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Washtenaw County, Michigan
Seal of Washtenaw County, Michigan
Seal
Map of Michigan highlighting Washtenaw County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded 1826 [1]
Seat Ann Arbor
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

722.53 sq mi (1,871 km²)
709.94 sq mi (1,839 km²)
12.59 sq mi (33 km²), 1.74%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

372,258
456/sq mi (176/km²)
Website www.ewashtenaw.org

Washtenaw County (play /ˈwɒʃtɪnɔː/) is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 census, the population was 372,258. Its county seat is Ann Arbor.[1] The United States Office of Management and Budget defines the county as part of the Detroit–Warren–Flint Combined Statistical Area. The county is home to the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College.

History[]

The earliest histories mention trade conducted in the area at the Potawatomi Trail and Pontiac Trail crossings of the Huron River by French traders, and later English then American settlers. The first successful settlement was established at the present site of Ypsilanti about 1809 by French traders.[2]

In 1822, the Legislative Council of the Michigan Territory government defined the boundaries of the county; however, it was deemed to be a part of Wayne County. Washtenaw was established as a separate county by an act of the Michigan Territorial Legislature in 1826.[2] It was attached for administrative purposes to Wayne County until {before 1829} when county government was seated. Ingham and other counties were formed from portions of territorial Washtenaw County.


Swamps were drained and farms were tiled to lower the water table. The swamp northwest of the I-94 and US-23 intersection, and areas within Waterloo Recreation Area still appear as they did to early settlers. As productive farms became established, the local deer herds grew. In the 1820s and 1830s, the events surrounding the independence of Greece from Turkey inspired construction of Greek Revival buildings, and the names of townships, towns, and children.

The "frostbitten constitutional convention" was held at Ann Arbor, the county seat, in 1835. Following resolution of the Toledo War (1835-1836), in which Michigan Territory gave up its claim to the Toledo strip in exchange for most of the Upper Peninsula, Michigan became a state on January 26, 1837. The University of Michigan, founded at Detroit in 1817, was then moved by the state to Ann Arbor in 1839 as a consolation for the city not being named the new state capital, as it had hoped. The University subsequently became and remains the largest employer in the county.

In 1849, the Michigan State Normal School (now Eastern Michigan University) was established in Washtenaw's oldest settlement, the city of Ypsilanti.

Geography[]

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 722.53 square miles (1,871.3 km2), of which 709.94 square miles (1,838.7 km2) (or 98.26%) is land and 12.59 square miles (32.6 km2) (or 1.74%) is water.[3]

Transportation[]

Interstate 94 Business Route Ann Arbor Washtenaw Avenue

Interstates[]

  • I-94.svg I-94
  • Business Loop 94.svg I-94 Business Loop is a route traveling through downtown Ann Arbor.

US highways[]

  • US 12.svg US-12 Michigan Avenue a/k/a Chicago Road
  • Business plate.svg
    US 12.svg BUS US 12 is a loop traveling through downtown Ypsilanti
  • US 23.svg US-23
  • Business plate.svg
    US 23.svg BUS US 23 is a loop route traveling through downtown Ann Arbor.

Michigan state trunklines[]

  • M-14.svg M-14
  • M-17.svg M-17
  • M-52.svg M-52
  • M-153.svg M-153

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 4,042
1840 23,571 483.2%
1850 28,567 21.2%
1860 35,686 24.9%
1870 41,434 16.1%
1880 41,848 1.0%
1890 42,210 0.9%
1900 47,761 13.2%
1910 44,714 −6.4%
1920 49,520 10.7%
1930 65,530 32.3%
1940 80,810 23.3%
1950 134,606 66.6%
1960 172,440 28.1%
1970 234,103 35.8%
1980 264,748 13.1%
1990 282,937 6.9%
2000 322,895 14.1%
2010 344,791 6.8%

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 322,895 people, 125,327 households, and 73,692 families residing in the county. The population density was 455 people per square mile (176/km²). There were 131,069 housing units at an average density of 185 per square mile (71/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.40% White, 12.29% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 6.30% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.04% from other races, and 2.57% from two or more races. 2.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.4% were of German, 9.0% English, 8.4% Irish, 5.3% Polish and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 87.1% spoke only English at home; 2.7% spoke Spanish and 1.7% Chinese or Mandarin.

By 2005 non-Hispanic whites were 74.5% of the county population; African-Americans 12.2%; Native Americans 0.4%; Asians 7.8%; and Hispanic or Latinos 3.1% of the population.[5]

There were 125,327 households out of which 29.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.40% were married couples living together, 9.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.20% were non-families. 29.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.10% under the age of 18, 17.10% from 18 to 24, 32.10% from 25 to 44, 20.60% from 45 to 64, and 8.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 98.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $51,990, and the median income for a family was $70,393 (these figures had risen to $59,887 and $80,779 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[6]). Males had a median income of $49,304 versus $33,598 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,173. About 5.10% of families and 11.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.60% of those under age 18 and 5.80% of those age 65 or over.

Cities, villages, and townships[]

Washtenaw County was formed from a portion of Wayne County. It is one of many Michigan counties which has a name not borne by any other county in the United States. As the population increased, townships were formed. Amongst the townships, communities have grown from hamlets into villages and cities. Some of the townships have elected to incorporate as charter townships.

Cities Villages Charter Townships Townships
  • Barton Hills
  • Dexter
  • Manchester
  • Ann Arbor Charter Township
  • Augusta Charter Township
  • Pittsfield Charter Township
  • Superior Charter Township
  • York Charter Township
  • Ypsilanti Charter Township
  • Bridgewater Township
  • Dexter Township
  • Freedom Township
  • Lima Township
  • Lodi Township
  • Lyndon Township
  • Manchester Township
  • Northfield Township
  • Salem Township
  • Saline Township
  • Scio Township
  • Sharon Township
  • Sylvan Township
  • Webster Township

There are also a number of unincorporated communities, such as Bridgewater, Dixboro, Delhi Mills, Geddes, Mooreville, Salem, Stoney Creek, Whittaker, Whitmore Lake, and Willis.

Also see: Official Washtenaw County website page listing localities

Government[]

Washtenaw County Court House, sculpture by Carleton W. Angell

Washtenaw County Clerk building

Elected officials[]

  • Prosecuting Attorney: Eli Savit (Democrat)
  • Sheriff: Jerry Clayton (Democrat)
  • County Clerk/Register of Deeds: Lawrence Kestenbaum (Democrat)
  • County Treasurer: Catherine McClary (Democrat)
  • Water Resources Commissioner: Evan Pratt (Democrat)

The Board of Commissioners has nine members, elected from single member districts, on a partisan ballot, in November of even-numbered years. The term is two years. Information as of May 2017.

District Commissioner Party Positions
1 Jason Maciejewski Democrat Working Session Committee Chair
2 Susan Shink Democrat Board Chair
3 Shannon Beeman Democrat
4 Caroline Sanders Democrat
5 Justin Hodge Democrat Ways & Means Chair
6 Ricky Jefferson Democrat
7 Andy LaBarre Democrat Vice Chair of the Board
8 Jason Morgan Democrat
9 Katie Scott Democrat

Politics[]

United States presidential election results for Washtenaw County, Michigan[7]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 56,241 25.93% 157,136 72.44% 3,554 1.64%
2016 50,631 26.64% 128,483 67.59% 10,965 5.77%
2012 56,412 31.28% 120,890 67.04% 3,035 1.68%
2008 53,946 28.76% 130,578 69.62% 3,024 1.61%
2004 61,455 35.47% 109,953 63.46% 1,856 1.07%
2000 52,459 36.19% 86,647 59.78% 5,834 4.03%
1996 40,097 32.33% 73,106 58.94% 10,825 8.73%
1992 41,386 30.11% 73,325 53.34% 22,755 16.55%
1988 55,029 46.67% 61,799 52.41% 1,092 0.93%
1984 58,736 51.27% 55,084 48.08% 749 0.65%
1980 48,699 41.92% 51,013 43.91% 16,467 14.17%
1976 56,807 50.86% 50,917 45.59% 3,965 3.55%
1972 50,535 46.98% 55,350 51.45% 1,690 1.57%
1968 36,432 46.82% 33,073 42.50% 8,309 10.68%
1964 25,595 37.70% 42,089 62.00% 206 0.30%
1960 39,632 60.99% 25,129 38.67% 225 0.35%
1956 38,911 66.88% 19,124 32.87% 141 0.24%
1952 35,826 66.64% 17,671 32.87% 262 0.49%
1948 24,588 63.75% 12,721 32.98% 1,258 3.26%
1944 24,740 62.00% 14,922 37.39% 244 0.61%
1940 21,664 64.25% 11,802 35.00% 253 0.75%
1936 14,986 50.78% 13,589 46.05% 935 3.17%
1932 15,368 52.81% 12,552 43.13% 1,180 4.05%
1928 19,676 78.41% 5,308 21.15% 109 0.43%
1924 14,326 72.24% 3,603 18.17% 1,901 9.59%
1920 14,082 74.46% 4,468 23.63% 362 1.91%
1916 6,505 54.09% 5,279 43.90% 242 2.01%
1912 2,495 23.64% 4,164 39.45% 3,897 36.92%
1908 5,845 54.58% 4,441 41.47% 423 3.95%
1904 6,566 62.04% 3,779 35.71% 238 2.25%
1900 5,369 50.10% 5,072 47.33% 275 2.57%
1896 5,671 49.73% 5,348 46.90% 384 3.37%
1892 4,362 41.99% 5,508 53.02% 518 4.99%
1888 4,549 42.96% 5,482 51.78% 557 5.26%
1884 4,049 40.53% 5,315 53.20% 626 6.27%



Since 1988, when Michael Dukakis won it, the county has been a Democratic stronghold in local & national elections due to the presence of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. In the 2020 United States presidential election it gave 72.4% of the vote to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the highest ever margin for a Democrat in the county, the third-highest margin for any candidate in the county's history, and the highest in the state at the time as well.[8] Between 1960 and 1988 it was generally a swing county: 1992 was the first time it voted for the same party as it did in the last election since 1960. Despite its modern-day Democratic strength, it was reliably Republican at the presidential level from 1896 to 1960, only voting Democratic once in that span in 1912 when the Republican vote was split. George McGovern's win over Richard Nixon in the county in 1972 despite the latter winning nationally by a landslide was a sign of the county's shift towards supporting the Democratic Party, though Michigander Gerald R. Ford won it in 1976 & Ronald Reagan won it in 1984 among his national landslide, being the most recent Republican to win the county.

Government services[]

Parks and recreation[]

Washtenaw county operates 10 parks, and 1 recreation center (gymnasium). These parks include one with a water sprinkler area for children to splash through, one park with a substantial water park component, and one golf course. The recreation center has a swimming pool, indoor track, basketball courts, complete set of resistance machines, a weight room, and several multipurpose rooms.

Washtenaw county is in the process of acquiring land for natural preservation. The program started in 2001 and will end in 2011. Eight parcels of land had been purchased as of July 2007. These parcels are of special ecological, recreational, and educational benefits. They are preserved in a natural unimproved state and are open to the public during daylight hours.

Wireless communication[]

In partnership with private enterprise, the county maintains a wireless network which is currently available to approximately 50% of county residents. The is the Wireless Washtenaw Project. The stated aim of this project is to one day provide wireless access to 100% of all county residents.

Miscellaneous[]

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.

See also[]

  • USS Washtenaw County (LST-1166)
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Washtenaw County, Michigan

References[]

External links[]

Coordinates: 42°15′N 83°50′W / 42.25, -83.84


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