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Grand Rapids, Michigan

Two-part postcard panorama of Grand Rapids, Michigan, along the Grand River riverfront, circa 1905

Grand Rapids is a city in, and the county seat of, Kent County, Michigan, in the southwestern region of the state. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 197,800.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Demographics
6 Sites of Interest
7 Notable Natives
8 External Links


The Grand Rapids area was first settled in the 1820s by missionaries and fur traders, who generally lived in reasonable peace alongside the Ottawa tribespeople who had their settlements near the Grand River.

The official founder of Grand Rapids itself was Louis Campau, who arrived in November 1826 to trade with the Indians. Yankee immigrants and others began immigrating from New York and New England in the 1830s.

The city of Grand Rapids was officially created on May 1, 1850 when the village of Grand Rapids voted to accept the proposed city charter. The population at the time was 2,686.

During the second half of the 19th century the city became a major lumbering center and the premier furniture manufacturing city of the United States. The city also became a center of Dutch immigration in the 19th century.

Law and Government


Grand Rapids sits on the banks of the Grand River, where there was once a set of rapids, at an altitude of 610 feet above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 117.4 km² (45.3 mi²). 115.6 km² (44.6 mi²) of it is land and 1.8 km² (0.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.50% water.



As of the census of 2000, there are 197,800 people, 73,217 households, and 44,369 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,710.8/km² (4,431.2/mi²). There are 77,960 housing units at an average density of 674.3/km² (1,746.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 67.30% White, 20.41% African American, 0.74% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 6.63% from other races, and 3.19% from two or more races. 13.05% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 73,217 households out of which 32.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% are married couples living together, 15.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% are non-families. 30.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.57 and the average family size is 3.24.

In the city the population is spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $37,224, and the median income for a family is $44,224. Males have a median income of $33,050 versus $26,382 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,661. 15.7% of the population and 11.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 19.4% are under the age of 18 and 10.4% are 65 or older.

Sites of Interest

Notable Natives

External Links

Official Website of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan