Census says population surged in Ottawa County

April 9, 2010
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In a prelude to the results of Census 2010 now under way, U.S. Census Bureau estimates released last month revealed Ottawa County as the third-fastest-growing county in Michigan since 2000, behind Livingston and Grand Traverse counties.

Kent County added more people between 2008 and 2009 than any other Michigan county at 3,592. Despite that, Kent’s rank nationwide slipped from 99th to 100th.

Based on a Business Journal analysis of 2009 population estimates, Ottawa County growth was nearly 10 percent, to 261,957, over the first decade of the 21st century. Kent County’s estimate of 608,315 would place its growth just shy of 6 percent, ranking 11th in growth rate since 2000 statewide.

The bureau conducted the 2009 estimates in July, using administrative records for births, deaths and national and international migration. The data were released in March. These are the last population estimates that will be based on the census of 2000.

More definitive results will come from Census 2010. National and state results will be revealed in December; results for counties, cities and other small geographic areas will be released in April 2011, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said.

Kent County growth was estimated at 5.9 percent over the decade, up from 574,335 in Census 2000.

Kalamazoo County made room for 2,250 more residents between 2008 and 2009, according to the estimates, ranking behind Kent, Oakland and Washtenaw. The home of the Kalamazoo Promise college scholarship program grew by 4.1 percent over the decade, the estimates indicated.

Kent County fell a notch on the list of most populous counties in the U.S. Based on 2009 estimates, Kent ranked as the 100th largest county in the nation for 2009. The county fell from its perch of 99th for 2008, trading places with Denver County, Colo.

In southeastern Michigan, Macomb County grew by 5.5 percent to 831,427 since 2000 and Oakland County grew by about 1 percent to 1.19 million. Wayne County ranked 13th in the U.S. for 2009, but decreased from 2 million in Census 2000, to 1.94 million, or 6.6 percent, in the latest estimate. Wayne led the country in population loss.

The three Metro Detroit counties combined — not an official U.S. Census geography — account for 39.74 percent of the state population of 9.96 million, based on the Business Journal’s review of estimated populations for 2009.

The two Greater Grand Rapids counties — Kent and Ottawa — combine for a total of 870,272, according to the 2009 estimates, or 8.7 percent of the estimated state population.

The Census Bureau announced last week that it had mailed a second round of forms to millions of households. The bureau would save $500 million if all of them were returned, Groves said.

As of last week, Kent County’s participation rate was 73 percent, and in Ottawa County, it was 78 percent.

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