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Gratiot County, Michigan facts for kids

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Gratiot County
Gratiot County Courthouse
Gratiot County Courthouse
Official seal of Gratiot County
Map of Michigan highlighting Gratiot County
Location within the U.S. state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Michigan
Founded 1855
Named for Charles Gratiot
Seat Ithaca
Largest city Alma
 • Total 572 sq mi (1,480 km2)
 • Land 568 sq mi (1,470 km2)
 • Water 3.1 sq mi (8 km2)  0.6%%
 • Total 41,761
 • Density 75/sq mi (29/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 4th

Gratiot County ( GRASH-it) is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 41,761. The county seat is Ithaca, although its most populous city is Alma.

Gratiot County comprises the Alma, MI Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also part of the Mount Pleasant-Alma, MI Combined Statistical Area.

The Gratiot County Courthouse was designed in the classical revival style by Claire Allen, a prominent southern Michigan architect. It is one of seven sites in the county listed on the National Register of Historic Places (No. 76002291 added 1976).

In June 2012, the 212.8 MW Gratiot County Wind Project opened, the largest wind power installation in the state.


The county is named for Captain Charles Gratiot, who supervised the building of Port Huron's Fort Gratiot. It was set off in 1831; organized in 1855. Gratiot County was a New England settlement. The original founders of Ithaca and of Alma consisted entirely of settlers from New England. These people were "Yankees", that is to say they were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the 1600s. They were part of a wave of New England farmers who headed west into what was then the wilds of the Northwest Territory during the early 1800s. Most of them arrived as a result of the completion of the Erie Canal as well as the close of the Black Hawk War. When they arrived in what is now Gratiot County there was nothing but a virgin forest and wild prairie, the New Englanders laid out farms, constructed roads, erected government buildings and established post routes. They brought with them many of their Yankee New England values, such as a passion for education, establishing many schools as well as staunch support for abolitionism. They were mostly members of the Congregationalist Church though some were Episcopalian. The Congregationalist Church has since gone through many internal divisions and many branches of it have since become known as the Church of God. Due to the Second Great Awakening many became members of the Baptist church and many also converted to Methodism. Culturally Gratiot County, like much of Michigan would be culturally very continuous with early New England culture, for most of its history. In the 1890s, German immigrants began settling in Gratiot County. See List of Michigan county name etymologies. Emil Lockwood, a noted Michigan legislator, represented Gratiot County in the Michigan Senate from 1963-1970, much of the time as Senate Majority Leader. There are six Michigan historical markers in Gratiot county, namely:

  • Alma College
  • Gratiot County
  • Jackson Weller House
  • Lumberjack Park
  • Michigan Masonic Home
  • Saginaw and Gratiot County State Road / Saginaw Valley and St. Louis Railroad


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 572 square miles (1,480 km2), of which 568 square miles (1,470 km2) is land and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) (0.6%) is water. It is considered to be part of Central Michigan.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 127 runs north to I-75 and south to Lansing.

  • Bus. US 127 is a business loop through downtown Alma.

  • Bus. US 127 is a business loop through downtown Ithaca.

  • Bus. US 127 is a business loop through downtown St. Louis.
  • M-46 is an important cross-peninsular highway that routes east to Saginaw. It ends at Port Sanilac on Lake Huron. Westbound the highway courses to Muskegon on Lake Michigan.
  • M-57 heads east to the northern suburbs of Flint. Going west it ends at US 131 near the northern suburbs of Grand Rapids.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 4,042
1870 11,810 192.2%
1880 21,936 85.7%
1890 28,668 30.7%
1900 29,889 4.3%
1910 28,820 −3.6%
1920 33,914 17.7%
1930 30,252 −10.8%
1940 32,205 6.5%
1950 33,429 3.8%
1960 37,012 10.7%
1970 39,246 6.0%
1980 40,448 3.1%
1990 38,982 −3.6%
2000 42,285 8.5%
2010 42,476 0.5%
2020 41,761 −1.7%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2018

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 42,285 people, 14,501 households, and 10,397 families residing in the county. The population density was 74 people per square mile (29/km2). There were 15,516 housing units at an average density of 27 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.01% White, 3.72% Black or African American, 0.55% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.76% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races. 4.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.8% were of English ancestry, 24.4% were of German ancestry and 6.9% Irish ancestry, 96.1% spoke English and 2.7% Spanish as their first language.

There were 14,501 households, out of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.60% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.30% were non-families. 23.70% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.02.

The county population included 23.80% under the age of 18, 11.60% from 18 to 24, 29.50% from 25 to 44, 21.60% from 45 to 64, and 13.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 108.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $37,262, and the median income for a family was $43,954. Males had a median income of $32,442 versus $22,333 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,118. About 7.30% of families and 10.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.70% of those under age 18 and 9.20% of those age 65 or over.


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




Unincorporated communities


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