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the county since 1964. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is within the county.

History[edit]

The Grand River runs through the county. On its west bank are burial mounds, remnants of the Hopewell Indians who lived there.[5] The river valley was an important center for the fur trade in the early 19th century. After the War of 1812, Rix Robinson and Louis Campau were the earliest traders in the area.[6] In 1826, Campau established a trading post in what is today Grand Rapids. In 1831, he bought land and platted the town. Campau considered the town's "father".[7][8] [9] One year later, government surveyor Lucius Lyon purchased land north of Campau's property. Campau surveyed and platted the village following Native American trails[8] and Lyon had platted his property in an English grid format, which meant there were two adjoining villages, with different platting formats.[8] Campau later merged the villages under the name of Grand Rapids.[8]

In 1831, it was set off from Kalamazoo County.[10] In 1838, Grand Rapids was incorporated[8] as the county's first village. By the end of the century, stimulated by the construction of several sawmills, the area was a significant center for agriculture, logging, and manufacturing furniture.

Geography[edit]

Long Lake Park, in Solon Township

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 872 square miles (2,260 km2), of which 847 square miles (2,190 km2) is land and 25 square miles (65 km2) (2.9%) is water.[11] Kent County's highest point is Fisk Knob Park,[12] in Solon Township, at 1048 feet.[13]

Rivers[edit]

The Grand River flows through the county from its eastern border to the west, and after passing through Ottawa County, empties into Lake Michigan at Grand Haven. It has three tributaries in Kent County, listed in order of convergence:

Trails[edit]

These hiking and biking trails run through the county:

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18402,587
185012,016364.5%
186030,716155.6%
187050,40364.1%
188073,25345.3%
1890109,92250.1%
1900129,71418.0%
1910159,14522.7%
1920183,04115.0%
1930240,51131.4%
1940246,3382.4%
1950288,29217.0%
1960363,18726.0%
1970411,04413.2%
1980444,5068.1%
1990500,63112.6%
2000574,33514.7%
2010602,6224.9%
Est. 2017648,594[14]7.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
1790-1960[16] 1900-1990[17]
1990-2000[18] 2010-2013[2]

As of the 2010 United States Census,[19] there were 602,622 people residing in the county. 76.1% were non-Hispanic White, 10.2% Black or African American, 2.4% Asian, 0.7% Native American, 4.5% of some other race and 2.6% of two or more races. 9.7% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

The Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 574,335 people, 212,890 households, and 144,126 families residing in the county. The current estimated population is 604,323. The population density was 671 people per square mile (259/km²). There were 224,000 housing units at an average density of 262 per square mile (101/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 83.13% White, 8.93% Black or African American, 0.52% Native American, 1.86% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.34% from other races, and 2.16% from two or more races. 7.00% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

19.6% reported being of Dutch ancestry; 14.9% German, 13.1% English, 7.4% Irish, 7.1% Polish and 5.5% American ancestry according to the 2010 American Community Survey.[21] 90.0% spoke only English at home, while 6.0% spoke Spanish.

There were 212,890 households out of which 35.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.30% were married couples living together, 11.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 25.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.20.

The age distribution of the county was as follows:28.30% were under the age of 18, 10.50% from 18 to 24, 31.20% from 25 to 44, 19.70% from 45 to 64, and 10.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,980, and the median income for a family was $54,770. Males had a median income of $39,878 versus $27,364 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,629. 8.90% of the population and 6.30% of families were below the poverty line. 10.20% of the population under the age of 18 and 7.50% of those 65 or older were living in poverty.

Transportation[edit]

Air service[edit]

Commercial air service to Grand Rapids is provided by Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR). Previously named Kent County International Airport, it holds Grand Rapids' mark in modern history with the United States' first regularly scheduled airline service, beginning July 31, 1926, between Grand Rapids and Detroit.

Bus service[edit]

Public bus transportation is provided by the Interurban Transit Partnership, which brands itself as "The Rapid." Transportation is also provided by the DASH buses: the "Downtown Area Shuttle." These provide transportation to and from the parking lots in the city of Grand Rapids to various designated loading and unloading spots around the city.

Railroad[edit]

Amtrak provides direct train service to Chicago from the passenger station via the Pere Marquette line. Freight service is provided by CN, CSX Transportation, and by a local short-line railroad, the Grand Rapids Eastern Railroad.

Highways[edit]

County-designated highways[edit]

Economy[edit]

These corporations are headquartered in Kent County, in the following communities:

Government[edit]

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.

Elected officials[edit]

(information as of post-2016 election)

Politics[edit]

Presidential Elections Results[22]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 47.7% 148,180 44.6% 138,683 7.7% 24,031
2012 53.0% 155,925 45.4% 133,408 1.7% 4,873
2008 48.8% 148,336 49.3% 149,909 1.8% 5,554
2004 58.9% 171,201 40.2% 116,909 1.0% 2,781
2000 59.4% 148,602 38.1% 95,442 2.5% 6,274
1996 54.3% 121,335 38.5% 85,912 7.2% 16,132
1992 47.5% 115,285 33.9% 82,305 18.5% 44,963
1988 63.8% 131,910 35.5% 73,467 0.7% 1,465
1984 67.0% 137,417 32.3% 66,238 0.7% 1,365
1980 54.6% 112,604 35.3% 72,790 10.1% 20,896
1976 67.2% 126,805 31.3% 59,000 1.5% 2,828
1972 59.3% 104,041 38.5% 67,587 2.2% 3,833
1968 53.7% 85,810 38.7% 61,891 7.6% 12,149
1964 43.4% 66,830 56.4% 86,860 0.2% 269
1960 60.7% 95,477 39.0% 61,313 0.3% 506
1956 65.7% 94,969 33.8% 48,871 0.4% 642
1952 62.1% 79,647 36.8% 47,221 1.1% 1,447
1948 54.3% 53,669 43.7% 43,205 1.9% 1,902
1944 54.7% 54,163 44.1% 43,679 1.3% 1,274
1940 52.1% 53,131 47.2% 48,196 0.7% 749
1936 42.9% 36,633 52.6% 44,823 4.5% 3,848
1932 48.6% 42,186 48.0% 41,601 3.4% 2,936
1928 75.1% 56,573 24.2% 18,229 0.7% 508
1924 76.6% 45,207 13.5% 7,982 9.9% 5,819
1920 70.1% 40,802 25.4% 14,763 4.5% 2,610
1916 42.5% 16,095 53.7% 20,364 3.8% 1,444
1912 20.4% 6,498 29.5% 9,412 50.2% 16,016
1908 55.4% 16,576 38.3% 11,445 6.3% 1,880
1904 71.6% 20,254 22.7% 6,430 5.6% 1,593
1900 54.8% 17,861 42.3% 13,775 3.0% 962
1896 54.3% 17,053 43.3% 13,582 2.4% 749
1892 46.3% 12,388 43.1% 11,533 10.6% 2,829
1888 49.4% 12,811 45.8% 11,864 4.8% 1,254
1884 45.7% 9,007 49.0% 9,639 5.3% 1,045

Kent County has historically been a stronghold of the Republican Party, and usually supports its candidates for local and federal office. It has, however, become more politically competitive in recent years. Most Democratic strength is concentrated in Grand Rapids itself, which usually sends Democrats to the state house and occasionally elects Democratic mayors. The suburbs, however, are some of the most Republican areas in Michigan.

In 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama narrowly carried the county, receiving 49.34% of its votes to Republican John McCain's 48.83%.[23] It was the first time the county had supported a Democrat for president since 1964, and only the fourth time since 1884. By comparison, George W. Bush had taken almost 59 percent of the county's vote in 2004.

In 2012, the county returned to the Republican camp as Mitt Romney won 53.0% of the vote to Obama's 45.35 %[24]. Four years later, Republican Donald Trump won the county with 47.66% of the vote, to 44.61% for his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, while Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party received 4.58%[25].

Communities[edit]

A Public Land Survey System survey of Kent County in 1885, showing 24 named townships and sectional subdivisions

Cities[edit]

Villages[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

Townships[edit]

(* denotes Charter status)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bibliography on Kent County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 173.
  5. ^ Beld, Gordon G. (2012). Grand Times in Grand Rapids: Pieces of Furniture City History, pp. 17-19. The History Press.
  6. ^ Fuller, George Newman (1916). Economic and Social Beginnings of Michigan, p. 423. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co.
  7. ^ History and Directory of Kent County, Michigan, Containing a History of Each Township, and the City of Grand Rapids; the Name, Location and Postoffice Address of All Residents Outside of the City: A List of Postoffices in the County; a Schedule of Population; and Other Valuable Statistics. Grand Rapids, MI: Daily Eagle Steam Printing House. November 21, 1870. pp. 114–136.
  8. ^ a b c d e Garret Ellison (May 22, 2014). "How a feud between the city's founding fathers shaped Monroe Center and downtown Grand Rapids". MLive Media Group.
  9. ^ Garret Ellison (August 11, 2013). "History in bronze: Influential figures immortalized at 12 sites so far in Grand Rapids". MLive Media Group.
  10. ^ Purkey, Thomas H. (1986). Soil Survey of Kent County, Michigan, p. 2. United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service.
  11. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  12. ^ Fisk Knob Archived 2016-11-05 at the Wayback Machine., Grand Valley State University - Kent County Parks
  13. ^ Highest Point in Kent County, Google Earth/Maps
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  15. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  16. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  17. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  18. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-17. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  20. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  21. ^ "2010 Data Release – Data & Documentation – American Community Survey – U.S. Census Bureau". Archived from the original on 2015-10-27.
  22. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - State Data".
  24. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/statesub.php?year=2012&fips=26081&off=0&elect=0&f=0
  25. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/statesub.php?year=2016&fips=26081&off=0&elect=0&f=0

Further reading[edit]

  • Romig, Walter (1986) [1973]. Michigan Place Names: The History of the Founding and the Naming of More than Five Thousand Past and Present Michigan Communities. Great Lakes Books. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 978-0814318386.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°02′N 85°33′W / 43.03°N 85.55°W / 43.03; -85.55