Meridian Township takes its name from the fact that the Michigan Meridian, the prime north-south survey line runs through the township. It is from this line that all townships were surveyed and measured.
The first white settlers near the current Village of Okemos (to the south of the former Pine Lake) were Sanford Marsh and his wife who built their cabin in 1839. They were soon followed by Joseph Kilbourne, who took out land for his brother-in-law, Freeman Bray.
It was Bray who platted out the southeast corner of his land and sold the lots to newcomers traveling into the mid-state wilderness. The village was first known as Hamilton.
A post-office called Sanford was established in the spring of 1840. Joseph H. Kilbourne was the first postmaster.
A local Native American, Chief John Okemos, was well-known throughout the area. The village area was one of his primary camping areas and he traveled frequently between the village and another campsite near present-day Portland, Michigan. In 1857, the Michigan Legislature changed the name of the village officially to Okemos to honor the old chief.
The Township is rich with history and one resident, Joseph Kilbourne, had a major role in the decision in 1847 to relocate the state capitol from Detroit to Lansing (then Lansing Township). A local organization, the Friends of Historic Meridian, has an archive of local historic information and also maintains the historic buildings in the Meridian Historical Village.
There were 16,414 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the township the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 13.4% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $55,203, and the median income for a family was $80,114. Males had a median income of $55,705 versus $39,306 for females. The per capita income for the township was $32,190. About 4.3% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.9% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.