Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in Michigan and the county seat of Kent County. Situated along the Grand River approximately 30 miles (48 km) east of Lake Michigan, it is the economic and cultural hub of West Michigan, the fastest growing major city in Michigan, and one of the fastest growing cities in the Midwest. According to 2019 US Census Bureau estimates, the city had a population of 201,013, while the greater metropolitan area had a population of 1,077,370, and a combined statistical area population of 1,412,470.
A historic furniture-manufacturing center, Grand Rapids is home to five of the world's leading office furniture companies, and is nicknamed "Furniture City". Other nicknames include "River City" and more recently, "Beer City" (the latter given by USA Today and adopted by the city as a brand). The city and surrounding communities are economically diverse, based in the health care, information technology, automotive, aviation, and consumer goods manufacturing industries, among others.
Grand Rapids is the childhood home of U.S. President Gerald Ford, who is buried with his wife Betty on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in the city. The city's main airport and one of its freeways are also named after him.
For thousands of years, succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples occupied the area. Over 2000 years ago, people associated with the Hopewell culture occupied the Grand River Valley. Later, a tribe from the Ottawa River traveled to the Grand River valley, fighting three battles with the Prairie Indians who were established in the area.