Michigan’s 83 counties were classified according to the degree of their urbanization to facilitate analysis in this study.

Central City Counties are those counties with a "central" city of at least 50,000 people. They include Calhoun (Battle Creek), Genesee (Flint), Ingham (Lansing), Kalamazoo, Kent (Grand Rapids), Saginaw, Washtenaw (Ann Arbor), and Wayne (Detroit) counties.

Seventeen counties are identified as suburban, or "collar," counties. Collar counties do not include a central city urban center but, in effect, are transitioning from rural to more urbanized land uses and developing more urban characteristics. Collar counties do not contain a central city of at least 50,000 people and are in a metropolitan statistical area as defined by the U. S. Bureau of the Census.

The classifications of "central city" and "collar" inevitably obscure some important differences, particularly in suburban Detroit. Counties in suburban Detroit, for example, contain several cities that are very large, some exceeding 100,000 people (e.g., Livonia and Sterling Heights). Nevertheless, their proximity to Detroit suggests their role in the metropolitan area is more suburban in character than as independent central cities, and the Census Bureau has not identified them as central cities.

The remaining counties are classified as rural.

This classification system of Michigan’s 83 counties results in 8 central city counties, 17 collar counties, and 58 rural counties (see table).

Classification of Michigan Counties

Central City Counties*

Collar Counties*

Rural Counties

Calhoun (Kalamazoo)**

Allegan (Grand Rapids)

Alcona

Kalkaska

Genesee (Flint)

Bay (Saginaw)

Alger

Keweenaw

Ingham (Lansing)

Berrien (Benton Harbor)

Alpena

Lake Leelanau

Kalamazoo

Clinton (Lansing)

Antrim

Luce

Kent (Grand Rapids)

Eaton (Lansing)

Arenac

Mackinac

Saginaw

Jackson***

Baraga

Manistee

Washtenaw (Ann Arbor)

Lapeer (Detroit)

Barry

Marquette

Wayne (Detroit)

Lenawee (Ann Arbor)

Benzie

Mason

 

Livingston (Ann Arbor)

Branch

Mecosta

 

Macomb (Detroit)

Cass

Menominee

 

Midland (Saginaw)

Charlevoix

Missaukee

 

Monroe (Detroit)

Cheboygan

Montcalm

 

Muskegon (Grand Rapids)

Chippewa

Montmorency

 

Oakland (Detroit)

Clare

Newaygo

 

Ottawa (Grand Rapids)

Crawford

Oceana

 

St. Clair (Detroit)

Delta

Ogemaw

 

Van Buren (Kalamazoo)

Dickenson

Ontonago

 

 

Emmet

Osceola

 

 

Gladwin

Oscoda

 

 

Gogebic

Otsego

 

 

Grand Traverse

Presque Isle

 

 

Gratiot

Roscommon

 

 

Hillsdale

St. Joseph

 

 

Houghton

Sanilac

 

 

Huron

Schoolcraft

 

 

Ionia

Shiawassee

 

 

Iosco

Tuscola

 

 

Iron

Wexford

 

 

 

Isabella

* Metropolitan areas, as defined by the U. S. Bureau of the Census, are identified in parentheses.

** Battle Creek is considered the "central city" of Calhoun County, which is itself considered as part of the Kalamazoo metropolitan area.

*** Jackson is a city of less than 50,000 population.