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Gogebic County is the westernmost county in the U.S. state of Michiganmarker. As of the 2000 census, the population was 17,370. The county seat is Bessemermarker .

The county was set off and organized in 1867. It had been part of Ontonagon Countymarker. The name is said to be derived from the Ojibwe word "bic" which most references interpret as "rock." Alternatively, it is claimed to be derived from Lake Agogebic, later changed to Lake Gogebicmarker. See List of Michigan county name etymologies.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,476 square miles (3,824 km²), of which, 1,102 square miles (2,854 km²) of it is land and 375 square miles (970 km²) of it (25.37%) is water.

Geographic features



US Highways
  • US 2

  • US Business Route 2 serves the city of Ironwood.
  • US 45

Michigan State Trunklines

Air service

Adjacent counties

National protected area


As of the census of 2000, there were 17,370 people, 7,425 households, and 4,581 families residing in the county. The population density was 16 people per square mile (6/km²). There were 10,839 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.24% White, 1.76% Black or African American, 2.20% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races. 0.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.5% were of Finnish, 12.8% German, 12.8% Italian, 8.6% Polish, 6.3% Swedish, 6.1% English and 5.4% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.2% spoke English, 2.0% Finnish and 1.2% Spanish as their first language.

There were 7,425 households out of which 24.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.10% were married couples living together, 9.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.30% were non-families. 34.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the county the population was spread out with 20.40% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 24.40% from 25 to 44, 24.20% from 45 to 64, and 22.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 101.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $27,405, and the median income for a family was $35,738. Males had a median income of $29,102 versus $21,298 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,169. About 10.60% of families and 14.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.90% of those under age 18 and 10.30% of those age 65 or over.


The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates themajor local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administerspublic health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare andother social services. The county board of commissioners controls thebudget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most localgovernment functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, streetmaintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Gogebic County elected officials

(information as of September 2005)

Cities, villages, and townships


Unincorporated communities



  1. "Michigan Counties" from the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries.
  2. Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography on Gogebic County..

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