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Michigan Counties

The boundaries of the eighty-three counties in Michigan have not changed substantially since 1897. Wayne County was the sixth county in the Northwest Territory, formed 15 August 1796 and organized in 1815. Wayne County was created 21 November 1815 as an original county of Michigan.

Kent County, Michigan

Kent County Education, Geography, and HistoryKent County, Michigan Courthouse

Kent County is a county located in the state of Michigan. Based on the 2010 census, the county had a population of 602,622. Its county seat is Grand Rapids. The county was set off in 1831, and organized in 1836. 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.

Kent County is included in the Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Kent County Name

Kent County is named for New York jurist James Kent, who represented the Michigan Territory in its dispute with Ohio over the Toledo Strip.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Kent County History

Kent County is named for New York jurist James Kent, who represented the Michigan Territory in its dispute with Ohio over the Toledo Strip.

Set Off: 1831

Organized: 1836

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 1800s. 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. The area has strong religious ties, containing a substantial number of evangelical Christians. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is located within the county.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 872 square miles (2,260 km2), of which 847 square miles (2,190 km2) is land and 25 square miles (65 km2) (2.9%) is water. The highest point in Kent County is Fisk Knob Park, in Solon Township, at 1048 feet.

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.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • 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


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