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Kalkaska County, Michigan
Map of Michigan highlighting Kalkaska County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded 1871
Seat Kalkaska
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

571 sq mi (1,479 km²)

10 sq mi (26 km²), 1.71%
 - (2000)
 - Density

28/sq mi (11/km²)

Kalkaska County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is part of the Traverse City Micropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the population was 16,571. The county seat is Kalkaska6.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,478 km² (571 sq mi). 1,453 km² (561 sq mi) of it is land and 25 km² (10 sq mi) of it (1.71%) is water.

Kalkaska County has over 80 lakes and 275 miles of streams and rivers. Starvation Lake and Lake Skegemog are located in the county with many others. The largest rivers include the Manistee, Boardman, and Rapid River.

Kalkaska Sand, the state soil of Michigan, was named after the county because of the large amounts deposited in the area from the glaciers in the Ice Age.

Major highways[]

Adjacent counties[]


As of the census2 of 2000, there were 16,571 people, 6,428 households, and 4,634 families residing in the county. The population density was 11/km² (30/sq mi). There were 10,822 housing units at an average density of 7/km² (19/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 97.54% White, 0.21% Black or African American, 0.78% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. 0.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 98.8% spoke English as their first language.

Kalkaska County
Year Population Change
1940 5,159 -
1950 4,597 -10.9%
1960 4,382 -4.7%
1970 5,372 22.6%
1980 10,592 97.2%
1990 13,497 27.4%
2000 16,571 22.8%
2005 (est.) 17,239 4.0%

There were 6,428 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.60% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.90% were non-families. 22.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.60% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 28.60% from 25 to 44, 24.50% from 45 to 64, and 13.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,072, and the median income for a family was $39,932. Males had a median income of $31,860 versus $20,455 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,309. About 8.20% of families and 10.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.20% of those under age 18 and 7.00% of those age 65 or over.


The first settler in Kalkaska County was an Englishman named William Copeland, who purchased land in the northwest corner of the county in 1855. The county was originally called Wabasee. The name Kalkaska is thought to be a Chippewa word meaning flat or burned-over country. Logging was the first important industry.

The discovery of substantial deposits of oil and natural gas resulted in the construction of a processing plant by Shell Oil Company in 1973 and a major economic boom in the community.


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.

Kalkaska County elected officials[]

(information as of September 2005)

Cities, villages, and townships[]

External links[]

Further reading[]

  • Kalkaska Genealogical Society: Big Trout, Black Gold: History of Kalkaska County, Michigan. nd.

Coordinates: 44°41′N 85°05′W / 44.69, -85.08

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Kalkaska County, Michigan. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.