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Tuscola County, Michigan facts for kids

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Tuscola County
Tuscola County Courthouse in Caro
Tuscola County Courthouse in Caro
Map of Michigan highlighting Tuscola 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 April 1, 1840
organized March 2, 1850
Seat Caro
Largest city Caro
 • Total 914 sq mi (2,370 km2)
 • Land 803 sq mi (2,080 km2)
 • Water 111 sq mi (290 km2)  12%
 • Total 53,323
 • Density 66/sq mi (25/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 5th, 10th

Tuscola County is a county in the Thumb region of the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 census, the population was 53,323. The county seat is Caro. The county was created by Michigan Law on April 1, 1840, from land in Sanilac County and attached to Saginaw County for administrative purposes. The Michigan Legislature passed an act on March 2, 1850, that empowered the county residents to organize governmental functions.

Tuscola County is one of five counties in the Thumb area. Like the rest of the thumb, Tuscola County enjoys seasonal tourism from cities like Flint, Detroit and Saginaw.


The name Tuscola was a Neologism created by Henry Schoolcraft. One scholar believes it to be a combination of "dusinagon" (level) and "cola" (lands).

The Chippewa/Ottawa word "dusinagon", or "tessi-nagan", actually, means flat dish or plate. The early Chippewa/Ottawa often used a shell or bark from a tree for a dish or plate. Shell in their language was "essi", which may be the root of Tuscola.

Ottusson was also the name of the village of the Ojibwe near the start of the Cass River. It along with a large amount of surrounding land was reserved to the Ojibwe in the 1819 Treaty of Detroit but was sold off in the 1837 treaty.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 914 square miles (2,370 km2), of which 803 square miles (2,080 km2) is land and 111 square miles (290 km2) (12%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • M-15, runs north and south
  • M-24, runs north and south
  • M-25, runs north and south
  • M-46, runs east and west
  • M-81, runs east and west
  • M-138, runs east and west


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 291
1860 4,886 1,579.0%
1870 13,714 180.7%
1880 25,738 87.7%
1890 32,508 26.3%
1900 25,890 −20.4%
1910 34,913 34.9%
1920 33,320 −4.6%
1930 32,934 −1.2%
1940 35,694 8.4%
1950 38,258 7.2%
1960 43,305 13.2%
1970 48,603 12.2%
1980 56,961 17.2%
1990 55,498 −2.6%
2000 58,266 5.0%
2010 55,729 −4.4%
2020 53,323 −4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2018

The 2010 United States Census indicates Tuscola County had a 2010 population of 55,729. This is a decrease of -2,537 people from the 2000 United States Census. Overall, the county had a -4.4% growth rate during this ten-year period. In 2010 there were 21,590 households and 15,423 families in the county. The population density was 69.4 per square mile (26.8 square kilometers). There were 24,451 housing units at an average density of 30.4 per square mile (11.7 square kilometers). 96.1% of the population were White, 1.1% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.7% of some other race and 1.2% of two or more races. 2.8% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 32.3% were of German, 9.0% English, 8.4% Polish, 8.0% Irish, 7.8% American and 6.2% French, French Canadian or Cajun ancestry.

There were 21,590 households, out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.5% were husband and wife families, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.6% were non-families, and 24.0% were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.5% under age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 100.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.6 males.

The 2010 American Community Survey 3-year estimate indicates the median income for a household in the county was $40,839 and the median income for a family was $49,274. Males had a median income of $28,288 versus $15,314 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,470. About 1.7% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.0% of those under the age 18 and 11.0% 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

Charter township

  • Almer Charter Township

General law townships

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