Region 8 is one of Michigan’s 14 regional planning organizations and serves
communities in Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Osceola, and Ottawa
shows the location of Region 8 and the seven counties within the Region’s
boundaries, along with the boundaries of each of the counties and the locations
of the cities and villages.
Population Trends and Projections
Region 8’s population increased by 39.8 percent between 1980 and 2010 to reach a
total of 1,171,404. The seven-county
area grew at a much faster rate than
Michigan, which increased by 6.7 percent during the same
period to reach 9,883,640.
Projections indicate continued growth in Region 8 and a turnaround in
Michigan that includes population increases (Michigan’s
population decreased by 0.6 percent between 2000 and 2010).
The Region 8
Profile shows population traits, trends and projections as well as housing
traits, income and business traits, and employment traits and trends.
Region 8 has many unique natural features that vary across the Region.
While only Allegan and
Ottawa counties are located on Lake Michigan, the
Lake’s influence is felt across all seven counties.
Lake Michigan creates a more moderate
climate (cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter), and also creates “Lake
Effect” snowstorms that decrease in intensity further inland.
Region’s three major rivers include the Grand River, the
River, and the
There are dozens of smaller rivers all of which either flow into one of
the major rivers or into Lake Michigan.
Additionally, the Region has hundreds of inland lakes.
Region’s topography is generally flat to rolling with elevations ranging from
Lake Michigan’s elevation of 581 feet above mean sea level to 1,739 feet above
mean sea level in Osceola
The Region’s wildlife is typical of that found in most of
Common wildlife includes deer, raccoons, opossums, skunks, rabbits,
badgers, muskrats, beavers, squirrels, rodents and other small mammals.
There are also occasional observations of other animals such as bears,
coyotes, and bobcats. The area is
home to a variety of birds including owls, wild turkeys, pheasants and many
others. The area is also a seasonal
home to many migratory birds including ducks and Canada Geese.
The Region was originally covered with a dense forest of deciduous and
coniferous trees. As the area was
cleared for farming and development, or the trees were removed for timber, the
area’s forests were replaced by farm fields, open field areas, orchards and
smaller forested areas containing both deciduous and coniferous trees.
showcase the Region’s natural features there are many
State Parks, State Recreation Areas, State
Forests, and State Game Areas.
Additionally, there are parks maintained by each of the seven counties,
all of the cities, most villages, and many townships.
Region 8 is well-served by a network of roads maintained by the Michigan
Department of Transportation, the Region’s seven county road commissions, and
the Region’s cities and villages.
Very few townships are responsible for maintaining roads.
In addition to roads, the transportation network includes airports, rail,