Macomb County, Michigan

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Macomb County
Romeo, MI
Romeo, MI
Flag of Macomb County
Official seal of Macomb County
Map of Michigan highlighting Macomb County
Location within the U.S. state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 42°40′N 82°55′W / 42.67°N 82.91°W / 42.67; -82.91
Country United States
State Michigan
FoundedJanuary 15, 1818[1][2]
Named forAlexander Macomb
SeatMount Clemens
Largest cityWarren
Area
 • Total571 sq mi (1,480 km2)
 • Land479 sq mi (1,240 km2)
 • Water92 sq mi (240 km2)  16%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total881,217
 • Density1,819/sq mi (702/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts9th, 10th
Websitemacombgov.org

Macomb County is a county located in the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Michigan, bordering Lake St. Clair, and is part of northern Metro Detroit. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 881,217, making it the third-most populous county in the state.[3] The county seat is Mt. Clemens.[4] Macomb County is part of the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city of Detroit is located south of the county's southern border. Macomb County contains 27 cities, townships and villages, including three of the top ten most-populous municipalities in Michigan as of the 2010 census: Warren (#3), Sterling Heights (#4) and Clinton Township (#10). Most of this population is concentrated south of Hall Road (M-59), one of the county's main thoroughfares.

History[edit]

The Ojibwe lived in the area for centuries before European contact, and were preceded by other cultures of ancient indigenous peoples.

The first European explorers were French, and they arrived in the area during the 17th century. Other early settlers were French fur trappers, who sometimes married Ojibwe women, and Jesuit missionaries. A Moravian colony was established in the county in the late 18th century. In addition to the original French and English settlers, later immigrants included Germans, Belgians, and others from Europe. In the 19th century the county received many European-American migrants from New York and New England, who were attracted to the area for land and booming jobs in the lumber and other resource industries.[5]

Macomb County was formally organized on January 15, 1818, as the third county in the Michigan Territory. The county was named in honor of Detroit-born Alexander Macomb, Jr., a highly decorated veteran of the War of 1812 and hero of the Battle of Plattsburg. He was made Commanding General of the U.S. Army in 1828.[1][6]

As was typical in development, the county at first encompassed a much larger area than at present. As population increased in the area, the state legislature removed territory in 1819 and 1820 to form the counties of Oakland, Lapeer, Genesee, and St. Clair.[1]

In May 2008, Macomb County voters approved the inclusion of a County Executive in a new charter to be submitted to the voters by 2010. A charter commission was elected in November 2008 for the purpose of drafting a charter for submission to Governor Granholm, which was submitted and approved and placed on the November 2009 ballot. The Charter passed with a 60.4% to 39.6% margin.[7]

Geography[edit]

Aerial view of the Anchor Bay from the south towards north, over Macomb County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 571 square miles (1,480 km2), of which 479 square miles (1,240 km2) is land and 92 square miles (240 km2) (16%) is water.[8] The county's southeastern border with Canada is located across Lake St. Clair.

Lake St. Clair borders the county on the east.

Far northern parts of the county, such as Richmond and Armada, are often considered to be part of Michigan's Thumb region.

The county is a mix of mostly rural/agriculture to the north, and a mix of suburban and urban areas to the south.

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Aerial view from the south towards north, over Macomb County
Historical population
Census Pop.
1810580
182089854.8%
18302,413168.7%
18409,716302.7%
185015,53059.8%
186022,84347.1%
187027,61620.9%
188031,62714.5%
189031,8130.6%
190033,2444.5%
191032,606−1.9%
192038,10316.9%
193077,146102.5%
1940107,63839.5%
1950184,96171.8%
1960405,804119.4%
1970625,30954.1%
1980694,60011.1%
1990717,4003.3%
2000788,1499.9%
2010840,9786.7%
2020881,2174.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2019[3]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 840,978 people living in the county. 85.4% were White, 8.6% Black or African American, 3.0% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 0.6% of some other race and 2.1% of two or more races. 2.3% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 14.8% were of German, 14.3% Polish, 11.1% Italian, 6.5% Irish and 5.9% American ancestry.[13]

In 2000, 87.6% of county residents spoke only English at home; 1.7% spoke Italian, 1.4% Polish, 1.2% Spanish, 1.1% Arabic, and 1.1% Syriac.

European ethnic groups that have settled in Macomb County since the late 20th century include Albanians and Macedonians.[14]

Among Asian ethnic groups, eight numbered over 1,000 people in Macomb County. They were Arabs, Asian Indians, Chaldeans, Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and Hmong.[15] Pakistanis are also represented in Macomb County's population.[14]

Native American tribes had more than 2,478 residents in Macomb County in 2000.[16]

In 2000, there were 309,203 households, out of which 31.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.30% were married couples living together, 10.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.80% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.09.[16]

In 2000, the age distribution of the county was as follows: 24.10% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 31.50% from 25 to 44, 22.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.90 males.[16]

The median income for a household in the county was $52,102, and the median income for a family was $62,816. Males had a median income of $48,303 versus $30,215 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,446. About 4.00% of families and 5.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.00% of those under age 18 and 6.40% of those age 65 or over.[16]

According to the 2006 American Community Survey, the average family size was 3.15. The population of 25 and over was 571,463. 86.9% of that population had graduated from high school, and 21% of the population had a Bachelor's degree or higher. About 14.3% of that population was disabled. 12.5% of Macomb's population could speak another language at home.[16]

Of Michigan's five largest counties, Macomb experienced the most population growth (102.5%) in the postwar years of accelerating suburban development, between 1950 and 1960. But its population has continued to grow.

Parks and recreation[edit]

Macomb County is home to more than 130 parks covering 12,000 acres (49 km2) managed by the state, regional, county, and local government. There are four major public parks in the County - Freedom Hill County Park, Macomb Orchard Trail, Lake St. Clair Metropark, and Stony Creek Metropark. The county also has 31 miles of shoreline and over 100 marinas.[17]

Government[edit]

United States presidential election results for Macomb County, Michigan[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 263,863 53.39% 223,952 45.31% 6,441 1.30%
2016 224,665 53.58% 176,317 42.05% 18,330 4.37%
2012 191,913 47.33% 208,016 51.30% 5,586 1.38%
2008 187,663 44.66% 223,784 53.26% 8,729 2.08%
2004 202,166 50.24% 196,160 48.75% 4,084 1.01%
2000 164,265 47.54% 172,625 49.96% 8,669 2.51%
1996 120,616 39.41% 151,430 49.48% 33,982 11.10%
1992 147,795 42.32% 130,732 37.43% 70,711 20.25%
1988 175,632 60.33% 112,856 38.77% 2,627 0.90%
1984 194,300 66.20% 97,816 33.32% 1,409 0.48%
1980 154,155 51.88% 120,125 40.43% 22,839 7.69%
1976 132,499 51.24% 121,176 46.86% 4,928 1.91%
1972 147,777 62.67% 82,346 34.92% 5,670 2.40%
1968 63,139 30.42% 114,552 55.19% 29,886 14.40%
1964 44,684 25.31% 131,450 74.47% 387 0.22%
1960 61,989 36.86% 105,681 62.83% 525 0.31%
1956 58,337 48.05% 62,816 51.73% 266 0.22%
1952 37,474 50.39% 36,544 49.14% 346 0.47%
1948 21,205 44.49% 25,265 53.01% 1,190 2.50%
1944 21,305 47.20% 23,506 52.08% 324 0.72%
1940 17,848 45.70% 21,003 53.78% 203 0.52%
1936 9,383 32.02% 17,593 60.05% 2,323 7.93%
1932 8,649 33.29% 16,539 63.65% 796 3.06%
1928 12,845 63.28% 7,363 36.27% 91 0.45%
1924 11,147 69.96% 3,191 20.03% 1,595 10.01%
1920 9,735 73.97% 3,023 22.97% 403 3.06%
1916 4,552 58.33% 3,108 39.83% 144 1.85%
1912 2,508 34.45% 2,829 38.85% 1,944 26.70%
1908 4,472 56.78% 3,138 39.84% 266 3.38%
1904 4,818 60.18% 2,989 37.33% 199 2.49%
1900 4,239 53.75% 3,491 44.26% 157 1.99%
1896 4,153 53.22% 3,400 43.57% 250 3.20%
1892 2,788 41.50% 3,584 53.35% 346 5.15%
1888 3,245 45.24% 3,708 51.69% 220 3.07%
1884 2,782 42.98% 3,464 53.51% 227 3.51%


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, which for the 2019–21 term is chaired by Bob Smith, controls the budget and creates and adopts ordinances and resolutions related to County functions. 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.

The Macomb Intermediate School District serves all school districts based in the county.

Elected officials[edit]

Politics[edit]

Macomb County has shown Republican tendencies in statewide elections, while tending to favor Democratic candidates at the federal and local level.[19] Since the 2010s, Macomb County has shifted towards the Republicans, and after the 2020 elections the party gained control of the Board of Commissioners for the first time as well as four of the five countywide offices.[20] The county gained fame in the 1980s and '90s as a bellwether of state and national politics. Macomb's large cohort of middle-class,[21] socially conservative whites gave it one of the nation's most prominent concentrations of "Reagan Democrats".[22] Outsider candidates with a conservative-populist bent have done well there in the past, such as Pat Buchanan in 1992 and Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.[23][24][25] Macomb County voters were primarily responsible for the failure of the Regional Transit Authority proposal to create a public transit system in the Metropolitan Detroit region.[26]

The more populated communities south of M-59 (Warren, Sterling Heights, Clinton Charter Township), closer to Detroit city proper are friendlier to Democrats. Warren leans Democratic, while Sterling Heights, after voting for Barack Obama in 2012, voted for Trump by about 12 points in both 2016 and 2020, but in 2018, voted for Gretchen Whitmer and Debbie Stabenow by 3 points, and Clinton Charter Township after voting for Obama in 2012, voted for Trump in 2016, but swung back to Whitmer and Stabenow in 2018 and Joe Biden in 2020.[27][28] The communities north of M-59 further removed from Detroit are more strongly Republican, all backing Trump in 2016 and 2020 and Bill Schuette in 2018.[29]

Transportation[edit]

Air[edit]

Major highways[edit]

  • I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway) runs –west through Detroit and serves Ann Arbor to the west (where it continues to Chicago) and Port Huron to the northeast. The stretch of the current I-94 freeway from Ypsilanti to Detroit was one of the first American limited-access freeways. Henry Ford built it to link his factories at Willow Run and Dearborn during World War II. It was called the Willow Run Expressway.
  • I-696 (Walter Reuther Freeway) runs east–west from the junction of I-96, I-275, and M-5 to I-94, providing a route through the northern suburbs of Detroit.
  • M-3 (Gratiot Avenue) is a major road that runs from Marysville to downtown Detroit. The portion of the road between 23 Mile Road and New Haven Road is not numbered. Between New Haven Road and Main Street in the city of Richmond the road is part of M-19. Between Richmond and Marysville the road is not numbered.
  • M-19 starts in New Haven goes up Gratiot to Richmond. The route leaves Gratiot and goes northwest through Richmond and then north through Memphis. Then it goes north through St. Clair and Sanilac Counties and ends at M-142 between Bad Axe and Harbor Beach in Huron County.
  • M-29 begins as part of 23 Mile Road, east of I-94 and ends in Marysville.
  • M-53 which is called the Van Dyke Freeway and Christopher Columbus Freeway from 18 Mile Road in Sterling Heights to 27 12 Mile Road in Washington Township. It is also called the POW/MIA Memorial Freeway from 27 12 Mile Road in Washington Township to the freeway's end at 34 Mile Road in Bruce Township, however it is locally known as the Van Dyke Freeway. It continues as Van Dyke Road or Van Dyke Avenue north to Port Austin and south through Warren to Gratiot Avenue in Detroit.
  • M-59 (Veterans Memorial Freeway) from Utica to Pontiac, continues east as Hall Road to Gratiot Avenue and as William P. Rosso Highway to its terminus at I-94 and west as various surface roads to I-96 near Howell
  • M-97 (Groesbeck Highway) begins in Detroit at Gratiot (M-3) and ends at Hall Road (M-59).
  • M-102 (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.

Other roads[edit]

  • Jefferson Avenue is a scenic highway that runs parallel to the shore of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. It is also the principal thoroughfare for the Grosse Pointes, where it is called Lake Shore Drive.
  • "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 intervals and increment as one travels north and away from the city center. Mile roads sometimes have two names, the numeric name (ex. 15 Mile Road) used in Macomb County and a local name (ex. Maple Road) used in Oakland County mostly.

Communities[edit]

U.S. Census data map showing local municipal boundaries within Macomb County. Shaded areas represent incorporated cities.

Cities[edit]

Villages[edit]

Charter townships[edit]

Civil townships[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Actors and actresses[edit]

Athletes[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Other[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Bibliography on Macomb County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  2. ^ "Macomb County Home Page". macombgov.org. Archived from the original on October 2, 2006.
  3. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Macomb County Michigan : HISTORY OF MACOMB COUNTY". macombcountymi.gov. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012.
  7. ^ "Macomb Co. - Election Results - Macomb County". newsroomsolutions.com.
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  13. ^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "U.S. Census website". census.gov.
  14. ^ a b Selweski, Chad. "Albanians, Chaldeans, Arabs and Asians move to Macomb County" (Archive). The Macomb Daily. March 23, 2011. Retrieved on July 6, 2015.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  16. ^ a b c d e "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  17. ^ https://www.michigan.org/property/macomb-county-chamber
  18. ^ "2016 Presidential General Election Results". Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  19. ^ "More election games by county GOP". Downtown. December 4, 2014. Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  20. ^ Selweski, Chad. "Macomb County making a big right turn". Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  21. ^ "Household Income in Macomb County, Michigan".
  22. ^ Stanton, Zach (March 5, 2021). "The Rise of the Biden Republicans". Politico.
  23. ^ Lord, Jeffrey (August 13, 2015). "Are Reagan Democrats Becoming Trump Democrats?". The American Spectator.
  24. ^ Witcover, Jules (March 14, 1992). "Buchanan, Bush stump in Michigan President again spurns debate plea". The Baltimore Sun.
  25. ^ Feiner, Lauren (October 14, 2020). "Michigan's Macomb County is a crucial blue-collar battleground for Trump and Biden". CNBC. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  26. ^ Witsil, Frank (November 9, 2016). "RTA millage rejected by metro Detroit voters". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  27. ^ "2016 Presidential General Election Results - Macomb County, MI".
  28. ^ "2020 Presidential General Election Results - Macomb County, MI".
  29. ^ "Macomb Co. - Election Results - Governor/Lieutenant Governor". clerk.macombgov.org. Retrieved July 7, 2021.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°40′N 82°55′W / 42.67°N 82.91°W / 42.67; -82.91