Michigan Counties
Michigan County map
Click Image to Enlarge

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.

Oakland County, Michigan

Oakland County Education, Geography, and HistoryOakland County, Michigan Courthouse

Oakland County is a county located in the state of Michigan and located northwest of Detroit, in that city's metropolitan area. Based on the 2010 census,its population was 1,202,362, making it the second-most populous county in Michigan, behind neighboring Wayne County. The county seat is Pontiac. The county was founded in 1819 and organized in 1820.

Oakland County is composed of 61 cities, townships and villages, and is part of the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Oakland County Name

Oakland County was named for the many oak openings in the area.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Oakland County History

Oakland County was named for the many oak openings in the area.

Set Off: 1819

Organized: 1820

Created by territorial Gov. Lewis Cass in 1819, sparsely settled Oakland was twice its current size at first, but shrank as Michigan's population grew and new counties were established. Woodward Avenue and the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad helped draw settlers in the 1840s. By 1840, Oakland had more than fifty mills. Pontiac, located on the Clinton River, was Oakland's first town and became the county seat. After the Civil War, Oakland was mainly an agricultural county with numerous isolated villages. By the end of the 19th Century, three rail lines served Pontiacand the city attracted carriage and wagon factories. Streetcars began moving people in the late 1890s.

Developers turned southern Oakland County into a suburb of Detroit in the 1890s, when a Cincinnati firm platted a section of Royal Oak called "Urbanrest." Migration worked both ways. Several thousand people moved from Oakland County farms to Detroit as the city attracted factories. By 1910, a number of rich Detroiters had summer homes and some year-round residences in what became Bloomfield Hills. The auto age enveloped Pontiac in the early 1900s. The Oakland Motor Car Co. was born in 1907 and became a part of General Motors Corp., which was soon Pontiac's dominate firm.

In the 1950s, jobs and people began leaving Detroit. Northland Center opened in 1954. Oakland County passed Wayne County in effective buying power by 1961, when it ranked 28th in the nation in household income. It ranked second-highest nationally in per capita income for counties of more than a million people, behind New York County (Manhattan). The median price of a home in Oakland County skyrocketed to $164,697, more than $30,000 above the national median.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 907 square miles (2,350 km2), of which 868 square miles (2,250 km2) is land and 40 square miles (100 km2) (4.4%) is water.

Oakland County was originally divided into 25 separate townships, which are listed below. Each township is roughly equal in size at six miles (10 km) by six miles, for a total township area of 36 square miles (93 km2). The roots of this design were born out of the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the subsequent Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Oakland County itself is a prime example of the land policy that was established, as all townships are equal in size (save for slight variations due to waterways). Section 16 in each township was reserved for financing and maintaining public education, and even today many schools in Oakland County townships are located within that section.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Lapeer County (northeast)
  • Genesee County (northwest)
  • Macomb County (east)
  • Wayne County (southeast)
  • Washtenaw County (southwest)
  • Livingston County (west)


The County of Oakland counterpart in public education (K-12) is the Oakland Schools, an Intermediate school district.

Higher education

Oakland County is home to several institutions of higher education.

Baker College, Auburn Hills campus
Oakland University, Rochester
The Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Auburn Hills campus
Lawrence Technological University, Southfield
Rochester College, Rochester
South University, Novi campus
Walsh College of Accountancy and Business, Troy and Novi campuses
Oakland Community College, five campuses: Orchard Ridge, Auburn Hills, Southfield, Highland Lakes, and Royal Oak.
Saint Mary's College of Madonna University, Orchard Lake

Compare More Colleges and Universities
Find the Right School

Find more schools to match to your needs.

County Resources
US Counties
Click Image to Enlarge