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Van Buren County, Michigan
Pawpawcourthouse.jpg
Van Buren County Courthouse
Seal of Van Buren County, Michigan
Seal
Map of Michigan highlighting Van Buren County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded 1829 (created)
1837 (organized)[1]
Named for Martin Van Buren
Seat Paw Paw
Largest city South Haven
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,090 sq mi (2,823 km²)
607 sq mi (1,572 km²)
482 sq mi (1,248 km²), 44%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

75,587
124/sq mi (48/km²)
Congressional district 6th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.vanburencountymi.gov

Van Buren County is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 75,587.[2] The county seat is Paw Paw.[3] The county was founded in 1829 and organized in 1837.[1]

History[]

The county was named for Martin Van Buren before he became president. He was US Secretary of State and later Vice President under President Andrew Jackson, and thus Van Buren is one of Michigan's "Cabinet counties".[1]

The Van Buren County Courthouse was built by Claire Allen, a prominent southern Michigan architect; its cornerstone was laid on September 2, 1901, after a July vote to issue $35,000 in county bonds.[4]

Government[]

Van Buren County has usually voted Republican in national elections. Since 1884, the county's voters have selected the Republican Party nominee in 79% (27 of 34) of the national elections through 2016. However, the county has become a swing county as well as a bellwether in recent years, voting for the overall winner in every presidential election from 1980 to 2016. It stayed with Donald Trump, a popular candidate in this county and other rural bellwethers, in the 2020 race.

United States presidential election results for Van Buren County, Michigan[5]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 21,591 55.16% 16,803 42.92% 752 1.92%
2016 17,890 53.77% 13,258 39.84% 2,126 6.39%
2012 16,141 49.15% 16,290 49.61% 406 1.24%
2008 15,534 44.68% 18,588 53.47% 644 1.85%
2004 17,634 51.60% 16,151 47.26% 389 1.14%
2000 14,792 50.17% 13,796 46.79% 894 3.03%
1996 11,347 40.56% 13,355 47.74% 3,273 11.70%
1992 10,357 34.25% 12,466 41.23% 7,414 24.52%
1988 14,522 57.17% 10,668 42.00% 210 0.83%
1984 16,426 64.55% 8,853 34.79% 166 0.65%
1980 14,451 55.96% 9,248 35.81% 2,125 8.23%
1976 13,615 56.02% 10,366 42.65% 321 1.32%
1972 13,903 64.57% 7,159 33.25% 469 2.18%
1968 10,676 51.81% 7,304 35.44% 2,627 12.75%
1964 8,120 41.63% 11,336 58.12% 48 0.25%
1960 12,903 64.21% 7,082 35.24% 111 0.55%
1956 13,291 69.72% 5,678 29.79% 94 0.49%
1952 13,231 70.91% 5,309 28.45% 119 0.64%
1948 9,511 67.92% 4,082 29.15% 411 2.93%
1944 10,951 68.29% 5,002 31.19% 84 0.52%
1940 11,571 66.90% 5,625 32.52% 101 0.58%
1936 9,110 54.70% 6,720 40.35% 825 4.95%
1932 6,954 47.50% 7,223 49.33% 464 3.17%
1928 9,325 77.39% 2,643 21.93% 82 0.68%
1924 7,384 71.55% 1,646 15.95% 1,290 12.50%
1920 6,904 75.11% 1,988 21.63% 300 3.26%
1916 4,302 55.32% 3,225 41.47% 249 3.20%
1912 2,101 29.01% 1,994 27.53% 3,147 43.45%
1908 4,531 62.80% 2,313 32.06% 371 5.14%
1904 5,254 72.67% 1,634 22.60% 342 4.73%
1900 4,892 58.72% 3,235 38.83% 204 2.45%
1896 4,510 51.95% 3,982 45.87% 190 2.19%
1892 3,788 54.05% 2,182 31.14% 1,038 14.81%
1888 4,783 58.05% 2,986 36.24% 471 5.72%
1884 4,219 56.11% 2,933 39.01% 367 4.88%



Van Buren 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.

Elected officials[]

  • Prosecuting Attorney: Susan Zuiderveen (R)
  • Sheriff: Dan Abbott (R)
  • County Clerk: Suzie Roehm (R)
  • County Treasurer: Trisha Nesbitt (R)
  • Register of Deeds: Paul W. DeYoung (R)
  • Drain Commissioner: Joe Parman (R)
  • County Surveyor: Charles Lossie (R)

Board of Commissioners[]

7 members, elected from districts (1 Democrat, 6 Republicans)

District Commissioner Party District's Area
1 Gail Patterson-Gladney Democrat City of South Haven and Townships of Covert and South Haven
2 Kurt Doroh Republican City of Bangor and Townships of Arlington, Columbia, and Geneva
3 Dick Godfrey (Chairman) Republican City of Gobles and Townships of Almena, Bloomingdale, and Pine Grove
4 Mike Chappell (Vice-chairman) Republican City of Hartford and Townships of Bangor, Hartford, and Keeler
5 Randall Peat Republican Townships of Antwerp (part), Paw Paw, and Waverly
6 Donald Hanson Republican Townships of Decatur, Hamilton, Lawrence, and Porter
7 Paul Schincariol Republican Township of Antwerp (part)

[6]

(information correct in March 2021)

Geography[]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,090 square miles (2,800 km2), of which 607 square miles (1,570 km2) is land and 482 square miles (1,250 km2) (44%) is water.[7]

Much of the county is farmland dotted with small towns. Areas near Kalamazoo County, specifically Antwerp Township and Almena Township, are becoming suburbanized. Many of the inland lakes are ringed with homes, either by people living year-round or cottagers, generally people who live the rest of the time in Chicago. Tourism is a major industry in the areas near Lake Michigan.

Rivers[]

  • Paw Paw River
  • Black River

Adjacent counties[]

Parks, preserves, natural areas[]

Paw Paw River in Van Buren County

  • Dunes Parkway, an 84-acre (340,000 m2) preserve of dunes in Covert Township
  • Hamilton Township Coastal Plain Marsh Nature Sanctuary, a 79-acre (320,000 m2) preserve of coastal plain marsh in Hamilton Township owned by the Michigan Nature Association
  • Jeptha Lake Fen Preserve, a 49-acre (200,000 m2) preserve in Columbia Township
  • Kal-Haven Trail, a multi-use trail converted from old rail line that runs from Kalamazoo to South Haven
  • Keeler State Game Area, 400 acres (162 ha) (1.6 km2) in Keeler Township
  • North Point Park - high dunes on 17 acres (69,000 m2) on Lake Michigan, north of Van Buren State Park
  • Ross Preserve, a 1,449 acre (5.9 km2) preserve of coastal plain marsh in Covert Township owned by The Nature Conservancy
  • Van Buren State Park
  • Van Buren Trail State Park is adjacent to Kal-Haven Trail

Transportation[]

Highways[]

  • I-94
  • I-196
  • BL I-196
  • US 31
  • M-40
  • M-51
  • M-140
  • M-152
  • A-2
  • M-43

Public transportation[]

  • Pere Marquette (Amtrak train)
  • Van Buren Public Transit[8]

Railroads[]

  • Amtrak
  • CSX Transportation
  • Norfolk Southern, through Amtrak owned Michigan Line
  • West Michigan Railroad

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 5
1840 1,910 38,100.0%
1850 5,800 203.7%
1860 15,224 162.5%
1870 28,829 89.4%
1880 30,807 6.9%
1890 30,541 −0.9%
1900 33,274 8.9%
1910 33,185 −0.3%
1920 30,715 −7.4%
1930 32,637 6.3%
1940 35,111 7.6%
1950 39,184 11.6%
1960 48,395 23.5%
1970 56,173 16.1%
1980 66,814 18.9%
1990 70,060 4.9%
2000 76,263 8.9%
2010 76,258 0%
US Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2020[2]

The 2010 United States Census[13] indicates Van Buren County had a 2010 population of 76,258. This decrease of -5 people from the 2000 United States Census indicated a nearly-zero population change in the decade. In 2010 there were 28,928 households and 20,434 families in the county. The population density was 125.5 per square mile (48.5 square kilometers). There were 36,785 housing units at an average density of 60.6 per square mile (23.4 square kilometers). The racial and ethnic makeup of the county was 82.7% White, 3.9% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 10.2% Hispanic or Latino, 0.1% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races.

There were 28,928 households, out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were husband and wife families, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.4% were non-families, and 24.0% were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.07.

The county population contained 25.5% under age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96 males.

The 2010 American Community Survey 1-year estimate[13] indicates the median income for a household in the county was $44,242 and the median income for a family was $53,642. Males had a median income of $28,079 versus $18,124 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,495. About 10.0% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.1% of those under the age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.

Communities[]

South Haven Light, south pier

Cities[]

  • Bangor
  • Gobles
  • Hartford
  • South Haven (partial)

Villages[]

  • Bloomingdale
  • Breedsville
  • Decatur
  • Lawrence
  • Lawton
  • Mattawan
  • Paw Paw (county seat)

Unincorporated communities[]

  • Almena
  • Berlamont (originally Bear Lake Mills)
  • Columbia
  • Corwin
  • Covert
  • Crystal Beach
  • Fritzburg
  • Glendale (named Lemont during 1868)
  • Grand Junction
  • Keeler
  • Kibbie
  • Kendall
  • Lake-of-the-Woods
  • Lacota (originally West Geneva, then Irvington)
  • Maple Grove Corners
  • McDonald
  • Mentha (ghost town)
  • North Lake
  • Pine Grove Mills
  • Roth Valley
  • Sister Lakes
  • Stoughton Corners
  • Tea Pot Dome
  • Toquin
  • West Bangor

Townships[]

  • Almena Township
  • Antwerp Township
  • Arlington Township
  • Bangor Township
  • Bloomingdale Township
  • Columbia Township
  • Covert Township
  • Decatur Township
  • Geneva Township
  • Hamilton Township
  • Hartford Township
  • Keeler Township
  • Lawrence Township
  • Paw Paw Township
  • Pine Grove Township
  • Porter Township
  • South Haven Township
  • Waverly Township

Former townships[]

  • Clinch Township existed from 1837 until 1842, when it was divided into Waverly Township and Almena Township.[14]

See also[]

  • List of Michigan State Historic Sites in Van Buren County, Michigan
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Van Buren County, Michigan

References[]

External links[]

Template:West Michigan

Coordinates: 42°16′N 86°19′W / 42.27, -86.31


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Van Buren 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.
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