The presence of several major manufacturers through its history has given Albion the reputation of a factory town. Albion College is a private liberal arts college with a student population of about 1,950. Albion is Sister city to Noisy-le-Roi, France.
Albion is the birthplace of food writer M. F. K. Fisher.
Crowell arrived in 1835 and established the Albion Company to lay out the plan for the village and to sell property to other pioneers as they arrived. He became the first postmaster in 1838. Albion incorporated as a village in 1855 and as a city in 1885.
In 1835, Methodist Episcopal settlers established Albion College, which was known by a few other names before 1861 when the college was fully authorized to confer four-year degrees on both men and women. The first classes were held in Albion in 1843.
The forks of the Kalamazoo River provided power for mills and Albion quickly became a mill town as well as an agricultural market. A railroad line arrived in 1852, fostering the development of other industries.
Albion was named an All-America City in 1973 by the National Civic League. It celebrated winning the award on May 15, 1974 when the Governor of Michigan, William Milliken, and many dignitaries came to town. However, in 1975 the closure of a major factory cut the celebration short and new challenges were created overnight.
Since that time citizens have mobilized, with support from the Albion Community Foundation founded in 1968, and the Albion Volunteer Service Organization founded in the 1980s with support from Albion College to address the challenge of diminishing economic opportunity.
Key to the City Honor Bestowed:
There were 3,252 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.0% were married couples living together, 21.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% 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 3.07.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 19.7% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 83.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,245, and the median income for a family was $37,399. Males had a median income of $35,956 versus $22,975 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,165. About 15.0% of families and 20.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.6% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.