The settlement of Hamilton was founded in 1839 by Freeman Bray as a trading point with the surrounding Ojibwe people and as a farming community. In 1859, one year following the death of Chief John Okemos, the area was renamed to honor the Native American chief. "Okemos" is from the Ojibwa ogimaa "chief" plus -s, the diminutive, thus "little chief". It was originally a farming community, but has been entirely absorbed as a Lansing suburb, and is a popular residence community for employees of Michigan State University.
As of the census of 2010, there were 21,369 people, 8,824 households, and 5,416 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,274.7 per square mile. There were 9,384 housing units at an average density of 554.9 per square mile. The racial makeup of the CDP was 76.5% White, 14.4% Asian, 5.1% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.1% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population. There were 9,194 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.3% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.04. In the CDP, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 14.5% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males. The median income for an average household in the CDP was $62,810, and the median income for a family was $88,459. Males had a median income of $60,601 versus $41,393 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $33,401. About 3.3% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.0% of those under age 18 and 0.5% of those age 65 or over. In 2011, CNN Money Magazine rated Okemos as the 12th-best city to live in for "the rich and single".
Benjamin Schneider, American indie musician for Lord Huron, attended Okemos Public Schools
Tyler Oakley, YouTuber, blogger, and LGBT activist
Tom Welling, actor, played Clark Kent in television series Smallville
Kim Chi, stage name of Sang-Young Shin, a Korean-American drag queen, artist, and television personality best known as a contestant on season 8 of RuPaul's Drag Race
Points of interest
Goetsch–Winckler House. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and of the earlier examples of his "Usonian" houses.
The Meridian Historical Village and farmers market
Ferguson Park, along the Red Cedar River on Okemos Road, is thought to be the meeting place where Chief Okemos and the war chiefs held their powwows. The park is part of the oldest settlement in the area along the plank road between Detroit and the Capitol in Lansing.
The Hamilton Building at 2060 Hamilton Road, is the oldest commercial building in Okemos, and replaced the old Walker General Store, which was built in 1853. The Hamilton Building held its first ice cream social on June 11, 1904, and was built to house the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a charity organization. The planks in the building are from the walnut grove on which it sits. Along with Ferguson Park, it is also part of the oldest settlement in the area along the old plank road between Detroit and the Capitol in Lansing.