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Washtenaw County, Michigan
Seal of Washtenaw County, Michigan
Map of Michigan highlighting Washtenaw County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded 1826 [1]
Seat Ann Arbor
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

722.53 sq mi (1,871 km²)
709.94 sq mi (1,839 km²)
12.59 sq mi (33 km²), 1.74%
 - (2010)
 - Density

456/sq mi (176/km²)

Washtenaw County (play /ˈwɒʃtɪnɔː/) is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 344,791. Its county seat is Ann Arbor.[1] The United States Office of Management and Budget defines the county as part of the Detroit–Warren–Flint Combined Statistical Area. The county is home to the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College.

History[edit | edit source]

The earliest histories mention trade conducted in the area at the Potawatomi Trail and Pontiac Trail crossings of the Huron River by French traders, and later English then American settlers. The first successful settlement was established at the present site of Ypsilanti about 1809 by French traders.[2]

In 1822, the Legislative Council of the Michigan Territory government defined the boundaries of the county; however, it was deemed to be a part of Wayne County. Washtenaw was established as a separate county by an act of the Michigan Territorial Legislature in 1826.[2] It was attached for administrative purposes to Wayne County until {before 1829} when county government was seated. Ingham and other counties were formed from portions of territorial Washtenaw County.

Swamps were drained and farms were tiled to lower the water table. The swamp northwest of the I-94 and US-23 intersection, and areas within Waterloo Recreation Area still appear as they did to early settlers. As productive farms became established, the local deer herds grew. In the 1820s and 1830s, the events surrounding the independence of Greece from Turkey inspired construction of Greek Revival buildings, and the names of townships, towns, and children.

The "frostbitten constitutional convention" was held at Ann Arbor, the county seat, in 1835. Following resolution of the Toledo War (1835-1836), in which Michigan Territory gave up its claim to the Toledo strip in exchange for most of the Upper Peninsula, Michigan became a state on January 26, 1837. The University of Michigan, founded at Detroit in 1817, was then moved by the state to Ann Arbor in 1839 as a consolation for the city not being named the new state capital, as it had hoped. The University subsequently became and remains the largest employer in the county.

In 1849, the Michigan State Normal School (now Eastern Michigan University) was established in Washtenaw's oldest settlement, the city of Ypsilanti.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 722.53 square miles (1,871.3 km2), of which 709.94 square miles (1,838.7 km2) (or 98.26%) is land and 12.59 square miles (32.6 km2) (or 1.74%) is water.[3]

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Interstate 94 Business Route Ann Arbor Washtenaw Avenue

Interstates[edit | edit source]

US highways[edit | edit source]

Michigan state trunklines[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 4,042
1840 23,571 483.2%
1850 28,567 21.2%
1860 35,686 24.9%
1870 41,434 16.1%
1880 41,848 1.0%
1890 42,210 0.9%
1900 47,761 13.2%
1910 44,714 −6.4%
1920 49,520 10.7%
1930 65,530 32.3%
1940 80,810 23.3%
1950 134,606 66.6%
1960 172,440 28.1%
1970 234,103 35.8%
1980 264,748 13.1%
1990 282,937 6.9%
2000 322,895 14.1%
2010 344,791 6.8%

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 322,895 people, 125,327 households, and 73,692 families residing in the county. The population density was 455 people per square mile (176/km²). There were 131,069 housing units at an average density of 185 per square mile (71/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.40% White, 12.29% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 6.30% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.04% from other races, and 2.57% from two or more races. 2.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.4% were of German, 9.0% English, 8.4% Irish, 5.3% Polish and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 87.1% spoke only English at home; 2.7% spoke Spanish and 1.7% Chinese or Mandarin.

By 2005 non-Hispanic whites were 74.5% of the county population; African-Americans 12.2%; Native Americans 0.4%; Asians 7.8%; and Hispanic or Latinos 3.1% of the population.[5]

There were 125,327 households out of which 29.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.40% were married couples living together, 9.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.20% were non-families. 29.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.10% under the age of 18, 17.10% from 18 to 24, 32.10% from 25 to 44, 20.60% from 45 to 64, and 8.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 98.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $51,990, and the median income for a family was $70,393 (these figures had risen to $59,887 and $80,779 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[6]). Males had a median income of $49,304 versus $33,598 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,173. About 5.10% of families and 11.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.60% of those under age 18 and 5.80% of those age 65 or over.

Cities, villages, and townships[edit | edit source]

Washtenaw County was formed from a portion of Wayne County. It is one of many Michigan counties which has a name not borne by any other county in the United States. As the population increased, townships were formed. Amongst the townships, communities have grown from hamlets into villages and cities. Some of the townships have elected to incorporate as charter townships.

Cities Villages Charter Townships Townships

There are also a number of unincorporated communities, such as Bridgewater, Dixboro, Delhi Mills, Geddes, Mooreville, Salem, Stoney Creek, Whittaker, Whitmore Lake, and Willis.

Also see: Official Washtenaw County website page listing localities

Government[edit | edit source]

Washtenaw County Court House, sculpture by Carlton W. Angell

Washtenaw County Downtown Ann Arbor Campus

Washtenaw County elected officials[edit | edit source]

The Board of Commissioners has eleven members, elected from single member districts, on a partisan ballot, in November of even-numbered years. The term is two years. Information as of January 2011

District Commissioner Party Positions
1 Rob Turner Republican Working Session Vice-Chair
2 Dan Smith Republican Ways & Means Vice-Chair
3 Alicia Ping Republican Board Vice-Chair
4 Wesley Prater Democrat
5 Rolland Sizemore Jr. Democrat Ways & Means Chair
6 Ronnie Peterson Democrat
7 Kristin Judge Democrat
8 Barbara Levin Bergman Democrat
9 Leah Gunn Democrat
10 Conan Smith Democrat Board Chair
11 Yousef Rabhi Democrat Working Session Chair

Government services[edit | edit source]

Parks and recreation[edit | edit source]

Washtenaw county operates 10 parks, and 1 recreation center (gymnasium). These parks include one with a water sprinkler area for children to splash through, one park with a substantial water park component, and one golf course. The recreation center has a swimming pool, indoor track, basketball courts, complete set of resistance machines, a weight room, and several multipurpose rooms.

Washtenaw county is in the process of acquiring land for natural preservation. The program started in 2001 and will end in 2011. Eight parcels of land had been purchased as of July 2007. These parcels are of special ecological, recreational, and educational benefits. They are preserved in a natural unimproved state and are open to the public during daylight hours.

Wireless communication[edit | edit source]

In partnership with private enterprise, the county maintains a wireless network which is currently available to approximately 50% of county residents. The is the Wireless Washtenaw Project. The stated aim of this project is to one day provide wireless access to 100% of all county residents.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

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.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ a b Chas. C. Chapman & Co. (1881). History of Washtenaw County, Michigan, Vol. 1, pp. 116-24. Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman & Co.
  3. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ Washtenaw County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  6. ^ Washtenaw County, Michigan - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 42°15′N 83°50′W / 42.25, -83.84

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