A general overview of the county can be seen by referring to the Mecosta County Profile which was prepared by the MSU Extension program in 2015-2016. Click here: Mecosta Profile
To learn about some of the unique cultural and historical characteristics Mecosta County has to offer please visit the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce web site at: http://www.mecostacounty.com.
Mecosta County is a big play ground which is easily accessible no matter where you live. More visitor information is available through the Mecosta County Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at: http://www.bigrapids.org. Join us in one of Michigan's best kept secrets and bring your toys!
The following information is based on the U.S. Census Bureau data gathered in 2010. The state population figures by county are the first to appear and have been released in groups. The most current figures were released in December of 2016 (see report).
2010 Census of All Michigan Counties
Five County Census Population Comparison
2010 Michigan Population Change Map
Gains in population in a number of townships over the past decade were responsible for the 5.5% increase county-wide during the period. A breakdown of the population change responsible for the county's overall growth can be found in the following document:
Changes in Mecosta County's Population: 2000-2010
Labor Market Information
The Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget periodically issues labor market information updates. For the West Michigan market, jobless rates in 2016 dipped slightly. In Mecosta County, this amounted to a decrease in unemployment to 4.2% at years end. Some employers noted a shortage of qualified candidates for a number of positions. Overall, Mecosta County has followed the trend of other West Michigan counties, experiencing a downward trend in the number of unemployed over previous levels of a year or more ago. The most current labor report for all of West Michigan is available here.
Michigan and Agriculture
Michigan is known as a manufacturing state and has a long history of innovation and manufacturing excellence in this sector of the economy. Michigan is lesser known for its agricultural production, but the agricultural industry ranks as one of the three top industries with the greatest impact on the state's economy. For instance, did you know that Michigan processes over 95% of the asparagus crop in the United States, or that we produce 70-75% of all tart cherries in the nation? Perhaps lesser known is that Michigan ranks first in the nation in the production of small red beans, cranberry beans, and black beans and is number two nationally in navy bean production. Other crops produced in Michigan such as corn, wheat, wine and grapes, and soybeans contribute heavily to agriculture's major impact to on the state's economy.
Because of the amount of crop and animal production in Michigan, there is an opportunity to capitalize on food processing opportunities in the state. Currently the economic impact of food processing in Michigan amounts to $24.97 billion and has seen a compound annual growth of 3.7% since 2002. Over that same period, food processing in Michigan has accounted for nearly a 20% increase of direct impact to Michigan's economy. The food processing industry in Michigan employs almost 134,000 workers and licenses 1,588 food processors. Because of this, Michigan ranks 19th nationally in food processing and because of the over 200 different commodities produced in the state, Michigan has earned the distinction of ranking second in the U.S. in terms of agricultural diversity. Not bad for a 'manufacturing' state! Read more here for information regarding opportunities in Michigan's food processing industry.
Mecosta County's Agriculture Impact
The impact of agricultural production to the local Mecosta County economy is significant. According the the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA), in 2009 the total market value of agriculture production in the county amounted to $72,652,000. This included both crop and livestock sales. In fact, Mecosta County leads the state in the number of hog and pig operations, is ranked number three in Michigan in the amount of potatoes grown as well as the number of dairy farms in the county, and ranks seventh out of 83 counties in Michigan in the total number of animal operations.
There were approximately 845 farms in Mecosta County in 2009, occupying about 114,715 acres. Key products raised in the county include corn, soy beans, and wheat; vegetables; fruit and tree nuts; dairy products; and other animal operations. Though not concentrated in any one location within the county, agriculture in its many forms contributes significantly to the economy of Mecosta County. Additional information regarding the impact of agriculture on the county can be found in the Michigan Department of Agriculture's profile here. For comparison purposes and to further understand Michigan's role nationally as well as the importance agriculture plays in the economy of the state as a whole, read the MDA's statewide profile here.
Ferris State University
Mecosta/Osceola Intermediate School District
Big Rapids Public Schools
Morley Stanwood Community Schools
Chippewa Hills School District
Crossroads Charter Academy