Ottawa County Courthouse in Grand Haven
Location within the U.S. state of Michigan
Michigan's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Ottawa Nation|
|o Total||1,631 sq mi (4,220 km2)|
|o Land||563 sq mi (1,460 km2)|
|o Water||1,068 sq mi (2,770 km2) 65%%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||509/sq mi (197/km2)|
Ottawa County is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the United States 2010 Census, the population was 263,801. The county seat is Grand Haven. The county is named for the Ottawa Nation. It was set off in 1831 and organized in 1837.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 263,801 people residing in the county. 90.1% were White, 2.6% Asian, 1.5% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 3.4% of some other race and 2.0% of two or more races. 8.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 31.0% were of Dutch, 14.2% German, 5.8% English and 5.7% Irish ancestry.
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 238,314 people, 81,662 households, and 61,328 families in the county. The population density was 421 people per square mile (163/km²). There were 86,856 housing units at an average density of 154 per square mile (59/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 91.52% White, 1.05% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 2.09% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.48% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. 7.00% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 37.3% reported being of Dutch, 14.6% German, 6.2% English, 5.6% Irish and 5.4% American ancestry, 91.5% spoke only English at home; 5.4% spoke Spanish.
There were 81,662 households out of which 39.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.60% were married couples living together, 7.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.90% were non-families. 19.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.25.
The county has numerous seasonal residents during the summer. Port Sheldon Township has many lakefront homes and other inland retreats that serve as summer getaways for residents of Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Chicago. No official statistics are compiled on seasonal residents.
The county population contains 28.70% under the age of 18, 11.90% from 18 to 24, 29.30% from 25 to 44, 20.00% from 45 to 64, and 10.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.20 males.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranks Ottawa County as Michigan's second-healthiest county, preceded only by the leisure-oriented Traverse City area.
The median income for a household in the county was $52,347, and the median income for a family was $59,896. Males had a median income of $42,180 versus $27,706 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,676. About 3.10% of families and 5.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.70% of those under age 18 and 4.90% of those age 65 or over.
Ottawa County operates the County jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, records deeds, mortgages, and vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget and has 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.
(information as of September 2018)
Ottawa County is a stronghold of the Republican Party. The last Democratic Party candidate to carry the county was George B. McClellan in 1864. In 1912, the nominal Republican Party candidate did not carry the county, due to "Bull Moose Party" candidate and former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt's unsuccessful campaign, which took the county's vote.
Beginning in 2015, County Administrator Alan Vanderberg has signaled that the county is too white and needs to embrace diversity. He said that Ottawa County is facing an "ugly challenge" with eliminating racism and discrimination. Vanderberg said that Ottawa County's future prosperity depends on changing the racial and ethnic mix. The county "rebranded" its image in 2017 in part due to increasing minority in-migration. The county board adopted the slogan "Where you belong." Vanderberg said the slogan is intended to let everyone, regardless of color, ethnic background, sexual identity, religion or other qualifier, know they are welcome in Ottawa County.