Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Sault Ste. Marie is a city located in the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 16,542. It is the county seat of Chippewa County6. It is on the Canadian border, separated by the St. Marys River from the city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The city is the site of the Sault locks which let ships travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Although not as busy as in past years, a considerable amount of domestic and foreign commerce passes through the locks. People come from around the world to view close up the ships passing through the locks. The largest ships are 1,000 feet long by 105 feet wide. Those large ships are domestic carriers (called lakers) that are too large to transit the Welland Canal around Niagara Falls. Therefore, they're land-locked. Foreign ships (termed salties) are smaller.

Sault Ste. Marie is home to Lake Superior State University, located on what was once an army base.

Tourism is a major industry in what's usually referred to as the Soo. The locks and nearby casinos are the major draws, as well as the forests, inland lakes and Lake Superior shoreline. It's also a gateway to Lake Superior's scenic north shore through its twin city Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The two cities are connected by the large International Bridge, a suspension bridge passing over the St. Mary's River.

Ojibwa (Chippewa) Native Americans had lived at the Falls of St. Marys for untold centuries, since they provided an excellent place to catch fish. In 1668 French missionaries Dablon and Marquette founded a mission, making the Sault the third oldest city in the United States west of the Appalachian Mountains. The falls proved a choke point for shipping. Early Lake Superior ships were hauled around the rapids, much like moving a house. It took weeks. The first American locks were built in 1855.



Until 1984 it was the eastern terminus of the western segment of U.S. 2.

The city is the northern terminus of Interstate 75, which connects with the Mackinac Bridge at St. Ignace 52 miles to the south. Michigan State Highway 129 also has its northern terminus in the city.


Missing image
Location of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 52.3 km² (20.2 mi²). 38.4 km² (14.8 mi²) of it is land and 13.9 km² (5.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 26.63% water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 16,542 people, 5,742 households, and 3,301 families residing in the city. The population density is 431.0/km² (1,116.3/mi²). There are 6,237 housing units at an average density of 162.5/km² (420.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 73.99% White, 6.51% African American, 13.72% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.47% from other races, and 4.61% from two or more races. 1.86% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 5,742 households out of which 28.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% are married couples living together, 13.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% are non-families. 33.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.28 and the average family size is 2.92.

In the city the population is spread out with 19.4% under the age of 18, 18.1% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 122.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 128.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $29,652, and the median income for a family is $40,333. Males have a median income of $29,656 versus $21,889 for females. The per capita income for the city is $14,460. 17.5% of the population and 12.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 19.6% of those under the age of 18 and 12.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

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