Portage, Michigan

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Portage is a city in Kalamazoo County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 44,897 at the 2000 census.

Portage is adjacent to the southern boundary of the City of Kalamazoo. The city was incorporated from the entirety of the former Portage Township on December 31, 1963.

There are two public high schools in Portage, Portage Central and Portage Northern. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer also has operations located there, which in recent years has caused much controversy due to layoffs.

Portage is known for its extensive network of historical parks and trails used for cycling, walking, canoeing, and other recreational activities. Since the creation of the Portage Bikeway system in 1989, the trails have expanded to over 50 miles (80 km), over five times as long as the city’s expressways. Portage is also home to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.0 square miles (90.7 km²), making it larger than the City of Kalamazoo. 32.2 square miles (83.4 km²) of it is land and 2.8 square miles (7.3 km²) of it (8.05%) is water.

Austin Lake is in the southeast part of the city and was named for Moses Austin, who had emigrated to Portage Township from Genesee County, New York in 1833. A settlement grew on the north shore of the lake, known as Austin or Austin Lake. A post office named "Austin's Lake" was established on May 18, 1850, with Moses Austin as postmaster, and operated until August 15, 1853. The place was also a station on the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad in 1867.[3]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 44,897 people, 18,138 households, and 12,134 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,394.2 per square mile (538.3/km²). There were 18,880 housing units at an average density of 586.3/sq mi (226.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.75% White, 3.73% African American, 0.30% Native American, 2.64% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.70% from other races, and 1.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.93% of the population.

There were 18,138 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.01.

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