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Michigan
State of Michigan
Flag of Michigan Official seal of Michigan
Nickname(s): 
"The Great Lake(s) State", "The Wolverine State", "The Mitten State", "Water (Winter) Wonderland"
Motto(s): 
Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice
(English: "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you")
Anthem: "My Michigan"
Map of the United States with Michigan highlighted
Map of the United States with Michigan highlighted
Country United States
Before statehood Michigan Territory
Admitted to the Union January 26, 1837 (26th)
Capital Lansing
Largest city Detroit
Largest metro Detroit
Legislature Michigan Legislature
 • Upper house Senate
 • Lower house House of Representatives
Area
 • Total 96,716 sq mi (250,493 km2)
Area rank 11th
Dimensions
 • Length 456 mi (734 km)
 • Width 386 mi (621 km)
Elevation
900 ft (270 m)
Highest elevation 1,979 ft (603 m)
Lowest elevation 571 ft (174 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 10,077,331
 • Rank 10th
 • Density 174/sq mi (67.1/km2)
 • Density rank 17th
 • Median household income
$54,909
 • Income rank
34th
Demonym(s) Michigander, Michiganian, Yooper (Upper Peninsula)
Language
 • Official language None (English, de facto)
 • Spoken language English 91.11%
Spanish 2.93%
Arabic 1.04%
Other 4.92%
Time zones
most of state UTC−05:00 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (EDT)
4 U.P. counties (Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, and Menominee) UTC−06:00 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−05:00 (CDT)
USPS abbreviation
MI
ISO 3166 code US-MI
Trad. abbreviation Mich.
Latitude 41°41′ N to 48°18′ N
Longitude 82°7′ W to 90°25′ W
Michigan state symbols
Living insignia
Bird American robin (Turdus migratorius)
Fish Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)
Flower Apple blossom (Malus domestica)
Wildflower: Dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris)
Mammal Unofficial: Wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus)
Game animal: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Reptile Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta)
Tree Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)
Inanimate insignia
Fossil Mastodon (Mammut americanum)
Gemstone Isle Royale greenstone
Rock Petoskey stone
Soil Kalkaska sand
State route marker
Michigan state route marker
State quarter
Michigan quarter dollar coin
Released in 2004
Lists of United States state symbols

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwestern United States. Its name derives from a gallicized variant of the original Ojibwe word ᒥᓯᑲᒥ (mishigami), meaning 'large water' or 'large lake'. With a population of nearly 10.1 million and a total area of nearly 97,000 sq mi (250,000 km2), Michigan is the 10th-largest state by population, the 11th-largest by area, and the largest east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often called "the U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge connects the peninsulas. Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake St. Clair. It also has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds.

The area was first occupied by a succession of Native American tribes over thousands of years. Inhabited by natives, Métis, and French explorers in the 17th century, it was claimed as part of the New France colony. After France's defeat in the French and Indian War in 1762, the region came under British rule. Britain ceded the territory to the newly independent United States after Britain's defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The area was part of the larger Northwest Territory until 1800, when western Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. Michigan Territory was formed in 1805, but some of the northern border with Canada was not agreed upon until after the War of 1812. Michigan was admitted into the Union in 1837 as the 26th state, a free one. It soon became an important center of industry and trade in the Great Lakes region and a popular émigré destination in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; immigration from many European countries to Michigan was also the busiest at that time, especially for those who emigrated from Finland, Macedonia and the Netherlands.

Although Michigan developed a diverse economy, it is widely known as the center of the U.S. automotive industry, which developed as a major economic force in the early 20th century. It is home to the country's three major automobile companies (whose headquarters are all in Metro Detroit). While sparsely populated, the Upper Peninsula is important for tourism due to its abundance of natural resources, while the Lower Peninsula is a center of manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, services, and high-tech industry.

History

See also: History of Michigan

When the first European explorers arrived, the most populous tribes were Algonquian peoples, which include the Anishinaabe groups of Ojibwe (called "Chippewa" in French), Odaawaa/Odawa (Ottawa), and the Boodewaadamii/Bodéwadmi (Potawatomi). The three nations co-existed peacefully as part of a loose confederation called the Council of Three Fires. The Ojibwe, whose numbers are estimated to have been between 25,000 and 35,000, were the largest.

17th century

Pere Marquette
Père Marquette and the Indians (1869), Wilhelm Lamprecht

French voyageurs explored and settled in Michigan in the 17th century. The first Europeans to reach what became Michigan were those of Étienne Brûlé's expedition in 1622.

The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1668 on the site where Père Jacques Marquette established Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan as a base for Catholic missions. Missionaries in 1671–75 founded outlying stations at Saint Ignace and Marquette.

18th century

Michigan 1718
Approximate area of Michigan highlighted in Guillaume de L'Isle's 1718 map

In 1701, French explorer and army officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit or "Fort Pontchartrain on-the-Strait" on the strait, known as the Detroit River, between lakes Saint Clair and Erie.

Cadillac's wife, Marie Thérèse Guyon, soon moved to Detroit, becoming one of the first European women to settle in the Michigan wilderness.

The town quickly became a major fur-trading and shipping post.

France offered free land to attract families to Detroit, which grew to 800 people in 1765, the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans.

Province of Quebec 1774
The Province of Quebec in 1774

From 1660 until the end of French rule, Michigan was part of the Royal Province of New France. In 1760, Montreal fell to the British forces ending the French and Indian War (1754–1763). Under the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Michigan and the rest of New France east of the Mississippi River passed to Great Britain. After the Quebec Act was passed in 1774, Michigan became part of the British Province of Quebec. By 1778, Detroit's population was up to 2,144 and it was the third largest city in Quebec.

During the American Revolutionary War, Detroit was an important British supply center.

Most of the inhabitants were French-Canadians or Native Americans, many of whom had been allied with the French.

Under terms negotiated in the 1794 Jay Treaty, Britain withdrew from Detroit and Michilimackinac in 1796.

19th century

During the War of 1812, Michigan Territory was surrendered after a nearly bloodless siege in 1812. An attempt to retake Detroit resulted in a severe American defeat in the River Raisin Massacre. Ultimately, Michigan was recaptured by Americans in 1813 after the Battle of Lake Erie.

Hauling at Thomas Foster's, by Jenney, J A (detail)
Lumbering pines in the late 1800s

The population grew slowly until the opening in 1825 of the Erie Canal connecting the Great Lakes and the Hudson River and New York City. The new route brought a large influx of settlers, who became farmers and merchants and shipped out grain, lumber, and iron ore. By the 1830s, Michigan had 80,000 residents, more than enough to apply and qualify for statehood.

In October 1835 the people approved the Constitution of 1835, thereby forming a state government, although Congressional recognition was delayed pending resolution of a boundary dispute with Ohio known as the Toledo War.

The Upper Peninsula proved to be a rich source of lumber, iron, and copper. Michigan led the nation in lumber production from the 1850s to the 1880s. Railroads became a major engine of growth from the 1850s onward, with Detroit the chief hub.

Michigan made a significant contribution to the Union in the American Civil War and sent more than forty regiments of volunteers to the federal armies.

20th and 21st centuries

See also: History of Ford Motor Company
B-24 bomber at Willow Run
B-24s under construction at Ford's Willow Run line, 1942

Michigan's economy underwent a transformation at the turn of the 20th century. Many individuals, including Ransom E. Olds, John and Horace Dodge, Henry Leland, David Dunbar Buick, Henry Joy, Charles King, and Henry Ford, provided the concentration of engineering know-how and technological enthusiasm to start the birth of the automotive industry.

Ford's development of the moving assembly line in Highland Park marked the beginning of a new era in transportation. Like the steamship and railroad, it was a far-reaching development. More than the forms of public transportation, the automobile transformed private life. It became the major industry of Detroit and Michigan, and permanently altered the socio-economic life of the United States and much of the world.

With the growth, the auto industry created jobs in Detroit that attracted immigrants from Europe and migrants from across the United States, including those from the South.

By 1920, Detroit was the fourth-largest city in the US. Over the years immigrants and migrants contributed greatly to Detroit's diverse urban culture, including popular music trends, such as the influential Motown Sound of the 1960s led by a variety of individual singers and groups.

Headquarters of GM in Detroit
Skyscrapers in downtown Detroit

Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in Michigan, is also an important center of manufacturing. Since 1838, the city has also been noted for its furniture industry and is home to five of the world's leading office furniture companies. Grand Rapids is home to a number of major companies including Steelcase, Amway, and Meijer. Grand Rapids is also an important center for GE Aviation Systems.

In 1920 WWJ (AM) in Detroit became the first radio station in the United States to regularly broadcast commercial programs.

Michigan manufactured 10.9 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking second (behind New York) among the 48 states.

Michigan is the leading auto-producing state in the US, with the industry primarily located throughout the Midwestern United States, Ontario, Canada, and the Southern United States.

Biomedical Science Research 2010
Biomedical Science Research Building at the UM Medical School supports the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor.

Agriculture also serves a significant role, making the state a leading grower of fruit in the US, including blueberries, cherries, apples, grapes and peaches.

Geography

Michigan consists of two peninsulas that lie between 82°30' to about 90°30' west longitude, and are separated by the Straits of Mackinac.

The 45th parallel north runs through the state—marked by highway signs and the Polar-Equator Trail—along a line including Mission Point Light near Traverse City, the towns of Gaylord and Alpena in the Lower Peninsula and Menominee in the Upper Peninsula.

With the exception of two small areas that are drained by the Mississippi River by way of the Wisconsin River in the Upper Peninsula and by way of the Kankakee-Illinois River in the Lower Peninsula, Michigan is drained by the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence watershed and is the only state with the majority of its land thus drained.

The Great Lakes that border Michigan from east to west are Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. It has more public golf courses, registered boats, and lighthouses than any other state. The state is bounded on the south by the states of Ohio and Indiana, sharing land and water boundaries with both. Michigan's western boundaries are almost entirely water boundaries.

The heavily forested Upper Peninsula is relatively mountainous in the west. The Porcupine Mountains, which are part of one of the oldest mountain chains in the world, rise to an altitude of almost 2,000 feet (610 m) above sea level and form the watershed between the streams flowing into Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The state's highest point, in the Huron Mountains northwest of Marquette, is Mount Arvon at 1,979 feet (603 m).

The peninsula is as large as Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island combined but has fewer than 330,000 inhabitants. They are sometimes called "Yoopers" (from "U.P.'ers"), and their speech (the "Yooper dialect") has been heavily influenced by the numerous Scandinavian and Canadian immigrants who settled the area during the lumbering and mining boom of the late 19th century.

Pointe Mouillee
The Pointe Mouillee State Game Area

The Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten and many residents hold up a hand to depict where they are from.

A feature of Michigan that gives it the distinct shape of a mitten is the Thumb. This peninsula projects out into Lake Huron and the Saginaw Bay. The geography of the Thumb is mainly flat with a few rolling hills.

Numerous lakes and marshes mark both peninsulas, and the coast is much indented. Keweenaw Bay, Whitefish Bay, and the Big and Little Bays De Noc are the principal indentations on the Upper Peninsula. The Grand and Little Traverse, Thunder, and Saginaw bays indent the Lower Peninsula. Michigan has the second longest shoreline of any state—3,288 miles (5,292 km), including 1,056 miles (1,699 km) of island shoreline.

Michigan
Michigan map, including territorial waters

The state has numerous large islands, the principal ones being the North Manitou and South Manitou, Beaver, and Fox groups in Lake Michigan; Isle Royale and Grande Isle in Lake Superior; Marquette, Bois Blanc, and Mackinac islands in Lake Huron; and Neebish, Sugar, and Drummond islands in St. Mary's River.

Michigan has about 150 lighthouses, the most of any U.S. state. The first lighthouses in Michigan were built between 1818 and 1822. They were built to project light at night and to serve as a landmark during the day to safely guide the passenger ships and freighters traveling the Great Lakes. See Lighthouses in the United States.

The state's rivers are generally small, short and shallow, and few are navigable.

With 78 state parks, 19 state recreation areas, and 6 state forests, Michigan has the largest state park and state forest system of any state. These parks and forests include Holland State Park, Mackinac Island State Park, Au Sable State Forest, and Mackinaw State Forest.

Climate

Michigan has a continental climate, although there are two distinct regions.

The southern and central parts of the Lower Peninsula (south of Saginaw Bay and from the Grand Rapids area southward) have a warmer climate with hot summers and cold winters. The northern part of Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula has a more severe climate, with warm, but shorter summers and longer, cold to very cold winters.

The entire state averages 30 days of thunderstorm activity per year. These can be severe, especially in the southern part of the state. The state averages 17 tornadoes per year, which are more common in the extreme southern portion of the state. Portions of the southern border have been almost as vulnerable historically as states further west and in Tornado Alley. For this reason, many communities in the very southern portions of the state are equipped with tornado sirens to warn residents of approaching tornadoes.

Demographics

See also: Michigan statistical areas
Michigan population map
Michigan population distribution
Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 3,757
1810 4,762 26.8%
1820 7,452 56.5%
1830 28,004 275.8%
1840 212,267 658.0%
1850 397,654 87.3%
1860 749,113 88.4%
1870 1,184,059 58.1%
1880 1,636,937 38.2%
1890 2,093,890 27.9%
1900 2,420,982 15.6%
1910 2,810,173 16.1%
1920 3,668,412 30.5%
1930 4,842,325 32.0%
1940 5,256,106 8.5%
1950 6,371,766 21.2%
1960 7,823,194 22.8%
1970 8,875,083 13.4%
1980 9,262,078 4.4%
1990 9,295,297 0.4%
2000 9,938,444 6.9%
2010 9,883,640 −0.6%
2020 10,077,331 2.0%
Sources: 1910–2020

Population

The United States Census Bureau recorded the population of Michigan at 10,084,442 at the 2020 United States Census, an increase of 2.03% from 9,883,635 recorded at the 2010 United States Census.

The center of population of Michigan is in Shiawassee County, in the southeastern corner of the civil township of Bennington, which is northwest of the village of Morrice.

As of the 2010 American Community Survey for the U.S. Census, the state had a foreign-born population of 592,212, or 6.0% of the total. Michigan has the largest Dutch, Finnish, and Macedonian populations in the United States.

The 2010 Census reported:

In the same year Hispanics or Latinos (of any race) made up 4.4% of the population.

Michigan racial breakdown of population
Self-identified race 1970 1990 2000 2010 2020
White American 88.3% 83.4% 80.1% 78.9% 73.9%
Black or African American 11.2% 13.9% 14.2% 14.2% 13.7%
Asian American 0.2% 1.1% 1.8% 2.4% 3.3%
American Indian 0.2% 0.6% 0.6% 0.6% 0.6%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
Other race 0.2% 0.9% 1.3% 1.5% 2.2%
Two or more races 1.9% 2.3% 6.3%
Thirteen largest ancestries in Michigan (2016)
Ancestry Percent
German 19.5%
Irish 10.6%
English 8.5%
Polish 8.2%
American 5.6%
Italian 4.7%
Dutch 4.5%
French 4.0%
Scottish 2.2%
Arab 1.9%
French-Canadian 1.6%
Swedish 1.4%
Hungarian 1.0%

The large majority of Michigan's population is white. Americans of European descent live throughout Michigan and most of Metro Detroit. Large European American groups include those of German, British, Irish, Polish and Belgian ancestry. People of Scandinavian descent, and those of Finnish ancestry, have a notable presence in the Upper Peninsula. Western Michigan is known for the Dutch heritage of many residents (the highest concentration of any state), especially in Holland and metropolitan Grand Rapids.

African-Americans, who came to Detroit and other northern cities in the Great Migration of the early 20th century, form a majority of the population of the city of Detroit and of other cities, including Flint and Benton Harbor.

As of 2007 about 300,000 people in Southeastern Michigan trace their descent from the Middle East. Dearborn has a sizeable Arab community, with many Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac, and Lebanese who immigrated for jobs in the auto industry in the 1920s along with more recent Yemenis and Iraqis.

As of 2007, almost 8,000 Hmong people lived in the State of Michigan, about double their 1999 presence in the state. As of 2007 most lived in northeastern Detroit, but they had been increasingly moving to Pontiac and Warren. By 2015 the number of Hmong in the Detroit city limits had significantly declined. Lansing hosts a statewide Hmong New Year Festival. The Hmong community also had a prominent portrayal in the 2008 film Gran Torino, which was set in Detroit.

As of 2015, 80% of Michigan's Japanese population lived in the counties of Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne in the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas. As of April 2013, the largest Japanese national population is in Novi, with 2,666 Japanese residents, and the next largest populations are respectively in Ann Arbor, West Bloomfield Township, Farmington Hills, and Battle Creek. The state has 481 Japanese employment facilities providing 35,554 local jobs. 391 of them are in Southeast Michigan, providing 20,816 jobs, and the 90 in other regions in the state provide 14,738 jobs. The Japanese Direct Investment Survey of the Consulate-General of Japan, Detroit stated more than 2,208 additional Japanese residents were employed in the State of Michigan as of 1 October  2012 (2012 -10-01), than in 2011. During the 1990s the Japanese population of Michigan experienced an increase, and many Japanese people with children moved to particular areas for their proximity to Japanese grocery stores and high-performing schools.

A person from Michigan is called a Michigander or Michiganian; also at times, but rarely, a "Michiganite". Residents of the Upper Peninsula are sometimes referred to as "Yoopers" (a phonetic pronunciation of "U.P.ers"), and they sometimes refer to those from the Lower Peninsula as "trolls" because they live below the bridge (see Three Billy Goats Gruff).

Languages

Most common non-English languages spoken in Michigan
Language Percentage of population
(as of 2010)
Spanish 2.93%
Arabic 1.04%
German 0.44%
Chinese 0.36%
French 0.31%
Polish 0.29%
Syriac languages 0.25%
Italian 0.21%
Albanian 0.19%
Hindi 0.16%
Tagalog 0.16%
Vietnamese 0.16%
Japanese 0.16%
Korean 0.16%

As of 2010, 91.11% (8,507,947) of Michigan residents age five and older spoke only English at home, while 2.93% (273,981) spoke Spanish, 1.04% (97,559) Arabic, 0.44% (41,189) German, 0.36% (33,648) Chinese (which includes Mandarin), 0.31% (28,891) French, 0.29% (27,019) Polish, and Syriac languages (such as Modern Aramaic and Northeastern Neo-Aramaic) was spoken as a main language by 0.25% (23,420) of the population over the age of five. In total, 8.89% (830,281) of Michigan's population age five and older spoke a mother language other than English.

Religion

Sainte Anne de Detroit Catholic Church (Detroit, MI) - exterior
The Basilica of Sainte Anne de Détroit is the second-oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in the country.

The Roman Catholic Church has six dioceses and one archdiocese in Michigan; Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette, Saginaw and Detroit. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest denomination by number of adherents, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) 2010 survey, with 1,717,296 adherents. The Roman Catholic Church was the only organized religion in Michigan until the 19th century, reflecting the territory's French colonial roots. Detroit's Saint Anne's parish, established in 1701 by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, is the second-oldest Roman Catholic parish in the United States. On March 8, 1833, the Holy See formally established a diocese in the Michigan territory, which included all of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas east of the Mississippi River. When Michigan became a state in 1837, the boundary of the Diocese of Detroit was redrawn to coincide with that of the State; the other dioceses were later carved out from the Diocese of Detroit but remain part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Detroit.

In 2010, the largest Protestant denominations were the United Methodist Church with 228,521 adherents; followed by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod with 219,618, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 120,598 adherents. The Christian Reformed Church in North America had almost 100,000 members and more than 230 congregations in Michigan. The Reformed Church in America had 76,000 members and 154 congregations in the state. In the same survey, Jewish adherents in the state of Michigan were estimated at 44,382, and Muslims at 120,351. The Lutheran Church was introduced by German and Scandinavian immigrants; Lutheranism is the second largest religious denomination in the state. The first Jewish synagogue in the state was Temple Beth El, founded by twelve German Jewish families in Detroit in 1850.

In West Michigan, Dutch immigrants fled from the specter of religious persecution and famine in the Netherlands around 1850 and settled in and around what is now Holland, Michigan, establishing a "colony" on American soil that fervently held onto Calvinist doctrine that established a significant presence of Reformed churches. Islam was introduced by immigrants from the Near East during the 20th century. Michigan is home to the largest mosque in North America, the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. Battle Creek, Michigan, is also the birthplace of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which was founded on May 21, 1863.

Religious affiliation in Michigan (2014)
Affiliation % of Michigan population
Christianity 70 70
 
Protestant 51 51
 
Evangelical Protestant 25 25
 
Mainline Protestant 18 18
 
Black Protestant 8 8
 
Roman Catholic 18 18
 
Mormon 0.5 0.5
 
Jehovah's Witnesses 1 1
 
Orthodox 0.5 0.5
 
Other Christianity 1 1
 
Judaism 1 1
 
Buddhism 1 1
 
Islam 1 1
 
Hinduism 0.5 0.5
 
Other faiths 1 1
 
Unaffiliated 24 24
 
Don't know / No answer 1 1
 

Economy

See also: Economy of metropolitan Detroit, and History of Ford Motor Company
2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Detroit
Michigan is the center of the American automotive industry. Pictured is the Ford Shelby GT500 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The GT500 is manufactured in Ford's Flat Rock, Michigan, assembly plant.

Products and services include automobiles, food products, information technology, aerospace, military equipment, furniture, and mining of copper and iron ore.

Michigan is the leading auto-producing state in the US, with the industry primarily located throughout the Midwestern United States, Ontario, Canada, and the Southern United States.

Michigan is the third leading grower of Christmas trees with 60,520 acres (245 km2) of land dedicated to Christmas tree farming.

The beverage Vernors was invented in Michigan in 1866, sharing the title of oldest soft drink with Hires Root Beer.

Faygo was founded in Detroit on November 4, 1907. Two of the top four pizza chains were founded in Michigan and are headquartered there: Domino's Pizza by Tom Monaghan and Little Caesars Pizza by Mike Ilitch.

Agriculture

Michigan Cherries, 2009 July
Michigan is the leading U.S. producer of tart cherries, blueberries, pickling cucumbers, navy beans and petunias.

A wide variety of commodity crops, fruits, and vegetables are grown in Michigan, making it second only to California among U.S. states in the diversity of its agriculture.

The most valuable agricultural product is milk.

Leading crops include corn, soybeans, flowers, wheat, sugar beets and potatoes. Livestock in the state included 1 million cattle, 1 million hogs, 78,000 sheep and over 3 million chickens. Livestock products accounted for 38% of the value of agricultural products while crops accounted for the majority.

Michigan is a leading grower of fruit in the U.S., including blueberries, tart cherries, apples, grapes, and peaches. Plums, pears, and strawberries are also grown in Michigan. These fruits are mainly grown in West Michigan due to the moderating effect of Lake Michigan on the climate. There is also significant fruit production, especially cherries, but also grapes, apples, and other fruits, in Northwest Michigan along Lake Michigan.

Michigan produces wines, beers and a multitude of processed food products. Kellogg's cereal is based in Battle Creek, Michigan and processes many locally grown foods. Thornapple Valley, Ball Park Franks, Koegel Meat Company, and Hebrew National sausage companies are all based in Michigan.

Michigan is home to very fertile land in the Saginaw Valley and "Thumb" areas. Products grown there include corn, sugar beets, navy beans, and soy beans. Sugar beet harvesting usually begins the first of October. It takes the sugar factories about five months to process the 3.7 million tons of sugarbeets into 485,000 tons of pure, white sugar. Michigan's largest sugar refiner, Michigan Sugar Company is the largest east of the Mississippi River and the fourth largest in the nation.

Potatoes are grown in Northern Michigan, and corn is dominant in Central Michigan. Alfalfa, cucumbers, and asparagus are also grown.

Tourism

Holland State Park
Lake Michigan beach at Holland State Park
See also: List of National Historic Landmarks in Michigan and List of museums in Michigan

Michigan is fifty percent forest land, much of it quite remote. The forests, lakes and thousands of miles of beaches are top attractions.

Event tourism draws large numbers to occasions like the Tulip Time Festival and the National Cherry Festival.

Tourism in metropolitan Detroit draws visitors to leading attractions, especially The Henry Ford, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Zoo, and to sports in Detroit. Other museums include the Detroit Historical Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, museums in the Cranbrook Educational Community, and the Arab American National Museum.

Hunting and fishing are significant industries in the state. Charter boats are based in many Great Lakes cities to fish for salmon, trout, walleye and perch. Michigan ranks first in the nation in licensed hunters (over one million) who contribute $2 billion annually to its economy.

The state has the highest number of golf courses and registered snowmobiles in the nation.

Transportation

Canadian international crossings

Michigan entrance sign
Welcome sign

Michigan has nine international road crossings with Ontario, Canada:

A second international bridge is currently under consideration between Detroit and Windsor.

Railroads

Amtrak passenger rail services the state, connecting many southern and western Michigan cities to Chicago, Illinois. There are plans for commuter rail for Detroit and its suburbs (see SEMCOG Commuter Rail).

Airports

The Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, located in the western suburb of Romulus, was in 2010 the 16th busiest airfield in North America measured by passenger traffic. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids is the next busiest airport in the state, served by eight airlines to 23 destinations. Flint Bishop International Airport is the third largest airport in the state, served by four airlines to several primary hubs. Smaller regional and local airports are located throughout the state including on several islands. Cherry Capital Airport is located in Traverse City.

Large cities, townships, and metropolitan areas

DowntownDetroit
The Detroit skyline along the International Riverfront
Grskyline2
The Grand Rapids skyline centered on the Grand River
1 Lansing Pan
A Lansing sunset
Flint skyline2
Downtown Flint as seen from the Flint River
DownTownAA1 copy
The Ann Arbor skyline as seen from Michigan Stadium
Southfield Town Center3
Southfield Town Center skyline
The 20 largest municipalities in Michigan by 2011 Census estimates
Rank City Population Image
1 Detroit 706,585
MichiganCities
Map showing largest Michigan municipalities
2 Grand Rapids 189,815
3 Warren 134,243
4 Sterling Heights 129,880
5 Ann Arbor 114,925
6 Lansing 114,605
7 Flint 101,558
8 Dearborn 97,114
9 Clinton 96,796
10 Livonia 95,958
11 Canton 90,173
12 Westland 83,239
13 Troy 81,508
14 Farmington Hills 80,258
15 Macomb 79,850
16 Kalamazoo 74,743
17 Shelby 73,804
18 Wyoming 72,833
19 Southfield 72,201
20 Waterford 71,707
Largest metropolitan areas in Michigan
Rank Combined Statistical Area Population
1 Detroit 5,318,744
2 Grand Rapids 1,379,237
3 Lansing 534,684
4 Kalamazoo 524,030
5 Saginaw 391,569

Other economically significant cities include:

Half of the wealthiest communities in the state are located in Oakland County, just north of Detroit. Another wealthy community is located just east of the city, in Grosse Pointe. Only three of these cities are located outside of Metro Detroit. The city of Detroit itself, with a per capita income of $14,717, ranks 517th on the list of Michigan locations by per capita income. Benton Harbor is the poorest city in Michigan, with a per capita income of $8,965, while Barton Hills is the richest with a per capita income of $110,683.

State symbols and nicknames

Michigan is, by tradition, known as "The Wolverine State," and the University of Michigan takes the wolverine as its mascot. The association is well and long established: for example, many Detroiters volunteered to fight during the American Civil War and George Armstrong Custer, who led the Michigan Brigade, called them the "Wolverines". The origins of this association are obscure; it may derive from a busy trade in wolverine furs in Sault Ste. Marie in the 18th century or may recall a disparagement intended to compare early settlers in Michigan with the vicious mammal. Wolverines are, however, extremely rare in Michigan. A sighting in February 2004 near Ubly was the first confirmed sighting in Michigan in 200 years. The animal was found dead in 2010.

Turdus migratorius with worms 1
American robin

Sister regions

Education

See also: List of colleges and universities in Michigan and List of high schools in Michigan

Michigan's education system serves 1.6 million K-12 students in public schools. More than 124,000 students attend private schools and an uncounted number are homeschooled under certain legal requirements. The public school system had a $14.5 billion budget in 2008–09. From 2009 to 2019, over 200 private schools in Michigan closed, partly due to competition from charter schools.

The University of Michigan is the oldest higher-educational institution in the state, and among the oldest research universities in the nation. It was founded in 1817, 20 years before Michigan Territory achieved statehood. Michigan State University has the ninth largest campus population of any U.S. school as of fall, 2016. With an enrollment of 21,210 students, Baker College is Michigan's largest private post-secondary institution.

Finlandia University Entrance Sign Hancock Michigan 2021-2
The Finlandia University in Hancock, Houghton County, Michigan
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Cranbrook Schools, one of the leading college preparatory boarding schools in the country

The Carnegie Foundation classifies ten of the state's institutions (University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Michigan Technological University, Oakland University, Andrews University, and Baker College) as research universities.

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