About Baraga County
Baraga County is located in the northwest corner of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and has a population of 8,164 individuals spread across 904 square miles (US Census). This region is rural and remote with less than 10 people per square mile. Baraga County is home to Ojibwewanishiaabe, also known as the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), an Ojibwe nation. The KBIC brings rich culture and history to the community. Geographic isolation, rugged terrain, limited transportation systems, harsh winter weather and significant travel times for specialty medical care and shopping centers make this region truly rural. This area along with neighboring counties is often referred to as “Copper Country,” which reflects the mining of native copper. Mining, logging, and railroads have been the economic base for generations.
Baraga County is experiencing a shortage of available child care. In April 2023, First Children's Finance conducted a child care need assessment that showed an approximate shortage of 143 child care slots in the county. Child care shortages make it difficult for employers to operate at full staffing capacities because families must either cut back on the hours they work or opt out of the workforce altogether to care for their children. Other families find challenges by having to rely solely on one income, or by having to travel long distances to find child care in other communities. To support workforce development, retention, and economic growth, Baraga County is participating in the Rural Child Care Innovation Program to explore and implement local and right-sized solutions to address child care shortages.