Introduction to Big Rapids, Michigan

Big Rapids, Michigan, in Mecosta county, is 51 miles N of Grand Rapids, Michigan and 130 miles E of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Big Rapids History

Big Rapids is a city located within Big Rapids Township. The early history of the region is associated with the logging industry that flourished due to the presence of the rivers. The community got its name from the many river rapids in the region. The city experienced rapid growth and development in the post Civil War years. It was officially incorporated as a city in 1869.

Big Rapids and nearby Attractions

  • Settlers House
  • Great Lakes Naval Memorial & Museum
  • Tri-Cities Historical Museum
  • Mitchell Creek
  • Grand Haven State Park

Things To Do In Big Rapids

The city of Big Rapids is near the famous Settlers House, which was at one point the dwelling of the Irish Canadian immigrant Thomas Morrissey and his family. The house is now decorated with some very interesting 19th century artifacts. The Muskegon County Museum and the Great Lakes Naval Memorial & Museum are also close to this city. Mitchell Creek, a beautiful water body in the city of Big Rapids, is very popular among tourists and townspeople. One can also visit the P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, the Pioneer County Park or the Grand Haven State Park to spend a day with family and friends.

Big Rapids Transportation

Air transportation is available from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Big Rapids Higher Education

Institutes offering higher educational opportunities to residents of Big Rapids include the Ferris State University, Central Michigan University, and Grand Rapids Community College.


Total Population 10,532
Male Share of the Population 51.1%
Female Share of the Population 48.9%
Senior Citizens 7.2%
Employed Population 16+ 4,262
Age of the Population 22


% of people married 17.3%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 32.2%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $47,778
% Above Poverty Level 57.2%
% Below Poverty Level 42.8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 14 minutes
% Working from Home 4.4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 19.3%
% Using Public Transportation 1.1%


People Living Alone 39.2%
Median Gross Rent $533
Median House Value $88,900


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 16.2%
US/American 0%
English 5.6%
Irish 13.8%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Big Rapids Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 51 miles N of Grand Rapids, Michigan (center to center)
Nearest Large City 130 miles E of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
County Mecosta
Standard Zip Codes 49307
Phone Area Codes 231
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 43.698
Longitude -85.483

Big Rapids Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 0.1 miles
Jan Temp 12 to 29 F
Apr Temp 32 to 56 F
Jul Temp 57 to 82 F
Oct Temp 36 to 59 F
Annual Precip 34.5 inches
Station EVART
Distance 18.6 miles
Jan Temp 8 to 27 F
Apr Temp 31 to 54 F
Jul Temp 54 to 81 F
Oct Temp 34 to 58 F
Annual Precip 32.6 inches
Distance 23 miles
Jan Temp 11 to 29 F
Apr Temp 30 to 56 F
Jul Temp 53 to 82 F
Oct Temp 35 to 59 F
Annual Precip 34.7 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Barryton 404 $30,000
Hersey 355 $45,625
Mecosta 620 $30,625
Morley 729 $40,250
Reed City 2,828 $31,184
Stanwood 200 $47,500

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Big Rapids Public Libraries

Big Rapids Community Library
Big Rapids, Michigan
(231) 796-5234
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Big Rapids Hospitals

(Government - Local)
(231) 796-8691
Emergency Service: Yes

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Big Rapids High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

21175 15 MILE ROAD
Serves 673 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.1

A Charter School.
Serves 136 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14

21485 15 MILE ROAD
A Non-traditional School
Serves 95 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 32.8

Big Rapids Colleges

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Additional Details
Big Rapids Colleges
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