Points of View

City Population Figures Show Growth in Many West Michigan Cities

Ryan Gimarc

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released their annual population estimates for 2016 for sub-county areas, which includes cities and villages. This has been an update discussed at the national and state level, and now we can take a look at how areas within West Michigan changed from 2015 to 2016.

Most large cities show growth over the year

Grand Rapids, the largest city in West Michigan (and second largest city in the state), gained 1,351 residents in 2016. This was the second highest numeric growth in the state behind only Ann Arbor. The 0.69% growth for Grand Rapids brought the city population to 196,445.

The next largest cities in the region, Wyoming and Kentwood, are both in Kent County as well. Wyoming city grew to a 2016 population of 75,567 by adding 321 residents from 2015. Kentwood city grew by 351 residents in 2016 to 51,689, and surpassed Battle Creek to become the 23rd largest city in Michigan.

Among the largest 10 cities in West Michigan, 8 experienced population growth from 2015 to 2016, the exceptions being Ionia and Holland.

Other notable population changes in the region

Although the largest cities generally experience the largest numeric change from year to year, several smaller cities were outliers based on the population change relative to their total population size.

Newaygo City added 80 residents, or a 4.1% increase, to have a 2016 population of 2,036. This was the largest percentage increase over the year in the entire state.

Also notable was a 4.0% population growth in the Village of Baldwin (Lake County), which added 46 residents for a 2016 population of 1,206. This followed Newaygo as the second highest percentage increase in the entire state.