Lansing is a city located in the state of Michigan. It is located primarily in Ingham County, but some areas are located in Clinton County and Eaton County. Lansing is also Michigan’s state capital, and it is the fifth largest city in the state by population. It is the only state capital that is not a county seat. According to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Lansing’s population is 116,020.
Europeans first explored the area that is now Lansing back in 1790. However, it was not surveyed until 1827 and was not put for sale until 1830. Five years later, two brothers came from New York to plot the area near what is today downtown Lansing. This came to be known as Biddle City. The area at the time was mostly underwater and was not developed. However, the two returned to New York to sell plots of land, telling others that the city had 65 blocks, a public square, and a church. This was untrue. Sixteen men purchased plots and traveled to the area only to find that they had been deceived. Some people left to settle in what is now Lansing’s metro area. Others remained and called the region “Lansing Township.”
Less than 20 settlers were living in Lansing, but in 1847, the capital city was going to be moved from Detroit to a more interior location. Many cities fought to become the new capital, but the Michigan House of Representatives chose the Township of Lansing. Two months later, legislation was signed making this a reality. The settlement’s name was temporarily changed to “Town of Michigan” before being named Lansing in 1848. It was just a few months after the legislature was signed that the city became the capital and began to grow.
By the end of the 1850s, the city’s population had grown to almost 3,000. This trend only continued with the construction of railroads, the capitol building, and a plank road. Toward the end of the 19th century, the city was also establishing itself as an industrial center. The Olds Motor Vehicle Company was established in 1897, followed by the establishment of the REO Motor Car Company. In the 20th century, Lansing was a center for auto and auto part manufacturing. The city also grew to 15 square miles in the mid-1950s and then doubled in size during the next decade.
Today, the city continues to grow. It is primarily the site of many state government buildings, but the city has also added retail stores, residential buildings, restaurants, and other businesses throughout the city. Lansing also has many historical sites, including the city market that is one of the oldest farmers’ market in the country. Today, the city has an economy centered on government, healthcare, manufacturing, banking, and insurance.
City Size and Population Density
The city of Lansing has an estimated population of over 116,000 people. The city’s total area is over 36 square miles, and it has a population density of 3,100 people per square mile.
Lansing Population and Economy Statistics
Over 8% of the population was born in a foreign country. The largest age group residing in Lansing is 25 to 44, making up over 30% of the population. Nearly one-quarter of residents are under age 17, while 9.7% are at least 65 years old. There are more female residents than males, making up 51.6% of the total population. Nearly 17% of Lansing’s residents live below the federal poverty line.
The State of Michigan is Lansing’s top employer, providing jobs to over 14,000 people. Michigan State University and Sparrow Health System also each employ over 10,000 people. Other top employers in Lansing include General Motors, Liberty National Life and Auto-Owners Insurance.
Lansing Population Growth
The city of Lansing in its early history saw significant growth, primarily because it was designated as the capital city. By the 20th century, Lansing had over 15,000 residents. This number continued to climb through the early 20th century, exceeding 100,000 by the time of the 1960 census. In 1970, the population peaked at 131,403 before going into decline at each 10-year count following. The last official census showed a population of 114,297. However, recent estimates show that the population has risen by 1.5% since that time, indicating that efforts to revitalize and grow the city may be successful.