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Arenac County/Northern Bay

The Cluster Area communities, located in the counties of Arenac and Bay, are the true definition of rural. The cluster cities of Standish (Arenac County), Pinconning (Northern Bay County), Au Gres (Arenac County), and Omer (Arenac County).

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Cass County

Cass County is a vastly rural region in the southwest corner of Michigan along the Indiana state line. Comprising 20 local municipalities, the county covers 490 square miles and has a population of 51,787 (Kids Count, 2019). Some of the county’s most defining features include its abundant agriculture

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Manistee County

Manistee County is a small, rural community in Northwest Michigan with a population of less than 25,000 (U.S. Census, 2019) which includes a federally recognized Native American Tribe, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.  Manistee County hugs the Lake Michigan coastline and is considered a tourist destination.

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Benzie County

Benzie County is the smallest geographic county in Michigan, with 316 square miles and one stoplight. The mean commute to work time between 2015-2019 was 25.9 minutes for residents sixteen years or older, according to the 2020 US Census.

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Houghton County

This project will focus on Houghton County located in the northwest corner of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Houghton County has a population of 35,684 individuals spread across 1,502 square miles. This region is rural and remote with only 36 people/square mile in Houghton County


Manistique/Schoolcraft County

Manistique, Michigan, is a small, rural town of 2,919 (US Census Bureau population data 2019) located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the Northern shore of Lake Michigan. Manistique is located within Schoolcraft County, which includes the surrounding areas of Cooks, Thompson, Gulliver, and Germfask.

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