Traverse City Population 2018

Traverse City is a city located in the state of Michigan. It is located in Grand Traverse County, where it serves as the county seat, but is also part of Leelanau County. In addition to attracting a population estimated to be 15,479, the city is also a popular tourist destination and has been named one of the best places in the U.S. to retire. By population, Traverse City is the largest city in Northern Michigan.

Traverse City History

The Ojibwe and Ottawa tribes were the original inhabitants of what is now Traverse City. Europeans arrived in the area during the 18th century. The first permanent settlement along the Grand Traverse Bay was originally called Grand Traverse and was established in 1839.

A man from Illinois purchased land along the Boardman River in 1847. That same year, a sawmill was constructed, which was later sold in 1851. Hannah, Lay & Co made the purchase and invested in the sawmill, drawing in new settlers. The following year, a new post office was established and a new settlement was created, named Grand Traverse City. The post office suggested changing the name to Traverse City, which was implemented immediately.

Traverse City saw growth in the years ahead with the introduction of rail service in the 1870s. As the area became more populated, Traverse City was incorporated as a village in 1891 and just a few short years later was incorporated as a city. Throughout the 1900s, the city continued to grow. Many national magazines and multiple newspapers are printed in Traverse City. The city is also the largest producer of tart cherries and hosts the National Cherry Festival, which brings in about half a million tourists each year. Other attractions also bring in more visitors, including vineyards, beaches, and skiing areas. The city also features multiple shopping malls, retailers, wineries and professional sports teams.

In recent years, Traverse City has been named as one of the top small travel destinations in the U.S., as well as one of the best places in the country for retirement.

Traverse City Demographics

The city’s estimated population is 15,479. This is up from 14,674 recorded during the 2010 census. The city’s total area is 8.66 square miles with a population density of 1,700 people per square mile. It is only the 68th most populous city in Michigan.

The vast majority of the population is white, making up over 94% of the city’s total population. About 1.8% of residents are black, while Asians, Native Americans, and other races each make up less than 1% of the population. Almost 2% are mixed race, and Hispanic and Latinos make up 1.9% of the population.

Most of the residents in Traverse City are 45 to 64 years old, making up 28.3% of the population. Over one-quarter of the population is 25 to 44, while over 18% are under age 18 and 16.7% are at least 65. Over 52% of the population is female. About 8.4% of the population lives below the federal poverty line.

Traverse City Population Growth

Traverse City has grown slowly but steadily, although there have been declining population figures in recent years. The city first surpassed 10,000 residents at the time of the 1920 census. By the 1960s, the city was well on its way to 20,000 residents when the population dropped by over 2% according to the 1970 census. The population only continued to fall, showing the largest decline at the 1980 census when the total number dropped to 15,516. The population fell again at the 1990 census, then again at the next 10-year census. Recent estimates, however, show that the population is slowly growing again, reflecting a 5.5% increase over the figures recorded in 2010.

Year Population Growth Growth Rate

Traverse City Race Data

Race Population Percentage
Two or More Races2661.72%
Black or African American2241.45%
American Indian and Alaska Native780.50%
Some Other Race580.37%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander0.00%

Population Pyramid

0k0k0k0k0k0k Male Population0k0k0k0k0k0k Female Population8580757065605550454035302520151050

Traverse City Housing Indicators

Indicator Value
Median Number of Rooms (per House)
Houses Without Mortgage
Houses With Mortgage
Vacancy Rate
Median Rent
Median Home Value
Renter-Occupied Units
Owner-Occupied Units
Total Housing Units

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Traverse City for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 4.3% and the labor force participation rate is 67.4%.

Traverse City Family/Household Indicators

Indicator Value
Unmarried Partner Households (Same Sex)
Unmarried Partner Households (Opposite Sex)
Non Family Households
Female Householder (no husband) Families
Male Householder (no wife) Families
Married Couple Families
Average Family Size
Average Household Size