Okemos, Michigan

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Okemos (pronounced /ˈoʊkɨməs/) is an unincorporated community in Meridian Charter Township, Ingham County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a census-designated place (CDP) for statistical purposes and does not have any separate legal existence as a municipality. Local government is provided by the township. The population was 22,805 at the 2000 census.

The Okemos Public Schools includes Okemos and some immediate surrounding areas. The nickname of the school's sports teams is the Chiefs. Some have questioned the political correctness of the mascot despite the town being named after a Native American chieftain. The use of the image of the Chieftain head has been removed from most school-funded items, although several self-supporting sports teams still wear it.

The settlement of Hamilton was founded in 1839 by Freeman Bray as a trading point with the surrounding Ojibwa people and as a farming community. In 1859, one year following the death of Chief John Okemos (on whose treaty lands the city was built), the city was renamed Okemos to honor the Native American chief.

It was originally a farming community, but has been entirely absorbed as a Lansing suburb. The center of Okemos, referred to by many as "The Four Corners," is located at the intersection of Hamilton and Okemos Roads. The most notable business is the Meridian Mall (located on M-43 Grand River Avenue), which is northeast of The Four Corners.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 16.8 square miles (43.6 km²), of which, 16.8 square miles (43.5 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.18%) is water.

Lake Lansing is nearby and is approximately 500 acres (2.0 km²) in size. The lake has a beach designated for swimmers, fishing and boating facilities, and boasts beautiful hiking and biking trails.

The Red Cedar River runs through Okemos.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 22,805 people, 9,194 households, and 5,645 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,356.9 per square mile (523.8/km²). There were 9,592 housing units at an average density of 570.7/sq mi (220.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 84.01% White, 8.68% Asian, 4.20% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, , 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.61% from other races, and 2.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.23% of the population.

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