Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in Michigan and the largest city in West Michigan. It is on the Grand River about 30 miles (48 km) east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 1,005,648, and the combined statistical area of Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland had a population of 1,321,557. Grand Rapids is the county seat of Kent County.
Grand Rapids developed on the banks of the Grand River, where there was once a set of rapids, at an altitude of 610 feet (186 m) above sea level. Ships could navigate on the river up to this fall line, stopping because of the rapids. The river valley is flat and narrow, surrounded by steep hills and bluffs. The terrain becomes more rolling hills away from the river. The countryside surrounding the metropolitan area consists of mixed forest and farmland, with large areas of orchards to the northwest. It is approximately 25 mi (40 km) east of Lake Michigan. The state capital of Lansing lies about 60 mi (97 km) to the east-by-southeast, and Kalamazoo is about 50 mi (80 km) to the south.
Grand Rapids is divided into four quadrants, which form a part of mailing addresses in Kent County. The quadrants are NE (northeast), NW (northwest), SE (southeast), and SW (southwest). Fulton Street serves as the north–south dividing line, while Division Avenue serves as the east–west dividing line separating these quadrants.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 45.27 square miles (117.25 km), of which, 44.40 square miles (115.00 km) of it is land and 0.87 square miles (2.25 km) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 188,040 people, 72,126 households, and 41,015 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,235.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,635.2/km). There were 80,619 housing units at an average density of 1,815.7 per square mile (701.0/km). The city’s racial makeup was 64.6% White (59.0% Non-Hispanic White), 20.9% African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 7.7% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race were 15.6% of the population.
There were 72,126 households, of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.1% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.20.
The median age in the city was 30.8 years. 24.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 14.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.6% were from 25 to 44; 21.2% were from 45 to 64; and 11.1% were 65 years of age or older. The city’s gender makeup was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.
There were 73,217 households, of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.24.
In the city, the age distribution shows 27.0% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.5 males.
The city’s median household income was $37,224, and the median family income was $44,224. Males had a median income of $33,050 versus $26,382 for females. The city’s per capita income was $17,661. 15.7% of the population and 11.9% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 19.4% are under the age of 18 and 10.4% are 65 or older.
According to a 2007 American Community Survey, the largest ancestry groups in Grand Rapids reported (not including “American”) were those of German (23.4% of the population), Dutch (21.2%), Irish (11.4%), English (10.8%), Polish (6.5%), and French (4.1%) heritage.
In recent decades, Grand Rapids and its suburban areas have seen their Latino communities grow. Between 2000 and 2010 the Latino population in Grand Rapids grew from 25,818 to 29,261, increasing over 13% in a decade.
Grand Rapids has a significant Dutch Reformed population. The Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) has a large following in Grand Rapids; its denominational offices are on the city’s southeast side. The CRCNA has over 230 congregations and almost 100,000 members in Michigan as of 2010. The denomination is concentrated in the western part of the state, where a substantial number of immigrants from the Netherlands settled; most were followers of the Reformed faith who took part in the Secession of 1834. As of 2012, the Christian Reformed Church in North America has nearly 1,100 congregations and over 250,000 members nationwide.
The Grand Rapids-Wyoming Metropolitan Area has 149 Christian Reformed Churches with 77,389 members.
The Reformed Church in America (RCA) has about 154 congregations and 76,000 members mainly in Western Michigan, heavily concentrated in the cities in Grand Rapids, Holland, and Zeeland. The denomination’s main office is also in Grand Rapids.
The Grand Rapids-Wyoming metropolitan area has 86 congregations with almost 49,000 members.
The Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRCA) traces its roots to the First Protestant Reformed Church (Grand Rapids, Michigan) whose pastor was Herman Hoeksema, the founder of the church. A majority of the PRCA’s Classis East churches, about 13 congregations, are around Grand Rapids.
The United Reformed Churches in North America has 12 congregations in Grand Rapids area; these congregations form the Classis of Michigan. The Heritage Reformed Congregations’ flagship and largest church is in Grand Rapids. The Netherlands Reformed Congregations in North America has 2 churches.
The PC(USA) had 12 congregations and 7,000 members in the Grand Rapids-Wyoming Metropolitan statistical area, the United Church of Christ had also 14 congregations and 5,400 members.
Grand Rapids is home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids, which was created on May 19, 1882 by Pope Leo XIII. The Diocese comprises 176,098 Catholics in West Michigan, 102 parishes, and five high schools: Catholic Central High School, Grand Rapids; Muskegon Catholic Central High School, Muskegon; St. Patrick High School, Portland; Sacred Heart Academy, Grand Rapids; and West Catholic High School, Grand Rapids. David John Walkowiak is the Bishop of Grand Rapids.
The offices of the West Michigan Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church are in the East Hills Neighborhood of Grand Rapids. The West Michigan Annual Conference represents more than 400 local United Methodist churches in the western half of the lower peninsula with approximately 65,000 members in total. Grand Rapids is also home to the United Methodist Community House, whose mission is to increase the ability of children, youth, adults and families to succeed in a diverse community. In 2010, The United Methodist Church had 61 congregations and 21,450 members in the Grand Rapids Metropolitan area.
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