Berrien County, Michigan

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Berrien County, Michigan
Seal of Berrien County, Michigan
Seal
Map of Michigan highlighting Berrien County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
FoundedOctober 29[1], 1829
SeatSt. Joseph
Largest cityNiles
Area
 • Total1,581.38 sq mi (4,096 km2)
 • Land571.00 sq mi (1,479 km2)
 • Water1,010.39 sq mi (2,617 km2), 63.89%
Population
 • (2010)156,813
 • Density285/sq mi (110/km²)
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
Websitewww.berriencounty.org
 
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Berrien County, Michigan
Seal of Berrien County, Michigan
Seal
Map of Michigan highlighting Berrien County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
FoundedOctober 29[1], 1829
SeatSt. Joseph
Largest cityNiles
Area
 • Total1,581.38 sq mi (4,096 km2)
 • Land571.00 sq mi (1,479 km2)
 • Water1,010.39 sq mi (2,617 km2), 63.89%
Population
 • (2010)156,813
 • Density285/sq mi (110/km²)
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
Websitewww.berriencounty.org

Berrien County is a county located in the extreme southwest of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is included in the Niles-Benton Harbor, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 156,813.[2] The county seat is St. Joseph.[3]

History[edit]

As one of the Cabinet counties, Berrien County was named for John M. Berrien of Georgia, U.S. Attorney General under U.S. President Andrew Jackson (1829–1831).[1]

After creation of the Michigan Territory in 1805, the territory now comprising Berrien County was part of Wayne County, Michigan. About 1780, William Burnett came from New Jersey and established a trading post at the mouth of the St. Joseph River (present-day site of St. Joseph), and traded with indigenous peoples and French Canadians who lived in the area at that time. About the same time, Joseph Bertrand also established a trading post on the river, in a location now part of Niles Charter Township.[4] In December 1822, missionary Isaac McCoy moved his family and 18 Indian students from Indiana to a site on the St. Joseph River near the present-day city of Niles to open a mission to the Potawatomi Indians. The Carey Mission, as he named it, was 100 miles from the nearest White settlement.[5] In 1827 St. Joseph Township was organized as part of Wayne County. The township included all lands acquired from the Native Americans by the Treaty of Chicago of 1821.

Berrien County's boundaries were set off by an act of the legislature of the Michigan Territory on October 29, 1829, with its present limits, but it was initially attached as Niles Township to Cass County for administrative purposes. In 1831 Berrien County was detached from Cass County.

The county was initially divided into three townships: Berrien Township, consisting of present-day townships of Berrien, Oronoko, and Lake plus a two-mile strip north of that territory; St. Joseph Township, consisting of everything north of Berrien Township; and Niles Township, consisting of everything south of Berrien Township.[6]

Government[edit]

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.

Berrien County elected officials[edit]

(information as of June 2013)

Geography[edit]

The county borders the state of Indiana to the South and includes a portion of Lake Michigan to the West. Van Buren County is to the north and northeast. Cass County is to the east.

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,581.38 square miles (4,095.8 km2), of which 571.00 square miles (1,478.9 km2) (or 36.11%) is land and 1,010.39 square miles (2,616.9 km2) (or 63.89%) is water.[7]

The St. Joseph River is a major geographical feature, flowing mostly north and west through the county from Niles to its mouth on Lake Michigan at St. Joseph. The southwest of the county is drained by the Galien River and its tributaries. Paw Paw Lake is in the north of the county, along with the Paw Paw River, which flows into the St. Joseph River just before it enters Lake Michigan. A tiny portion along the Indiana state line is drained by small tributaries of the Kankakee River, which ultimately flows into the Mississippi River. This is one of the few areas of Michigan drained by the Mississippi River, the other being an area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula near the Wisconsin border.

Cities, villages and townships[edit]

Townships

Highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.
1830325
18405,0111,441.8%
185011,417127.8%
186022,37896.0%
187035,10456.9%
188036,7854.8%
189041,28512.2%
190049,16519.1%
191053,6229.1%
192062,65316.8%
193081,06629.4%
194089,1179.9%
1950115,70229.8%
1960149,86529.5%
1970163,8759.3%
1980171,2764.5%
1990161,378−5.8%
2000162,4530.7%
2010156,813−3.5%
Est. 2012156,067−0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
2012 Estimate[9]

The 2010 United States Census[10] indicates Berrien County had a 2010 population of 156,813. This is a decrease of -5,640 people from the 2000 United States Census. Overall, the county had a -3.5% growth rate during this ten-year period. In 2010 there were 63,054 households and 41,585 families in the county. The population density was 276.2 per square mile (106.6 square kilometers). There were 76,922 housing units at an average density of 135.5 per square mile (52.3 square kilometers). The racial and ethnic makeup of the county was 76.1% White, 15.2% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 4.5% Hispanic or Latino, 0.2% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races.

There were 63,054 households out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were husband and wife families, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.0% were non-families, and 28.7% were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.4% under age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 23.2% from 25 to 44, 28.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.

The 2010 American Community Survey 1-year estimate[10] indicates the median income for a household in the county was $40,329 and the median income for a family was $51,305. Males had a median income of $26,745 versus $16,289 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,337. About 12.1% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.5% of those under the age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.

State parks[edit]

Other parks, preserves and natural areas[edit]

Resorts and beaches[edit]

Golf courses[edit]

Wineries[edit]

Plans are in the works for three more wineries in the Baroda area.

Annual events[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bibliography on Berrien County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Coolidge, Orville W. (1906). A Twentieth Century History of Berrien County Michigan, pp. 19-20. The Lewis Publishing Company.
  5. ^ ”Rev. Isaac McCoy” http://baptisthistoryhomepage.com/mccoy.isaac.1st.indn.miss.html, accessed 19 Feb 2011
  6. ^ Coolidge (1906), p. 24.
  7. ^ "Census 2010 Gazetteer Files". Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "American Factfinder". United States Census Bureau accessdate=March 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°56′N 86°35′W / 41.94°N 86.59°W / 41.94; -86.59