Newaygo County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 48,460. The county seat is White Cloud. The county was created in 1840, and was organized in 1851. It was either named for an Ojibwe leader who signed the Treaty of Saginaw in 1819 or for an Algonquian word meaning “much water”.
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has an area of 862 square miles (2,230 km), of which 813 square miles (2,110 km) is land and 48 square miles (120 km) (5.6%) is covered by water. The county is considered to be part of West Michigan.
The county has more than 230 natural lakes. The combined total length of all the county’s rivers and streams exceeds 350 miles (560 km). Three huge dams, Croton, Hardy, and Newaygo, were built at the beginning of the 20th century. The Hardy Dam is the largest earthen dam east of the Mississippi. Over half of the county is in the Manistee National Forest.
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 47,874 people, 17,599 households, and 12,935 families in the county. The population density was 57 people per square mile (22/km²). There were 23,202 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.80% White, 1.12% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.63% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. 3.85% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 21.5% were of English ancestry, 20.5% were of German ancestry, 14.4% were of Dutch ancestry, 8.1% were of Irish ancestry and 5.0% were of Polish ancestry according to the 2010 American Community Survey. 95.7% spoke English and 3.2% Spanish as their first language.
There were 17,599 households out of which 35.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.20% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.50% were non-families. 22.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.13.
The county population contained 29.10% under the age of 18, 7.40% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 23.20% from 45 to 64, and 12.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $37,130, and the median income for a family was $42,498. Males had a median income of $35,549 versus $22,738 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,976. About 9.00% of families and 11.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.60% of those under age 18 and 8.50% of those age 65 or over.
Newaygo County is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.