Saginaw County, Michigan

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Saginaw County, Michigan
Saginaw County Governmental Center.JPG
Saginaw County Governmental Center in Saginaw
Seal of Saginaw County, Michigan
Map of Michigan highlighting Saginaw County
Location in the U.S. state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded February 9, 1835[1][2]
Seat Saginaw
Largest city Saginaw
 • Total 816 sq mi (2,113 km2)
 • Land 800 sq mi (2,072 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (41 km2), 1.9%
 • (2010) 200,169
 • Density 250/sq mi (97/km²)
Congressional districts 4th, 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Saginaw County, officially the County of Saginaw, is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 200,169.[3] The county seat is Saginaw.[1][4] The county was created by September 10, 1822, and was fully organized on February 9, 1835.[1] The etymology of the county's name is uncertain. It may be derived from Sace-nong or Sak-e-nong (English: Sauk land), as the Sauk (French: Sac) tribe once lived there. Another possibility is that it comes from Ojibwe words meaning "place of the outlet" –sag (English: an opening) and ong (English: place of).[5] See List of Michigan county name etymologies.

Saginaw County comprises the Saginaw, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area and is included in the Saginaw-Midland-Bay City Combined Statistical Area in the Mid/Central Michigan region.


What is today Saginaw County was inhabited by the Ojibwe before they were driven out by Euro-Americans. The Ojibwe were still the dominant force in the area in the 1820s and in 1827 they were attacked by a two groups of Winnebago people coming from Wisconsin. The Ojibwe prevailed in this fight with the aid of local Euro-American settlers.[6]

In 1853 the Ojibwe and Ottawa both established large hunting camps along the Saginaw River, although Euro-American settlers were beginning saw mills and farms in the area by that point.[7]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 816 square miles (2,110 km2), of which 800 square miles (2,100 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (1.9%) is water.[8] It is part of the Flint/Tri-Cities region of Mid-Michigan. The median elevation in Saginaw County, Michigan is 620 feet (190 m) above sea level.[9]

Primary rivers[edit]

Wildlife refuge[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 892
1850 2,609 192.5%
1860 12,693 386.5%
1870 39,097 208.0%
1880 59,095 51.1%
1890 82,273 39.2%
1900 81,222 −1.3%
1910 89,290 9.9%
1920 100,286 12.3%
1930 120,717 20.4%
1940 130,468 8.1%
1950 153,515 17.7%
1960 190,752 24.3%
1970 219,743 15.2%
1980 228,059 3.8%
1990 211,946 −7.1%
2000 210,039 −0.9%
2010 200,169 −4.7%
Est. 2015 193,307 [10] −3.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2013[3]

The 2010 United States Census[15] indicates Saginaw County had a 2010 population of 200,169. This is a decrease of -9,870 people from the 2000 United States Census. Overall, the county had a -4.7% growth rate during this ten-year period. In 2010 there were 79,011 households and 52,287 families in the county. The population density was 250.2 per square mile (96.6 square kilometers). There were 86,844 housing units at an average density of 108.5 per square mile (41.9 square kilometers). The racial and ethnic makeup of the county was 70.5% White, 18.6% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 7.8% Hispanic or Latino, 0.1% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races.

There were 79,011 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were husband and wife families, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.8% were non-families, and 28.2% were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.4% under age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 22.9% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

The 2010 American Community Survey 1-year estimate[15] indicates the median income for a household in the county was $41,938 and the median income for a family was $52,243. Males had a median income of $27,691 versus $16,488 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,025. About 12.4% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under the age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.


The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is the controlling regional body for the Catholic Church.[16]

Government and politics[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.

In 2016 Donald Trump became the first Republican to carry the county since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Elected officials[edit]

Saginaw County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Republican Democratic
2016 48.2% 45,469 47.1% 44,396
2012 43.5% 42,720 55.3% 54,381
2008 40.5% 42,225 57.8% 60,276
2004 45.9% 47,165 53.4% 54,887
2000 43.9% 41,152 54.2% 50,825
1996 36.0% 31,577 54.2% 47,579
1992 33.1% 32,103 45.2% 43,819
1988 47.9% 42,401 51.5% 45,616
1984 57.0% 51,495 42.5% 38,420
1980 48.2% 45,233 44.4% 41,650
1976 55.6% 46,765 43.2% 36,280
1972 61.0% 47,920 37.5% 29,424
1968 49.2% 38,070 41.7% 32,266
1964 38.3% 28,146 61.6% 45,309
1960 55.7% 41,351 44.0% 32,715

All countywide officers are elected for four-year terms. The next scheduled election for these offices is November of 2016.

(information as of April 2014)

Parks and Recreation Commission[edit]

Saginaw County Parks and Recreation Commission is a county-wide government organization founded by William H. Haithco Sr. in 1969. Haithco then served as chairman from 1972 to 1999.[18] The organization operates six parks throughout the county - Imerman Memorial Park, Veterans Memorial Park, Ringwood Forest, Price Nature Center, William H. Haithco Recreation Area, and The Saginaw Valley Rail Trail. These parks comprise over 550 acres, including 18 miles of hiking trails, two boat launches, four fishing access sites, a swimming beach, picnic shelters, and recreation programs.[19][20]


Saginaw County was the destination of a Sauk footpath that became one of the first roads in what is now Michigan, the Saginaw Trail. The trail, first authorized in 1819, was completed to Saginaw in 1841. Since then, Saginaw's access to the outside world has expanded with the development of maritime, rail, air, and freeway links to the major cities of Michigan and neighboring states and nations.


Scheduled airline service is available from MBS International Airport[21] near Freeland, Michigan and Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan.[22] Harry Browne Airport[23] in Buena Vista Charter Township also serves the region.



The Saginaw River is maintained by the Corps of Engineers, and from time to time, dredged to maintain a shipping channel down the river to Bay City, and from there, to the Great Lakes.


Primary and secondary education[edit]

Public schools[edit]

Most of Saginaw County is served by the Saginaw Intermediate School District (SISD), which coordinates the efforts of local boards of education, but has no operating authority over schools. Local school boards in Michigan retain great autonomy over day-to-day operations.

As of November 2013, the communities of Saginaw County are served by the following members of the Saginaw ISD:[25][26]

(These are general descriptions; small parcels may be in a neighboring district.)

Some parts of the county are served by neighboring intermediate districts. The most noteworthy of these are:[25]

Likewise, some of the districts in the Saginaw ISD extend into neighboring counties; the largest of these cases include the Chesaning Union district, which also serves the northern sections of Hazelton and New Haven townships in Shiawassee County; the Hemlock schools, which include the southern portion of Ingersoll Township in Midland County; and the Merrill district, which embraces most of Midland County's Mount Haley Township.[25]

Charter and private schools[edit]

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw operates a number of school throughout the county, as do various Lutheran churches and denominations. A number of charter schools also operate in the county.

Higher education[edit]

  • Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) is a four-year state university located in eastern Kochville Township.
  • Delta College is a two-year community college that serves Saginaw County, but is located in neighboring Bay County, a few miles to the north of the SVSU campus.

Notable natives[edit]

  • Theodore Roethke (1908–1963) Pulitzer prize and National Book Award winning poet was born and buried here.

Historical markers[edit]

There are twenty eight recognized historical markers in the county:[27] They are:

  • Bliss Park
  • Burt Opera House / Wellington R. Burt
  • Coal Mine No. 8
  • The Cushway House / Benjamin Cushway and Adelaide Cushway
  • First Congregational Church [Saginaw]
  • Fowler Schoolhouse (Fremont Township)
  • Frankenmuth / Saint Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn
  • Freeland United Methodist Church
  • George Nason House
  • Hess School
  • Hoyt Library
  • Leamington Stewart House
  • Michigan's German Settlers
  • Morseville Bridge
  • Presbyterian Church of South Saginaw
  • Saginaw Club
  • Saginaw Oil Industry
  • Saginaw Post Office
  • Saginaw Valley Coal
  • Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era
  • St. Mary's Hospital
  • Saint Michael Catholic Parish
  • St. Paul's Episcopal Mission
  • Shroeder House
  • Theodore Roethke / Childhood Home


Map of Saginaw County indicating its various political subdivisions. Cities are indicated by yellow, villages by maroon. The major rivers and streams within the County are also indicated.




Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Bibliography on Saginaw County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ Saginaw County
  3. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ Michigan County names per the Michigan government.
  6. ^ History of Sagimaw County, Michigan (Chicago: Charles C. Chapman & Co, 1881) p. 120
  7. ^ History of Saginaw County, p. 123-124
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Saginaw County, Michigan Geography Analysis". Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "American Factfinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 11, 2012.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "AmFactFinder" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  16. ^ "Diocese of Saginaw". 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Johnson, Bob (March 20, 2011). "A life remembered: William H. Haithco Sr., father of parks and recreation in Saginaw County". MLive. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Parks and Recreation Commission - About Us". County of Saginaw, Michigan. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Children's Fun Day is Tuesday at Haithco Park in Saginaw Twp.". WEYI. July 16, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  21. ^ "MBS International Airport". 
  22. ^ "Bishop International Airport: Flint, Michigan: Flights & Airport Travel". 
  23. ^ Jeff Turner. "Saginaw Browne Airport Aircraft Services". 
  24. ^ "M-46 Endpoint Photos.". 
  25. ^ a b c "Saginaw County School Districts" (PDF). State of Michigan, Department of Technology, Management & Budget. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  26. ^ "Local School Websites". Saginaw ISD. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  27. ^ "Michigan Historical Markers". 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°20′N 84°03′W / 43.33°N 84.05°W / 43.33; -84.05