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Saginaw County, Michigan facts for kids

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Saginaw County
Saginaw County Governmental Center in Saginaw
Saginaw County Governmental Center in Saginaw
Official seal of Saginaw County
Map of Michigan highlighting Saginaw 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 February 9, 1835
Seat Saginaw
Largest city Saginaw
 • Total 816 sq mi (2,110 km2)
 • Land 800 sq mi (2,000 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (40 km2)  1.9%%
 • Total 190,124
 • Density 250/sq mi (100/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 4th, 5th

Saginaw County, officially the County of Saginaw, is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 190,124. The county seat is Saginaw. The county was created by September 10, 1822, and was fully organized on February 9, 1835. 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 is believed by some to have once lived there. A more likely possibility is that it comes from Ojibwe words meaning "place of the outlet" –sag (English: an opening) and ong (English: place of). 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, the 5th largest metropolitan area in Michigan.


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.

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.


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. 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.

Primary rivers

Wildlife refuge

Adjacent counties


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%
2020 190,124 −5.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

The 2010 United States Census 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 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.


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 near Freeland, Michigan and Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan. Harry Browne Airport in Buena Vista Charter Township also serves the region.


  • I-75, a major north–south freeway running from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to Dade County, Florida
  • I-675, a business route freeway from Interstate 75 passing through downtown Saginaw
  • US 23
  • M-13 runs from I-69 through downtown Saginaw and north to Standish.
  • M-15
  • M-46 is a cross peninsular road, running across the mitten and the thumb—from Port Sanilac on the Lake Huron shore; through Saginaw near Saginaw Bay; and then on to Muskegon on the Lake Michigan shore. This east-west surface route nearly bisects the Lower Peninsula of Michigan latitudinally.
  • M-47 passes through the western suburbs and provides a direct connection to MBS International Airport in Freeland before ending at US 10 in nearby Bay County.
  • M-52 runs from the Ohio border through Adrian and Owosso before ending at M-46, in the western suburbs of Saginaw. M-52 also provides an alternate connection to Lansing, Michigan's state capitol.
  • M-54
  • M-57
  • M-58 runs from M-47 to I-675.
  • M-81 runs east from M-13 to Caro and Cass City and ends at M-53 in Sanilac County.
  • M-83
  • M-84 runs from M-25 in downtown Bay City to M-58 in Saginaw.


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.

Notable natives

  • George C. Hinkley (1892-1936), Wisconsin State Assemblyman and businessman, was born in Saginaw County.
  • Theodore Roethke (1908–1963) Pulitzer prize and National Book Award-winning poet was born and buried here.

Historical markers

There are twenty eight recognized historical markers in the county: 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


Saginaw County Michigan
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

Other unincorporated communities


The largest employers in Saginaw County are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Nexteer Automotive 5200
2 Covenant HealthCare 4512
3 St. Mary's of Michigan 1800
4 Morley Companies 1750
5 Meijer 1425
6 Saginaw Valley State University 1071
7 Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation 1000
8 Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn 940
9 Aleda E. Lutz Veteran Affairs Medical Center 904
10 County of Saginaw 676
11 Saginaw Public Schools 657
12 Fashion Square Mall 650
13 Saginaw Township Community Schools 621
14 Saginaw Intermediate School District 613
15 Frankenmuth Insurance 694


Michigan Lutheran Seminary front 1a
Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw

Primary and secondary education

Public schools

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. A number of charter schools also operate in the county.

Higher education

  • 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.

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