West Michigan
A broad definition of West Michigan.
LocationMichigan, United States
Map of the region, employing a narrow definition.
Map of the region, employing a narrow definition.

West Michigan and Western Michigan are terms for an arbitrary region in the U.S. state of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. Most narrowly it refers to the Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland area, or more broadly to most of the region along the Lake Michigan shoreline of the Lower Peninsula, but there is no official definition for it.

Definition

In general, "West Michigan" often refers to the area bounded by the cities of Muskegon (in the north), Grand Rapids (in the northeast), Kalamazoo-Battle Creek (in the southeast) and St.Joseph-Benton Harbor (in the southwest). However, definitions of the boundaries of the region vary widely; in some contexts, the term "West Michigan" is applied only to the counties of Allegan, Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa, which together compose the Grand Rapids-Wyoming-Muskegon SMSA. Other definitions include the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek and Benton Harbor-St. Joseph regions, which can be considered distinct regions or parts of other regions such as Michiana, Southern Michigan, or Southwest Michigan,[1][2] in the case of Benton Harbor-St. Joseph.

The northern boundary of the region is also poorly defined; the population density, land use, economic and cultural character, and physical geography most often associated with West Michigan fades in northern Muskegon and Kent Counties, however areas as far north as Ludington and White Cloud may be included because of their close economic ties to the cities to the south. Other areas, such as Montcalm County in the northeast corner of the region, are transitional areas that straddle Michigan regions but are sometimes included for classification purposes. In the case of Montcalm County, the area around Greenville in the county's southwest corner is closely tied economically with Grand Rapids, while the area around Vestaburg and Edmore in the northeastern corner of county are more closely associated with the cities of Mount Pleasant and Alma, which are included in almost any definition of Central Michigan.

Geography

Municipalities

Grand Rapids at night in 2016 from the International Space Station. Grand Rapids is the largest city in western Michigan.
Grand Rapids at night in 2016 from the International Space Station. Grand Rapids is the largest city in western Michigan.

The following table contains the largest municipalities of West Michigan according to the 2010 Census. This defines the region fairly broadly, but not at its most broadly; if Battle Creek were included, it would be ranked fourth.

Rank Municipality County Population
1 Grand Rapids Kent 198,917
2 Wyoming Kent 76,501
3 Kalamazoo Kalamazoo 73,598
4 Kentwood Kent 54,304
5 Georgetown Charter Township Ottawa 54,091
6 Portage Kalamazoo 48,891
7 Muskegon Muskegon 38,318
8 Holland Charter Township Ottawa 38,276
9 Holland Ottawa/Allegan 34,378
10 Plainfield Charter Township Kent 33,535
11 Gaines Charter Township Kent 28,812
12 Walker Kent 25,132
13 Norton Shores Muskegon 25,030
14 Kalamazoo Charter Township Kalamazoo 21,918
15 Oshtemo Charter Township Kalamazoo 21,705
16 Allendale Charter Township Ottawa 20,708
17 Byron Township Kent 20,317
18 Muskegon Charter Township Muskegon 17,840
19 Park Township Ottawa 17,802
20 Cascade Charter Township Kent 17,134
21 Grand Rapids Charter Township Kent 16,661
22 Grandville Kent 15,378
23 Grand Haven Charter Township Ottawa 15,178

Five of the above cities, Wyoming, Kentwood, Portage, Norton Shores, and Walker, are former suburban townships that incorporated in the 1960s in order to prevent annexation by an adjacent city. The presence of these cities in the top ten reflects both the large geographic area of these cities, as well as the long and continuing growth of suburban areas in West Michigan.

Events

Attractions

Universities and colleges

Business

Prominent West Michigan corporations include:

Transportation

Major airports

Railways

Major roads

Interstate highways

US highways

Michigan highways

Other

Notable residents or former residents

This article's list of residents may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are residents, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (March 2011)

More comprehensive lists are available at individual cities, villages, etc.

Notes

  1. ^ "About the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission". Southwest Michigan Planning Commission [Metropolitan planning organization]. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council". www.swmichigan.org. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan". dioceseofgrandrapids.org. Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. ^ "M-46 Endpoint Photos". state-ends.com. Archived from the original on 14 April 2005. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  5. ^ "About The West Michigan Tourist Association - WMTA". wmta.org. Retrieved 23 March 2018.

See also