kids encyclopedia robot

Sanilac County, Michigan facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Sanilac County
Sanilac County courthouse
Sanilac County courthouse
Official seal of Sanilac County
Map of Michigan highlighting Sanilac 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 September 10, 1822 (created)
December 31, 1849 (organized)
Seat Sandusky
Largest city Sandusky
 • Total 1,590 sq mi (4,100 km2)
 • Land 963 sq mi (2,490 km2)
 • Water 627 sq mi (1,620 km2)  39%%
 • Total 40,611
 • Density 45/sq mi (17/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 10th

Sanilac County is a county located in the Thumb region of the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 40,611. The county seat is Sandusky. The county was created on September 10, 1822, and was fully organized on December 31, 1849 Sanilac County is considered to be part of the Thumb of Michigan, a subregion of the Flint/Tri-Cities. Sanilac County enjoys seasonal tourism in towns such as Lexington, Port Sanilac, and Carsonville. Sanilac County is economically attached to St. Clair County and Huron County and is largely composed of nearly flat areas of rich soil.


Map of the surveyed part of the territory of Michigan 1825
Map of the Surveyed Part of the Territory of Michigan by Orange Risdon, 1825, showing an earlier, larger incarnation of Sanilac County, most of which had not yet been surveyed.

Sanilac County was probably named for a Wyandot (Huron) chief named Sanilac. (See List of Michigan county name etymologies). The county was formed on September 10, 1822, by Michigan Territory from part of St. Clair County and unorganized territory administered by Oakland County. It lost land to the creation of Huron and Tuscola counties in 1840. The county government was fully organized on December 31, 1849.

In the middle of the 19th century, the area now called Port Sanilac was called Bark Shanty. It was named for a lone shanty made of bark, which was used to make shingles from pine. The Algonquin word "zngwak" means pine. The county seat of Sanilac is the city of Sandusky.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,590 square miles (4,100 km2), of which 963 square miles (2,490 km2) is land and 627 square miles (1,620 km2) (39%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • M-19
  • M-25
  • M-46
  • M-53
  • M-81
  • M-90


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,112
1860 7,599 259.8%
1870 14,562 91.6%
1880 26,341 80.9%
1890 32,589 23.7%
1900 35,055 7.6%
1910 33,930 −3.2%
1920 31,237 −7.9%
1930 27,751 −11.2%
1940 30,114 8.5%
1950 30,837 2.4%
1960 32,314 4.8%
1970 34,889 8.0%
1980 40,789 16.9%
1990 39,928 −2.1%
2000 44,547 11.6%
2010 43,114 −3.2%
2020 40,611 −5.8%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2018

The 2010 United States Census indicates Sanilac County had a 2010 population of 43,114. This decrease of -1,433 people from the 2000 United States Census represents a 3.2% population loss in the decade. In 2010 there were 17,132 households and 11,885 families in the county. The population density was 44.8 per square mile (17.3 per km2). There were 22,725 housing units at an average density of 23.6 per square mile (9.1 per km2). 96.6% of the population were White, 0.5% Native American, 0.3% Black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 1.1% of some other race and 1.2% of two or more races. 3.3% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 26.1% were of German, 11.0% Polish, 10.4% English, 8.3% Irish, 7.2% American and 5.1% French, French Canadian or Cajun ancestry.

There were 17,132 households, out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were husband and wife families, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.6% were non-families, and 26.4% were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.6% under age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 21.8% from 25 to 44, 29.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.7 males.

The 2010 American Community Survey 3-year estimate indicates the median income for a household in the county was $39,138 and the median income for a family was $47,885. Males had a median income of $27,440 versus $16,509 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,671. About 1.5% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.3% of those under the age 18 and 11.4% of those age 65 or over.


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




Census-designated place

Other unincorporated communities


Images for kids

kids search engine
Sanilac County, Michigan Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.