Kent County, Michigan facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Kent County, Michigan
Seal of Kent County, Michigan
Map
Map of Michigan highlighting Kent County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the USA highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded March 2, 1831 (created)
1836 (organized)
Seat Grand Rapids
Largest City Grand Rapids
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

872 sq mi (2,258 km²)
847 sq mi (2,194 km²)
25 sq mi (65 km²), 2.9%
PopulationEst.
 - (2015)
 - Density

636,369
712/sq mi (275/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.accesskent.com
Named for: James Kent

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. Its county seat is Grand Rapids. The county was set off in 1831, and organized in 1836. It is named for New York jurist and legal scholar James Kent, 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

The Grand River runs through the county. On its west bank are burial mounds, remnants of the Hopewell Indians who lived there. 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. 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". One year later, government surveyor Lucius Lyon purchased land north of Campau's property. Campau surveyed and platted the village following Native American trails and Lyon had platted his property in an English grid format, which meant there were two adjoining villages, with different platting formats. Campau later merged the villages under the name of Grand Rapids.

In 1831, it was set off from Kalamazoo County. In 1838, Grand Rapids was incorporated 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

Long Lake Kent
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. Kent County's highest point is Fisk Knob Park, in Solon Township, at 1048 feet.

Rivers

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:

  • Flat River, enters the county from the east, and joins the Grand from the north, in Lowell.
  • Thornapple River, enters the county from the south, and joins the Grand in Ada.
  • Rogue River, enters the county from the north, and joins the Grand in Belmont.

Trails

These hiking and biking trails run through the county:

  • North Country Trail, runs north/south the length of the county, passing through Cedar Springs, Grattan and Lowell. Lowell is the trail's half-way point, and the national headquarters of the North Country Trail Association is located here.
  • Thornapple Trail, begins in Kentwood and runs southeast through Dutton and Caledonia.
  • White Pine Trail begins in Comstock Park and runs northeast through Belmont, Rockford, Cedar Springs, and Sand Lake.
  • Kent Trails (which is singular in spite of the 's') runs north/south from John Ball Park in Grand Rapids to 84th Street in Byron Township, with an extension that runs east/west along 76th Street and north/south from 76th Street to Douglas Walker Park on 84th street.
  • The Frederik Meijer Trail, which, as of November, 2008, was incomplete, runs east/west mostly along the M-6 freeway and will connect the Kent Trails and the Thornapple Trail when completed.
  • Cannon Township Trail runs through Cannon Township in the eastern part of the county from Cannon Township Center on M-44. It runs along M-44 then south near Sunfish Lake Road, turning east through the Cannonsburg Cemetery, and ends at Warren Townsend Park near Cannonsburg.

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,587
1850 12,016 364.5%
1860 30,716 155.6%
1870 50,403 64.1%
1880 73,253 45.3%
1890 109,922 50.1%
1900 129,714 18.0%
1910 159,145 22.7%
1920 183,041 15.0%
1930 240,511 31.4%
1940 246,338 2.4%
1950 288,292 17.0%
1960 363,187 26.0%
1970 411,044 13.2%
1980 444,506 8.1%
1990 500,631 12.6%
2000 574,335 14.7%
2010 602,622 4.9%
Est. 2015 636,369 5.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the 2010 United States Census, 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).

Downtown Grand Rapids from River House
The Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids

As of the census 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. 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

Air service

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

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

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

  • I-96
  • I-196 (Gerald R. Ford Freeway)
  • I-296 (concurrent with US 131)
  • US 131
  • M-6 (Paul B. Henry Freeway, South Beltline Freeway)
  • M-11
  • M-21
  • M-37
  • M-44
  • M-46
  • M-50
  • M-57

County-designated highways

  • [[Template:Infobox road/MI/link CDH|Template:Infobox road/MI/abbrev CDH]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/MI/link CDH|Template:Infobox road/MI/abbrev CDH]]

Communities

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

Cities

Villages

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Townships

(* denotes Charter status)


Kent County, Michigan Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.