Fastest-growing counties in Michigan

Written by:
July 1, 2022
Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

Fastest-growing counties in Michigan

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in Michigan. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in Michigan using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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Cwbash (Charles W. Bash) // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Cheboygan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -573
--- #2,219 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.2%
--- #53 among counties in Michigan, #1,879 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,579
--- #54 largest county in Michigan, #1,576 largest county nationwide
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Menominee County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -527
--- #2,169 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.2%
--- #54 among counties in Michigan, #1,880 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 23,502
--- #59 largest county in Michigan, #1,658 largest county nationwide
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Dwight Burdette // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Lenawee County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -469
--- #2,112 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.5%
--- #37 among counties in Michigan, #1,565 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 99,423
--- #21 largest county in Michigan, #611 largest county nationwide
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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Schoolcraft County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -438
--- #2,090 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.2%
--- #70 among counties in Michigan, #2,352 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,047
--- #80 largest county in Michigan, #2,574 largest county nationwide
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USFWSmidwest // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Oscoda County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -421
--- #2,071 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.9%
--- #67 among counties in Michigan, #2,306 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,219
--- #78 largest county in Michigan, #2,564 largest county nationwide

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David Coats // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Presque Isle County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -394
--- #2,033 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.9%
--- #59 among counties in Michigan, #1,989 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 12,982
--- #71 largest county in Michigan, #2,216 largest county nationwide
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Branch County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -386
--- #2,020 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.9%
--- #41 among counties in Michigan, #1,624 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 44,862
--- #38 largest county in Michigan, #1,075 largest county nationwide
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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#43. St. Joseph County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -356
--- #1,986 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.6%
--- #38 among counties in Michigan, #1,582 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 60,939
--- #33 largest county in Michigan, #867 largest county nationwide
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User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Gladwin County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -306
--- #1,926 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.2%
--- #43 among counties in Michigan, #1,688 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,386
--- #55 largest county in Michigan, #1,584 largest county nationwide
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Jeffness // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Mackinac County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -279
--- #1,882 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.5%
--- #56 among counties in Michigan, #1,926 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 10,834
--- #74 largest county in Michigan, #2,357 largest county nationwide

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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Dickinson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -221
--- #1,805 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.8%
--- #40 among counties in Michigan, #1,621 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,947
--- #53 largest county in Michigan, #1,561 largest county nationwide
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Rklawton // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Iron County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -186
--- #1,747 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.6%
--- #47 among counties in Michigan, #1,761 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 11,631
--- #73 largest county in Michigan, #2,302 largest county nationwide
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Recomposemedia // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Delta County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -166
--- #1,722 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.4%
--- #36 among counties in Michigan, #1,564 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 36,903
--- #43 largest county in Michigan, #1,255 largest county nationwide
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Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Antrim County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -149
--- #1,698 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.6%
--- #39 among counties in Michigan, #1,588 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 23,431
--- #61 largest county in Michigan, #1,661 largest county nationwide
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O. David Redwine // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Midland County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -135
--- #1,679 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.2%
--- #34 among counties in Michigan, #1,517 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 83,494
--- #24 largest county in Michigan, #689 largest county nationwide

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Phoenix-Five // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Keweenaw County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -110
--- #1,640 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.1%
--- #69 among counties in Michigan, #2,343 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,046
--- #83 largest county in Michigan, #3,036 largest county nationwide
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Iulus Ascanius // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Clare County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -70
--- #1,587 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.2%
--- #35 among counties in Michigan, #1,531 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 30,856
--- #48 largest county in Michigan, #1,411 largest county nationwide
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Oceana County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +89
--- #1,404 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.3%
--- #32 among counties in Michigan, #1,440 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 26,659
--- #51 largest county in Michigan, #1,542 largest county nationwide
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User:My name // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Charlevoix County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +105
--- #1,388 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.4%
--- #30 among counties in Michigan, #1,427 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 26,054
--- #52 largest county in Michigan, #1,556 largest county nationwide
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Phillip L. Hofmeister // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Jackson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +118
--- #1,382 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.1%
--- #33 among counties in Michigan, #1,475 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 160,366
--- #14 largest county in Michigan, #420 largest county nationwide

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Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Missaukee County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +203
--- #1,329 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.4%
--- #26 among counties in Michigan, #1,269 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 15,052
--- #67 largest county in Michigan, #2,082 largest county nationwide
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Manistee County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +299
--- #1,263 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.2%
--- #28 among counties in Michigan, #1,308 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,032
--- #58 largest county in Michigan, #1,600 largest county nationwide
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Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Lapeer County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +300
--- #1,261 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.3%
--- #31 among counties in Michigan, #1,439 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 88,619
--- #23 largest county in Michigan, #663 largest county nationwide
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Doug Coldwell // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Mason County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +347
--- #1,230 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.2%
--- #29 among counties in Michigan, #1,309 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 29,052
--- #49 largest county in Michigan, #1,454 largest county nationwide
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US Army Corps of Engineer // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Benzie County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +445
--- #1,175 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.5%
--- #21 among counties in Michigan, #1,111 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 17,970
--- #65 largest county in Michigan, #1,917 largest county nationwide

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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Lake County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +557
--- #1,130 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.8%
--- #11 among counties in Michigan, #845 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 12,096
--- #72 largest county in Michigan, #2,271 largest county nationwide
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Alexey Stiop // Shutterstock

#24. Leelanau County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +593
--- #1,123 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.7%
--- #20 among counties in Michigan, #1,089 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 22,301
--- #63 largest county in Michigan, #1,698 largest county nationwide
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Jcvertin // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Houghton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +733
--- #1,077 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.0%
--- #23 among counties in Michigan, #1,183 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 37,361
--- #42 largest county in Michigan, #1,240 largest county nationwide
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Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Kalkaska County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +786
--- #1,061 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.6%
--- #13 among counties in Michigan, #864 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 17,939
--- #66 largest county in Michigan, #1,921 largest county nationwide
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Otsego County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +927
--- #1,020 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.8%
--- #17 among counties in Michigan, #948 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,091
--- #57 largest county in Michigan, #1,599 largest county nationwide

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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Wexford County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +938
--- #1,016 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.9%
--- #19 among counties in Michigan, #1,074 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 33,673
--- #46 largest county in Michigan, #1,337 largest county nationwide
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SBarnes // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Eaton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,416
--- #922 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.3%
--- #27 among counties in Michigan, #1,284 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 109,175
--- #19 largest county in Michigan, #561 largest county nationwide
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Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Emmet County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,418
--- #920 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.3%
--- #16 among counties in Michigan, #892 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 34,112
--- #45 largest county in Michigan, #1,327 largest county nationwide
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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Newaygo County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,518
--- #899 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.1%
--- #18 among counties in Michigan, #1,037 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 49,978
--- #36 largest county in Michigan, #992 largest county nationwide
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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Monroe County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,788
--- #734 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.8%
--- #24 among counties in Michigan, #1,211 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 154,809
--- #15 largest county in Michigan, #437 largest county nationwide

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Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Ionia County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,899
--- #721 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.5%
--- #14 among counties in Michigan, #873 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 66,804
--- #28 largest county in Michigan, #802 largest county nationwide
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Ryano913~commonswiki // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Barry County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,250
--- #682 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.5%
--- #8 among counties in Michigan, #771 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 62,423
--- #32 largest county in Michigan, #855 largest county nationwide
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Montcalm County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,272
--- #681 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.2%
--- #9 among counties in Michigan, #801 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 66,614
--- #29 largest county in Michigan, #804 largest county nationwide
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NOAA Great Lakes Envorinmental Ressearch Laboritory // Flickr

#12. Muskegon County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,636
--- #653 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.1%
--- #22 among counties in Michigan, #1,165 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 175,824
--- #12 largest county in Michigan, #377 largest county nationwide
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kennethaw88 // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Clinton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,746
--- #644 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.0%
--- #10 among counties in Michigan, #824 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 79,128
--- #25 largest county in Michigan, #717 largest county nationwide

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Bryan Robb // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Ingham County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,005
--- #628 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.4%
--- #25 among counties in Michigan, #1,261 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 284,900
--- #8 largest county in Michigan, #246 largest county nationwide
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stanthejeep // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Grand Traverse County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +8,252
--- #479 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.5%
--- #2 among counties in Michigan, #450 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 95,238
--- #22 largest county in Michigan, #634 largest county nationwide
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Adam Buzzo // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Allegan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +9,094
--- #448 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.2%
--- #4 among counties in Michigan, #555 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 120,502
--- #18 largest county in Michigan, #524 largest county nationwide
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Mxobe // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Kalamazoo County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +11,339
--- #401 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.5%
--- #15 among counties in Michigan, #875 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 261,670
--- #9 largest county in Michigan, #269 largest county nationwide
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Joshuay04 // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Livingston County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +12,899
--- #374 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.1%
--- #6 among counties in Michigan, #622 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 193,866
--- #10 largest county in Michigan, #348 largest county nationwide

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Agnieszka Gaul // Shutterstock

#5. Washtenaw County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +27,467
--- #231 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.0%
--- #5 among counties in Michigan, #566 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 372,258
--- #6 largest county in Michigan, #195 largest county nationwide
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Gpwitteveen // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Ottawa County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +32,399
--- #193 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +12.3%
--- #1 among counties in Michigan, #312 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 296,200
--- #7 largest county in Michigan, #236 largest county nationwide
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Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Macomb County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +40,239
--- #161 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.8%
--- #12 among counties in Michigan, #851 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 881,217
--- #3 largest county in Michigan, #65 largest county nationwide
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Grguy2011 // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Kent County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +55,352
--- #117 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.2%
--- #3 among counties in Michigan, #468 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 657,974
--- #4 largest county in Michigan, #105 largest county nationwide
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Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Oakland County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +72,033
--- #85 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.0%
--- #7 among counties in Michigan, #718 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,274,395
--- #2 largest county in Michigan, #34 largest county nationwide

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