Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, MichiganAptly nicknamed "River City" for its position on the banks of the Grand River, Michigan's second largest city has come to be a prominent one, both economically and culturally. One of its earliest claims to fame was its substantial lumbering and furniture manufacturing industry. The international recognition the city developed as a producer of furniture earned it another of its nicknames: "Furniture City". Grand Rapids is still considered a world leader in the manufacturing of furniture, and of office furniture in particular.

Each year, Grand Rapids hosts the three-day Festival of the Arts (the largest all-volunteer arts festival in the US) and the free music festival Celebration on the Grand. Visual art is particularly well represented in the city, as evidenced by its annual international ArtPrize and by the Grand Rapids Art Museum, among other things.

The city is also home to both the Grand Rapids Public Museum (one of the oldest history museums in the country) and the world-renowned Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Honorable Mentions

  • One of Addeco Staffing U.S.'s "10 Best Cities for Finding Employment" in 2013.
  • Number 7 on CareerBliss' list of "10 Happiest Cities to Work in 2013".
  • Number 10 on Forbes' 2012 list of "Best Mid-Size Cities For Jobs".
  • Joint-tenth on ManpowerGroup's 2012 list of "Best Cities For Jobs".
  •'s "Beer City USA 2013".

Major Industries and Employers

Major industries in Grand Rapids and the surrounding area include health care and health sciences, aviation, automobile manufacturing, furniture manufacturing, IT services, financial services, education, consumer goods manufacturing, and fruit production.

Spectrum Health System - the largest employer in West Michigan - has its head office in Grand Rapids. The city is also home to Universal Forest Products, Shuler Books & Music, and the sporting goods chain MC Sports, among many other businesses.

Other leading employers in the city include superstore chain Meijer, grocery store chain Spartan Stores, the public school system, and Fifth Third Bank.


In 2012, there were 190,411 Grand Rapidians, of which 9,489 were veterans and 18,555 were born overseas. The median age is 30.9.

Of the residents aged 25 or over, 83.5% have graduated high school and 28.2% have attained at least a bachelor's degree.

The average per capita income in Grand Rapids ($20,147) is significantly below that of the nation as a whole ($28,051). The city's homeownership rate is 56.6%, and its poverty rate is 26.8% (the national rates are 65.5% and 15%, respectively). However, the unemployment rate in Grand Rapids (5.6%) is significantly below the national rate (6.7%).


Grand Rapids has a notably low unemployment rate. However, its homeownership rate, poverty rate, and per capita income are all substantially lower than the nation's equivalents. The city is well-endowed culturally, and it has quite a strong economy. It seems that for most job seekers choosing a city to live in, Grand Rapids would be a respectable choice.