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Kent County, Michigan Seal Location in the state of Michigan Michigan's location in the U.S. Founded 1831 Seat Grand Rapids Area  - Total  - Land  - Water 872.18 sq mi (2,259 km²) 856.17 sq mi (2,217 km²) 16.01 sq mi (41 km²), 1.84% Population  - (2010)  - Density 602,622 264/sq mi (102/km²) Congressional districts 2nd, 3rd Website Kent County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is part of the Grand Rapids–Wyoming Metropolitan Statistical Area. In the 2010 census, the county had a population of 602,622.[1] 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. Contents 1 History 2 Demographics 3 Geography 3.1 Rivers 3.2 Trails 3.3 Adjacent counties 4 Transportation 4.1 Air Service 4.2 Bus Service 4.3 Railroad 4.4 Highways 4.4.1 County-Designated Highways 5 Major Businesses 6 Government 6.1 Kent County elected officials 7 Politics 8 Cities, villages, and townships 9 See also 10 References 11 External links History This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2009) The Grand River, the largest river in Michigan, runs through the county. On its west bank are burial mounds, remnants of the Hopewell Indians who once lived there. The valley of the river served as an important center for the fur trade in the early 19th century. In 1831, it was set off from Mackinac County. In 1838, Grand Rapids 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. Kent County is the economic and manufacturing center of West Michigan, 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, although the 2008 Presidential Election marked the first time since 1964 a Democratic Presidential candidate received more votes than his Republican opponent. The area has strong religious ties, containing a substantial number of evangelical Christians. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is located within the county. Demographics Historical populations 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% U.S. Decennial Census The Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids As of the census[2] 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% were of Dutch, 14.9% German, 7.6% English, 7.4% Irish, 7.1% Polish and 5.5% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 90.0% spoke English and 6.0% Spanish as their first language. 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. In the county the population was spread out with 28.30% 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. Out of the total people living in poverty, 10.20% are under the age of 18 and 7.50% are 65 or older. Geography Long Lake Park, in Solon Township According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 872.18 square miles (2,258.9 km2), of which 856.17 square miles (2,217.5 km2) (or 98.16%) is land and 16.01 square miles (41.5 km2) (or 1.84%) is water.[3] The highest point in Kent County is Fisk Knob Park,[4] in Solon Township, at 1048 feet.[5] 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 half-way point of the trail, 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, is 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 rungs through Cannon Township in the eastern part of the county from Cannon Township Center on M-44. It runs along M-44 then runs south near Sunfish Lake Road, turning east through the Cannonsburg Cemetery, and ends at Warren Townsend Park near Cannonsburg. Adjacent counties Newaygo County, Michigan - north Montcalm County, Michigan - northeast Muskegon County, Michigan - northwest Ionia County, Michigan - east Ottawa County, Michigan - west Allegan County, Michigan - southwest Barry County, Michigan - southeast Muskegon County Newaygo County Montcalm County Ottawa County Ionia County    Kent County, Michigan     Allegan County Barry County A farm in Alpine Township. 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 shortline railroad, the Grand Rapids Eastern Railroad. Highways I-96 I-196 I-296 is unsigned and runs concurrently with US 131, in part, in Grand Rapids. US 131 M-6 M-11 M-21 M-37 M-44 M-46 M-50 M-57 County-Designated Highways A-45 B-72 Major Businesses These corporations are headquartered in Kent County, in the following communities: Amway, Ada American Seating, Grand Rapids Bissell Homecare, Walker Gordon Food Service, Wyoming Meijer, Walker Old Orchard, Sparta Spartan Stores, Byron Township Steelcase, Grand Rapids Universal Forest Products, Northview Wolverine Worldwide, Rockford X-Rite, Kentwood Zondervan, Cascade Township Government The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships. Kent County elected officials Prosecuting Attorney: William A. Forsyth (Republican) Sheriff: Lawrence Stelma (Republican) County Clerk/Register of Deeds: Mary Hollinrake (Republican) County Treasurer: Kenneth Parrish (Republican) Drain Commissioner: William Byl (Republican) County Commission or Board of Commissioners: 19 members, elected from districts (15 Republicans, 4 Democrats) Circuit Court: 9 judges (non-partisan) Probate Court: 3 judges (non-partisan) (information as of post- 2008 election) Politics Kent County has historically been a stronghold of the Republican Party, and usually supports its candidates for local and federal office. In 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama narrowly carried the county, receiving 149,909 votes (49.34% of the total) to Republican John McCain's 148,336 (48.83%).[6] This nevertheless represented a weaker showing for Obama than his statewide performance (57.4% of the vote), but more importantly showed the candidate's strength in being able to carry an historically conservative area. In 2004, Republican president George W. Bush received 171,201 votes (58.85%) to Democrat John Kerry's 116,909 (40.19%).[7] In 2000, Bush received 148,602 votes (59.37%) to Democrat Al Gore's 95,442 (38.13%).[8] Cities, villages, and townships A Public Land Survey System survey of Kent County in 1885, showing 24 named townships and sectional subdivisions. Cities Cedar Springs East Grand Rapids Grand Rapids Grandville Kentwood Lowell Rockford Walker Wyoming Villages Caledonia Casnovia Kent City Sand Lake Sparta Unincorporated Ada Alaska Alto Belmont Byron Center Cannonsburg Cascade Comstock Park Cutlerville Dutton Forest Hills Northview Townships Ada Township Algoma Township Alpine Township Bowne Township Byron Township Caledonia Township* Cannon Township Cascade Township* Courtland Township Gaines Township* Grand Rapids Township* Grattan Township Lowell Township* Nelson Township Oakfield Township Plainfield Township* Solon Township Sparta Township Spencer Township Tyrone Township Vergennes Township (* denotes Charter status) See also Kent District Library National Register of Historic Places listings in Kent County, Michigan References ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 3 May 2011.  ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.  ^ [ Fisk Knob], Grand Valley State University - Kent County Parks ^ Highest Point in Kent County, Google Earth/Maps] ^ ^ ^ External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kent County, Michigan Official Website of Kent County, Michigan Official GIS Map of Kent County, Michigan History and Genealogy of Kent County, Michigan v · d · eMunicipalities and communities of Kent County, Michigan County seat: Grand Rapids Cities Cedar Springs | East Grand Rapids | Grand Rapids | Grandville | Kentwood | Lowell | Rockford | Walker | Wyoming Villages Caledonia | Casnovia‡ | Kent City | Sand Lake | Sparta Charter townships Caledonia | Cascade | Gaines | Grand Rapids | Lowell | Plainfield General law townships Ada | Algoma | Alpine | Bowne | Byron | Cannon | Courtland | Grattan | Nelson | Oakfield | Solon | Sparta | Spencer | Tyrone | Vergennes Unincorporated communities Ada | Alaska | Alto | Belmont | Byron Center | Cannonsburg | Cascade | Comstock Park | Cutlerville | Dutton | Forest Hills | Northview Footnotes ‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties v · d · e State of Michigan Lansing (capital) Topics Congressional delegation · Geography · Governors · History · Islands · Legislature · Lieutenant Governors · Lighthouses · Museums · National Historic Landmarks · National Register of Historic Places listings · People · State Historic Sites · State parks · Supreme Court · Tallest buildings · Timeline · Topics · Visitor attractions Regions Upper Peninsula Copper Country · Keweenaw Peninsula · Gogebic Range Lower Peninsula Central Michigan · Southern Michigan · Flint/Tri-Cities · The Thumb · The Greater Tri Cities · Michiana · Northern Michigan · Southeast Michigan · Metro Detroit · West Michigan Largest Municipalities Alpena · Ann Arbor · Battle Creek · Bay City · Bloomfield Township · Canton Township · Chesterfield Township · Clinton Township · Commerce Township · Dearborn · Dearborn Heights · Detroit · East Lansing · Eastpointe · Farmington Hills · Flint · Flint Township · Georgetown Township · Grand Rapids · Holland · Jackson · Kalamazoo · Kentwood · Lansing · Lincoln Park · Livonia · Macomb Township · Meridian Township · Midland · Muskegon · Novi · Pontiac · Portage · Redford · Rochester Hills · Roseville · Royal Oak · Saginaw · Saginaw Township · St. Clair Shores · Shelby Township · Southfield · Sterling Heights · Taylor · Troy · Warren · Waterford Township · West Bloomfield · Westland · Wyoming · Ypsilanti Township Counties Alcona · Alger · Allegan · Alpena · Antrim · Arenac · Baraga · Barry · Bay · Benzie · Berrien · Branch · Calhoun · Cass · Charlevoix · Cheboygan · Chippewa · Clare · Clinton · Crawford · Delta · Dickinson · Eaton · Emmet · Genesee · Gladwin · Gogebic · Grand Traverse · Gratiot · Hillsdale · Houghton · Huron · Ingham · Ionia · Iosco · Iron · Isabella · Jackson · Kalamazoo · Kalkaska · Kent · Keweenaw · Lake · Lapeer · Leelanau · Lenawee · Livingston · Luce · Mackinac · Macomb · Manistee · Marquette · Mason · Mecosta · Menominee · Midland · Missaukee · Monroe · Montcalm · Montmorency · Muskegon · Newaygo · Oakland · Oceana · Ogemaw · Ontonagon · Osceola · Oscoda · Otsego · Ottawa · Presque Isle · Roscommon · Saginaw · Sanilac · Schoolcraft · Shiawassee · St. Clair · St. Joseph · Tuscola · Van Buren · Washtenaw · Wayne · Wexford Coordinates: 43°02′N 85°33′W / 43.03°N 85.55°W / 43.03; -85.55