According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,425 square miles (8,870 km2), of which 1,808 square miles (4,680 km2) is land and 1,616 square miles (4,190 km2) (47%) is water. It is the largest county in Michigan by land area and fourth-largest by total area.
In addition to the 169.42 miles (272.66 km) of state highways in the county, the Marquette County Road Commission maintains 283.85 miles (456.81 km) of primary county roads which include County Road 492 (CR 492), and 988.25 miles (1,590.43 km) of secondary county roads. The road commission provides maintenance such as snow removal under contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation for the state trunklines. In 2010, the commission planned to build CR 595. The project was canceled after the permit was denied by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the project funding was diverted.
There were 27,538 households out of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.5% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.81.
The county population contained 18.7% were under the age of 18, 14.8% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.4 years. The population is 50.5% male and 49.5% female.
The median income for a household in the county was $46,875, and the median income for a family was $52,083. The per capita income for the county was $22,170. About 6.4% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.3% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.
Marquette County was reliably Republican following the American Civil War; its voters went Republican (or Republican-splinter) in every election from 1876 through 1932. However, that shifted in 1936; since then the Republican nominee has carried the county in only 5 out of 21 elections (through 2016).
The county government operates Sawyer International Airport, the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, records deeds, mortgages, and vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget and has limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions--police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc.--are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.
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