Okemos, Michigan

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Okemos, Michigan
The Red Cedar River flowing through Okemos.
The Red Cedar River flowing through Okemos.
Location within Ingham County
Location within Ingham County
Okemos is located in Michigan
Location within the state of Michigan
Okemos is located in the United States
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 42°43′N 84°26′W / 42.717°N 84.433°W / 42.717; -84.433Coordinates: 42°43′N 84°26′W / 42.717°N 84.433°W / 42.717; -84.433
CountryUnited States
TownshipsAlaiedon, Meridian, and Williamstown
Named forChief Okemos
 • Total17.01 sq mi (44.06 km2)
 • Land16.86 sq mi (43.66 km2)
 • Water0.15 sq mi (0.40 km2)
840 ft (256 m)
 • Total25,121
 • Density1,490.15/sq mi (575.37/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
48805, 48864
48895 (Williamston)
Area code517
FIPS code26-60340[2]
GNIS feature ID0633973[3]
Chief Okemos historic marker at the Four Corners of Okemos

Okemos (/ˈkəməs/ OH-kə-məss) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Ingham County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population of the CDP was 25,121 at the 2020 census. Okemos is part of the urban area of Lansing–East Lansing, and is located nearby the campus of Michigan State University. Okemos is located mostly within Meridian Charter Township, with a small portion extending south into Alaiedon Township and east into Williamstown Township.

Okemos contains its own post offices with the 48805 and 48864 ZIP Codes, as well as its own school district, Okemos Public Schools, that also serves portions of the surrounding area.


Okemos was established in 1839 as Sanford, after the area's first settler, Sanford Marsh. A post office was established in 1840 as Sanford, however the site was platted the following year as Hamilton. Locals referred to the area as Okemos, after Chief Okemos (deriving from the Ojibwe ogimaans, meaning "little chief").[4] In 1862, both the settlement and post office changed their official names to Okemos.[5]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 16.91 square miles (43.80 km2), of which 16.76 square miles (43.41 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.39 km2) (0.89%) is water.[6] Okemos is the third-largest CDP by land area and the fourth most-populated in the state of Michigan .

The Red Cedar River, a tributary of the Grand River, flows from east to west through Okemos.

The center of Okemos, referred to by many as "The Four Corners", is located at the intersection of Hamilton and Okemos roads. The most notable business is the Meridian Mall on Grand River Avenue (M-43) northeast of the Four Corners, including Schuler Books and Studio C! Cinema.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 21,369 people, 8,824 households, and 5,416 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,274.7 inhabitants per square mile (492.2/km2). There were 9,384 housing units at an average density of 554.9 per square mile (214.2/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 76.5% White, 14.4% Asian, 5.1% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.1% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.

There were 9,194 households, out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.3% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the CDP, 23.9% of the population was under the age of 18, 14.5% was from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.

The median income for an average household in the CDP was $62,810, and the median income for a family was $88,459 (These figures had risen to $75,736 and $101,903 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[8]). Males had a median income of $60,601 versus $41,393 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $33,401. About 3.3% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.0% of those under age 18 and 0.5% of those age 65 or over.

In 2011, CNN Money Magazine rated Okemos as the 12th-best city to live in for "the rich and single".[9]

Notable people[edit]

Points of interest[edit]

  • Goetsch–Winckler House. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and of the earlier examples of his "Usonian" houses.
  • The Meridian Historical Village[16] and farmers market
  • Ferguson Park,[17] along the Red Cedar River on Okemos Road, is thought to be the meeting place where Chief Okemos and the war chiefs held their powwows.[citation needed] The park is part of the oldest settlement in the area along the plank road between Detroit and the Capitol in Lansing.[citation needed]
  • The Hamilton Building at 2160 Hamilton Road (near the Four Corners of Okemos), is the oldest commercial building in Okemos, and replaced the old Walker General Store, which was built in 1853. The Hamilton Building held its first ice cream social on June 11, 1904, and was built to house the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a charity organization. The planks in the building are from the walnut grove on which it sits. Along with Ferguson Park, it is also part of the oldest settlement in the area along the old plank road between Detroit and the Capitol in Lansing.
  • Nancy Moore Park[18]
  • Meridian Mall
  • The Hope Borbas Okemos branch[19] of the Capital Area District Library


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Okemos has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[20]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Okemos, Michigan
  4. ^ "ogimaa (na) | The Ojibwe People's Dictionary". ojibwe.lib.umn.edu. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  5. ^ Romig, Walter (1986). Michigan Place Names: The History of the Founding and the Naming of More Than Five Thousand Past and Present Michigan Communities. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 413–414. ISBN 0-8143-1838-X.
  6. ^ "Michigan: 2010 Population and Housing Unit Counts 2010 Census of Population and Housing" (PDF). 2010 United States Census. United States Census Bureau. September 2012. p. 24–25 Michigan. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  8. ^ 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, United States Census Bureau
  9. ^ "Best places for the rich and single". CNNMoney. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  10. ^ "About". James Hynes. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "SETH MEYERS BIO, CHILDHOOD, FAMILY, EDUCATION, CAREER, RELATIONSHIP, AND ONLINE PRESENCE". Famebytes.com. October 11, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  12. ^ Montoya, Maria C. and David Cuthbert. "Theater Guy: Loyola stages Heather Raffo's nine-character monologue play Archived 2014-04-13 at the Wayback Machine." The Times-Picayune. February 23, 2008. Retrieved on April 13, 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Fruity Drag Art Transformation (ft. Kim Chi) + MAKEUP GIVEAWAY". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 5, 2021.
  14. ^ "r/rupaulsdragrace - Cute moment shared between Short Change and Kim Chi". reddit. March 26, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  15. ^ Paulson, Steven K. (February 14, 1997). "JonBenet prosecutor vents anger". Lansing State Journal. Associated Press. p. 4A. Retrieved January 10, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. icon of an open green padlock
  16. ^ "Meridian Historic Village". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved August 2, 2007.
  17. ^ "Ferguson Park - Charter Township of Meridian". Archived from the original on March 20, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  18. ^ "Nancy Moore Park - Meridian Township". Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  19. ^ "Okemos Library — CADL Website". December 12, 2007. Archived from the original on December 12, 2007. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  20. ^ "Okemos, Michigan Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved May 23, 2019.

External links[edit]