Berrien County
Lighthouse at St. Joseph
Location within the U.S. state of Michigan
Michigan's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 41°56′N 86°35′W / 41.94°N 86.59°W / 41.94; -86.59
Country United States
State Michigan
FoundedOctober 29, 1829 (created)
1831 (organized)[1]
Named forJohn M. Berrien
SeatSt. Joseph
Largest cityNiles
Area
 • Total1,581 sq mi (4,090 km2)
 • Land568 sq mi (1,470 km2)
 • Water1,014 sq mi (2,630 km2)  64%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total154,316
 • Density272/sq mi (105/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district6th

Berrien County is a county on the south line of Michigan, at the southwestern corner of the state. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 154,316.[2] The county seat is St. Joseph.[3]

Berrien County is included in the Niles-Benton Harbor, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the South Bend-Elkhart-Mishawaka, IN-MI Combined Statistical Area.

History

As one of the Cabinet counties, Berrien County was named for John M. Berrien of Georgia, US Attorney General (1829–1831) under US President Andrew Jackson.[1] The county was founded in 1829, and was organized in 1831, before Michigan was accepted into the Union as a state.[4]

When Michigan Territory was established in 1805, the area of present Berrien County was included in the boundary of Wayne County.

About 1780, New Jersey resident William Burnett established a trading post at the mouth of the St. Joseph River (present-day site of St. Joseph) to serve indigenous peoples and French Canadian residents. Also during that time, Joseph Bertrand established a trading post on the river, in present–day Niles Charter Township.[5] In December 1822, missionary Isaac McCoy moved his family and 18 Indian students from Indiana to the St. Joseph River near present-day Niles, Michigan, to open a religious mission (the Carey Mission) to the Potawatomi Indians, 160 km from the nearest White settlement.[6]

In 1827 St. Joseph Township was organized as part of Wayne County, It included all lands acquired from the Native Americans by the 1821 Treaty of Chicago.

The boundary of Berrien County was delineated by the Michigan Territory Legislature on October 29, 1829 with its present limits. For purposes of revenue, taxation and judicial matters, it was attached to Cass County, and was designated as Niles Township. This assignation was terminated in 1831 when Berrien County's government was organized and initiated.

Berrien County began with three townships:

In recent times, Berrien County, especially the coastal cities of New Buffalo and Lakeside, has received notice as a vacation destination for Chicagoland residents and other Midwesterners. It has earned multiple nicknames in this capacity, including "Harbor Country" and "the Hamptons of the Midwest", with the latter recognized by the Wall Street Journal.[8][9]

Politics

Berrien County has favored a Republican Party candidate in all but six elections since 1884.

Presidential election results
Presidential Elections Results[10]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2020 52.7% 43,519 45.3% 37,438 2.0% 1,608
2016 53.7% 38,647 41.0% 29,495 5.4% 3,889
2012 52.5% 38,209 46.0% 33,465 1.5% 1,088
2008 46.4% 36,130 51.9% 40,381 1.7% 1,323
2004 55.0% 41,076 44.0% 32,846 1.0% 749
2000 54.7% 35,689 43.2% 28,152 2.2% 1,400
1996 47.7% 28,254 41.5% 24,614 10.8% 6,427
1992 42.0% 29,252 37.1% 25,840 20.9% 14,523
1988 62.8% 37,799 36.5% 21,948 0.7% 436
1984 66.6% 43,160 32.8% 21,228 0.7% 436
1980 61.0% 41,458 32.6% 22,152 6.4% 4,368
1976 61.1% 40,835 37.7% 25,163 1.2% 800
1972 68.3% 43,047 29.5% 18,597 2.3% 1,416
1968 51.1% 32,136 33.8% 21,266 15.1% 9,514
1964 43.9% 26,387 55.9% 33,653 0.2% 122
1960 60.9% 37,425 38.8% 23,837 0.4% 244
1956 65.5% 35,397 34.2% 18,454 0.4% 194
1952 62.9% 32,932 36.5% 19,088 0.6% 300
1948 58.9% 22,003 38.9% 14,516 2.3% 842
1944 60.7% 24,832 38.8% 15,886 0.5% 216
1940 57.0% 22,778 42.5% 16,961 0.5% 208
1936 41.3% 15,321 56.1% 20,822 2.7% 982
1932 42.5% 14,123 55.5% 18,447 2.1% 694
1928 68.6% 19,064 30.8% 8,555 0.6% 172
1924 63.7% 15,612 18.2% 4,445 18.1% 4,440
1920 74.1% 15,748 22.8% 4,855 3.1% 662
1916 53.7% 7,511 43.3% 6,054 3.0% 426
1912 23.1% 2,752 35.4% 4,225 41.5% 4,958
1908 58.1% 7,260 36.8% 4,598 5.2% 645
1904 63.0% 7,309 32.9% 3,819 4.1% 476
1900 55.5% 6,595 41.7% 4,960 2.8% 334
1896 56.1% 6,672 40.3% 4,792 3.6% 424
1892 48.6% 4,979 46.0% 4,716 5.5% 561
1888 49.7% 5,128 45.5% 4,689 4.8% 497
1884 48.1% 4,445 48.2% 4,458 3.7% 345

Government

The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, records deeds, mortgages and vital records, oversees public health, and participates with the state in welfare and social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget and has limited authority to make laws and ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police, fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Elected officials

(information as of January 2021)

Geography

According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,581 square miles (4,090 km2), of which 568 square miles (1,470 km2) is land and 1,014 square miles (2,630 km2) (64%) is water.[12]

The county borders the state of Indiana to the South and includes a portion of Lake Michigan to the West.

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 two areas of Michigan drained by the Mississippi River, the other being an area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula near the Wisconsin border.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
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%
2020154,316−1.6%
US Decennial Census[13]
1790-1960[14] 1900-1990[15]
1990-2000[16] 2010-2019[2]

The 2010 United States Census[17] indicates Berrien County had a 2010 population of 156,813. This is a decrease of 5,640 people from the 2000 United States Census, or a 3.5% population decrease. 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). 78.3% of the population were White, 15.3% Black or African American, 1.6% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.8% of some other race and 2.4% of two or more races. 4.5% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 29.0% were of German, 7.4% Irish, 6.8% English and 5.5% American ancestry.[18]

There were 63,054 households, 29.6% of which 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.

The county population contained 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[19] 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.

Recreation

State parks

County parks

Other parks

Resorts and beaches

Golf courses

Wineries

Communities

U.S. Census data map showing local municipal boundaries within Berrien County.  Shaded areas represent incorporated cities.
U.S. Census data map showing local municipal boundaries within Berrien County. Shaded areas represent incorporated cities.

Cities

Villages

Charter townships

Civil townships

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Indian reservation

The Pokagon reservation with underlying local municipal boundaries
The Pokagon reservation with underlying local municipal boundaries

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Bibliography on Berrien County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "The History of Berrien County, Michigan". Southwest Michigan Business & Tourism Directory. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  5. ^ Coolidge, Orville W. (1906). A Twentieth Century History of Berrien County Michigan, pp. 19-20. The Lewis Publishing Company.
  6. ^ ”Rev. Isaac McCoy” "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 20, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), accessed February 19, 2011
  7. ^ Coolidge (1906), p. 24.
  8. ^ De Zutter, Hank; Little De Zutter, Pamela (October 6, 1988). "Invasion of the FIPs: boom time in southwestern Michigan". Chicago Reader. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  9. ^ Jones, Al (April 6, 2013). "Report: The Wall Street Journal calls the Southwest Michigan shoreline the Hamptons of the Midwest". mlive. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  10. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 23, 2017. Retrieved October 22, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". US Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  13. ^ "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  15. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". US Census Bureau. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  18. ^ Bureau, US Census. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  19. ^ "U.S. Census website". US Census Bureau. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  20. ^ Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (2019). "Pokégnek Bodéwadmik (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi)". Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  21. ^ United States Census Bureau (2000). "Michigan County Subdivision Outline Map" (PDF). Retrieved April 13, 2018.

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