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Grand Traverse County, Michigan

Grand Traverse County, Michigan
Logo of Grand Traverse County, Michigan
Map of Michigan highlighting Grand Traverse County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded 1851[1]
Named for Grand Traverse Bay
Seat Traverse City
Largest city Traverse City
 • Total 601 sq mi (1,557 km2)
 • Land 464 sq mi (1,202 km2)
 • Water 137 sq mi (355 km2), 23%
 • (2010) 86,986
 • Density 187/sq mi (72/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website .us.mi.grand-traverse.cowww

Grand Traverse County is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 86,986.[2] The county seat is Traverse City.[3]

Grand Traverse County is part of the Traverse City, MI Micropolitan Statistical Area, which also includes Benzie, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties.

Interlochen, home of the Interlochen Center for the Arts is located in Green Lake Township.


  • History 1
    • Historical markers 1.1
  • Geography 2
    • Adjacent counties 2.1
  • Transportation 3
    • Air service 3.1
    • Major highways 3.2
  • Demographics 4
    • Religion 4.1
  • Government 5
    • Elected officials 5.1
  • Politics 6
  • Communities 7
    • Cities 7.1
    • Villages 7.2
    • Townships 7.3
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • External links 10


In 1840 it was separated and originally named Omeena County. Grand Traverse County was organized by an act of the state legislature on April 7, 1851.[1] Grand Traverse is derived from a French phrase meaning "long crossing" and the county is so named because it is situated at the Grand Traverse Bay.[1][4] The first permanent settlement in the county was the mission now known as Old Mission.

Historical markers

There are twelve recognized Michigan historical markers in the county:[5] They are:


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 601 square miles (1,560 km2), of which 464 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 137 square miles (350 km2) (23%) is water.[7] Grand Traverse County is considered to be part of Northern Michigan.

Adjacent counties


Air service

Grand Traverse County is served by Cherry Capital Airport, which is located near Traverse City.

Major highways


As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 77,654 people, 30,396 households, and 20,730 families residing in the county. The population density was 167 people per square mile (64/km²). There were 34,842 housing units at an average density of 75 per square mile (29/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.51% White, 0.40% Black or African American, 0.93% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.54% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. 1.49% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 25.1% were of German, 11.3% English, 10.7% Irish, 8.4% American and 7.4% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000. 96.4% spoke English and 1.6% Spanish as their first language.

There were 30,396 households out of which 32.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.70% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.80% were non-families. 25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,169, and the median income for a family was $51,211. Males had a median income of $34,796 versus $24,139 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,111. About 3.80% of families and 5.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.30% of those under age 18 and 5.90% of those age 65 or over.


Grand Traverse County is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord.[14]


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. Many government leaders at both the township and county levels have allowed increased development of once agricultural and wooded land to become an unsustainable suburban monstrosity.

Elected officials

(information as of November 2008)


Grand Traverse County predominantly supports the Republican Party, particularly at the federal level.

In the 2008 presidential election, Republican candidate John McCain received 24,716 votes in the county (50.60% of the total) to Democrat Barack Obama's 23,258 (47.62%), even as Obama carried the state of Michigan by a double-digit margin.[15] McCain's margin of victory in the county was narrower than usual for a Republican candidate.

In 2004, Republican president John Kerry's 18,256 (39.52%).[16]

In 2000, Bush received 22,358 votes in the county (58.48%) to Democrat Al Gore's 14,371 (37.59%).[17]





See also


  1. ^ a b c "Bibliography on Grand Traverse County".  
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 141. 
  5. ^ "Michigan Historical Markers". 
  6. ^ "Old restaurant may take on new owners". 
  7. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  14. ^ "The Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan : A Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church - Diocese of Gaylord". 
  15. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - State Data". 
  16. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - State Data". 
  17. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - State Data". 

External links

  • Grand Traverse County Website
  • Grand Traverse County Amateur Radio Public Service Corps Website
  • "Bibliography on Grand Traverse County".  

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