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City Summary - Grand Rapids, Michigan
While Detroit has been hit hard by the economic recession, Michigan's second largest city, Grand Rapids, continues to thrive. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Civic Leadership Center rated it the "most sustainable midsize city in the U.S." in 2010. The seat of Kent County, Grand Rapids has a population of more than 193,000 people, approximately 57.6 percent are white. The population size of the African American and Hispanic and Latino minority groups are roughly the same, each accounting for about 19 percent of the population. Dutch-Americans are the city's largest ethnic group with 15.7 of residents claiming Dutch ancestry.

Grand Rapids is one of the largest hubs for office equipment manufacturing in the world, leading to its nickname of "The Furniture City." American Seating, Steelcase, Haworth and Herman Mille are all headquartered in the city. Around 3.3 percent of all residents work in the furniture manufacturing sector, making it Grand Rapids' ninth largest industry.

Health care accounts for 9.5 percent of all jobs and is the biggest industry in Grand Rapids. A 964-bed general medical and surgical hospital, Spectrum Health is the largest employer in the city. In 2011, the hospital was ranked as one of the top-performers in the United States in 10 different specialties, including oncology and endocrinology, by "U.S. News and World Report." A smaller facility, Grand Rapid's St. Mary's Health Care Center received accolades in three specialties from the publication. The hospital is the 10th largest employer in the city.

With Grand Rapids Public Schools as the sixth largest employer in the city, education accounts for 9.2 percent of all jobs and is Grand Rapids' second biggest economic sector. In 2011, the district's City High-Middle School and Forest Hills Central High School won silver medals from the "Best High Schools in the United States" ratings from "U.S. News and World Report." The district's Kelloggsville High School and Lincoln School received bronze medals. More than one dozen postsecondary institutions have campuses in the city, including Grand Rapids Community College, Calvin College and Davenport University.

Around 5.4 percent of people in Grand Rapids work in the transportation equipment manufacturing industry with Johnson Controls, Magna Donnelly and GE Aviation located in the city. Other major employers in other industries include the chain store Meijer, Foremost Insurance, shoe manufacturer Wolverine World Wide and the Christian publisher Zondervan.

A center for art and culture, Grand Rapids hosts a large annual festival of the arts and has many outdoor art installations and indoor museums. The city has eight major theaters and auditoriums, which host concerts and performances from groups like the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company throughout the year.

The weather in Grand Rapids varies considerably with the seasons. The average temperature in January is 29 degrees Fahrenheit, while in July, the average is 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Each year, the city gets an average of 66 inches of snow.

During warm weather, Grand Rapids offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities. More than 75 golf courses are located in the area and more than 60 parks. For sports enthusiasts, the city offers the minor league West Michigan Whitecaps for baseball, the ABA Grand Rapids Flight for basketball, the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins for ice hockey and the West Michigan ThunderHawks for indoor football.
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