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Michigan State Guide

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Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the US and it is the 10th most populous states of the 50 states. Lansing is the capital city of Michigan and  Detroit is its largest city. Michigan was made the 26th state of the United States on January 26, 1837 [1]. Michigan is also fondly known as 'The Great Lake(s) State', 'The Mitten State', 'The Wolverine State' and 'Water (Winter) Wonderland.' Geographically, Michigan is divided into two Peninsulas - The Lower and the Upper Peninsulas.

Michigan Fast Facts

  • Capital city: Lansing
  • Largest city: Detroit
  • State Gem: Isle Royal Greenstone
  • State Bird: Robin
  • State Tree: White Pine
  • State Flower: Apple Blossom
  • State Song: My Michigan
  • State Fossil: Mastodon

History of Michigan

Before the onset of the Eauropean explorers, the region of Michigan was occupied by Algonquian peoples that include Odaawaa/Odawa, Anishinaabe groups of Ojibwe and and the Boodewaadamii. The Council of Three Fires was the confederation that goverened the three nations. Beside these three groups, there were also other Algonquian tribes in Michigan, namely the Mascouten, the Miami, the Menominee, the Fox  the Sac and the Huron.

In the 17th century, French voyageurs and coureurs des bois arrived in Michigan. Etienne Brule's were the first ever Europeans to arrived and the started the first permanent settlement in 1668. In the beginning of the 18th century, Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit was established by French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac on the Detrit River. Later the town gradually evolved into a major post for fur-trading and shipping.

Michigan was partly under the rule of the Royal Province of New France from 1660 till the French rule terminate. Later Michigan and remaining New France regions on the eastern side of the Mississippi River were taken over by Great Britain based on the 1763 Treaty of Paris. In 1776 Britain withdrew from Detroit and Michilimackinac under the 1794 Jay Treaty.

In 1813, Americans recaptured Michigan after the Battle of Lake Erie. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 resulted in the growth of population in the state and it links the Great Lakes, Newa York City and the Hudson River. In 1837 Michigan was admitted into the union as a free state. From the onset of 1850s, railroads became a major platform of growth. The state was hugely swept by Republican Party wave until the 1930s.

Michigan History Timeline

  • 1621 or 1622  - Etienne Brule and his party reached Lake Superior.

  • 1653 - The Iroquois Wars happened and excavated the lower peninsula of Native Americans.

  • 1684 - Established the mission of St. Joseph in Niles

  • 1701 - Established a trading post by Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac on the Detroit River.

  • 1763: Signed Treaty of Paris bringing an end to the French colonial period in Michigan.

  • 1783 - Based upon the Treaty of Paris, the present day Michigan is to the United States, bringing an end the American Revolutionary War.

  • 1796 - Detroit and other posts in the state were returned to the US under the Jay Treaty.

  • 1805 - Created Michigan Territory and Detroit was made as the seat of government.

  • 1817 - The state's first public university - The University of Michigan was established in Detroit.

  • 1832 - Territorial Capitol constructed in Detroit.

  • 1842 - Signed Treaty of La Pointe which was Michigan's last Native American land cession

  • 1854 - The "Republican Party" held their first official meeting in Jackson.

  • 1879 - Lansing was dedicated the new State Capitol

  • 1919  - Created the State Trunkline Highway System in Michigan.

  • 1987 - Michigan acheived 150 years of statehood.

  • 2002  - The first female governor - Jennifer Granholm was elected in Michigan.

Geography of Michigan

Geographical Fast Facts of Michigan:

Total Area: 96,716 sq mi
Longitude: 82o 7' W to 90o25' W
Latitude: 41o41' N to 48o18' N
Largest city: Detroit
Highest point: Mount Arvon at 1,979 ft
Mean point: 900 ft
Lowest point: Lake Erie at 571 ft
Time Zone: Eastern Time Zone
Michigan covers a total land area of 58,110 square miles [2], thus it is the seventh largest state in the United States. Michigan is bordered from east to west by the Great Lakes, comprising of Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior; the states of Ohio and Indian on the south; to the north and east by the Canadian province of Ontario; while the western boundaries are mostly water bodies. The state has varied topography encompassing heavily forested Upper Peninsula, large water bodies, beautiful landscape of mountains. Michigan holds 78 state parks, 6 state forests and 19 state recreation areas, making it the largest state forest and state park system of any US state. Detroit is its largest city and Mount Arvon at 1,979 ft is the highest point in the state. Michigan encompasses two peninsulas nestled between 82o30' to approximately 90o30' west longitude, which are divided by the Straits of Mackinac.

Topography of Michigan

Michigan encompasses two peninsulas - the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula. The peninsulas are hemmed between east longitude, which are demarcated by the Straits of Mackinac and by adjacent islands. The state is drained by the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence watershed. Michigan has the second most territorial water, just behind Alaska. About 52% of the land area is covered by forestland in Michigan.

Great Lakes

 Michigan is bordered from east to west by the Great Lakes. It is also known as the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes. Series of interlinked freshwater lakes make up the Great Lakes, comprising of Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior, forming the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth.

Upper Peninsula

The Upper Peninsula is made up with swampy areas in the eastern part and some portion of the Great Lakes Plains. The range is a huge, heavily forested region, with the western relatively mountainous and has one of the world's oldest mountain chains - The Porcupine Mountains, rising at 2000 feet. The Huron Mountains hold the state's highest point - Mount Arvon at 1,979 feet. The inhabitants of the Upper Peninsula are called "Yoopers."

The western Upper Peninsula, referred as the Superior Upland, has a landscape in which the land has higher elevations and the terrain is more rugged. The Superior Upland stretches along Lake Superior and further continues to the Porcupine Mountains in north-west Michigan.

Lower Peninsula

The Lower Peninsula is noted for its rough mitten like shape and encompasses nearly two-thirds of the land area of the state. The region has intermittent glacial mountains and conical hills, otherwise generally level. The Briar Hill at 1705 ft is Lower Peninsula's highest point and the surface of Lake Erie is the lowest point.  The Lower Peninsula is drained by the Mississippi River by way of the Kankakee-Illinois River.

Lakes and rivers

Both the Upper and Lower Peninsula have abundant lakes, rivers and marshes. The state has the second longest shorline after Alaska. Some of the main large islands include Foc groups in Lake Michigan; the Manitou Beaver, Grande Isle and Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Whe it comes to rivers, the state has small, shallow and short rivers, among which few are navigable. The notable rivers include Thunder Bay, Au Saable, Saginaw and Cheboygan.

Michigan Forest

Image by Joseph O'Brien via Wikimedia Commons

List of state forests in Michigan

Au Sable State Forest
Address: Roscommon, MI 48653, United States
Phone: 1 989-275-5151
Management: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Copper Country State Forest
Address: Copper Country State Forest, Michigan, United States
Phone: 46.069420

Escanaba River State Forest
Address: Wilson, MI 49896, United States
Phone: 1 517-284-5900
Management: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Lake Superior State Forest
Directions: 34 miles NW of Newberry via M-123 and County Rd 407
Mackinaw State Forest
Address: Cedar River Drive,  MI 49766, United States

Pere Marquette State Forest
Located on the western side of the state.

For more information on state forests and other details, contact Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan Mountain Ranges

The two major mountain  ranges of Michigan are -
  • Huron Mountains
  • Porcupine Mountains

Climate of Michigan

Humid continental climate defines the climate of Michigan. A warmer climate prevails over the central and southern parts of the Lower Peninsula while the entire Upper Peninsula and the norther portion of the Lower Peninsula experience a more severe climate with short, warm summers and cold, long winters. Heavy lake-effect snow occurs during the winter months.

The record highest temperature was recorded at Mio and the lowest at Vanderbilt. The average precipitation in Michigan averages from 30-40 inches annually. Furthermore, an annual average of 30 days of thunderstorm activity is recorded in the state.

Demographics of Michigan

The population of Michigan as of 2015 estimation by the U.S. Census Bureau was over 9,922,576. The 2015 census reflected a hike of 0.4% since the year 2010. As of 2010, the population density of the state is 174.8 persons per square mile. Michigan's center of population is located in Shiawassee County - a region that lies in the southeastern part of Bennington [3].

Michigan population quick facts according to the Census Bureau [3]
  • Population, 2015: 9,922,576
  • Population, 2014: 9,909,877
  • Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015: 0.4%
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2014: 5.8%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2014: 22.4%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2014: 15.4%
  • Female persons, percent, 2014: 50.9%

Michigan Racial groups, 2014 [3]
  • White alone: 79.9%
  • Black or African American alone: 14.2%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 0.7%
  • Asian alone: 2.9%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone: 0.0%
  • Two or More Races: 2.3%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 4.8%
  • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 75.8%

The major religious groups in the state are –
  • Christianity: Evangelical Protestant; Mainline Protestant; Catholic; Black Protestant; Jehovah's Witnesses; Mormon; Orthodox and other Christianity.   
  • Judaism
  • Buddhism     
  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Other Faiths

Economy of Michigan

With an estimated gross state product of $417.306 billion in 2014, Michigan has been ranked the 13th out of the 50 states by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The state's products and services include food products, automobiles, information technology, furniture, military equipment, aerospace and mining of copper and iron ore. With 60,520 acres of land used for tree farming, Michigan is the 3rd leading Christmas trees grower. In high tech employment and overall Research & development expenditures, the state has been ranked third or fourth. Also, it is a significant source of engineering job options. 

Some of Michigan's Economy Fast Facts-

Income and Poverty in 2014 [4]
  • Median household income - $49,087
  • Per capita income - $26,143
  • Persons in poverty, percent - 16.2%

Business facts in 2013 in Michigan [4]
  • Total employer establishments - 217,4941
  • Total employment - 3,535,6851
  • Total annual payroll - 156,830,4881
  • Total employment, % change (2012-2013) - 1.9%
  • Total non-employer establishments - 687,136

Agriculture in Michigan

  • The top 5 agricultural products based on revenue generated include dairy products, corn for grain, soybeans, greenhouse and nursery products, and cattle and calves.

  • Michigan is ranked second in dairy products production, especially milk and cheese.

  • 24% of agricultural revenues in Michigan are generated by dairy products.

  • The other important produce of the state include cattle and calves, chicken eggs, hogs and turkeys.

  • 14% of total agricultural revenues in Michigan are generated by greenhouse and nursery products.

  • Michigan is the 2nd largest grower of Christmas trees in Michigan.

  • About 11% of agricultural revenue in the state is generated by corn for grain produces.

  • Other field crops produce of the state include are soybeans, wheat, sugar beets and hay.

  • The state is among the leading producers of blueberries, apples, and cherries. Traverse City is a noted producer of cherries.

  • Important vegetable crops grown in Michigan include asparagus, carrots, bell peppers, celery, onions, cucumbers, potatoes, snap beans, pumpkins, sweet corn and tomatoes.

Industry in Michigan

  • The most valuable manufacturing sector in Michigan is transportation equipment, including automobiles, vans, trucks, SUVs, boats, airplanes, buses.

  • Michigan's 2nd ranked sector is production of machinery.

  • Michigan is ranked third in the production of fabricated metal products - cutlery, hardware, hand tools.

  • The state is one of the leading manufacturer of athletic equipment and sporting goods.

  • The most important mined products in Michigan are natural gas, petroleum and iron ore.

  • Michigan is ranked 2nd in the production of iron ore.

  • The state holds one of the largest producer of limestone quarries in the world.

  • Michigan also is among the nation's leading producer of iron oxide pigments, gypsum,iodine, peat, magnesium, sand and gravel.

  • The Great Lakes is the hub for Michigan's fish catch.

  • The state's most important fishes include catfish, lake herring, chubs, lake trout, whitefish, salmon and yellow perch.

  • Michigan's leading service industry are business, community and personal services.

  • The state is ranked second is the wholesale - automobile parts, automobiles, groceries, machinery and retail trade sector.

  • The 3rd ranking service industry in Michigan is finance, insurance and real estate.

Tourism in Michigan

Image by San906 via Wikimedia Commons

Tourism is also a principal part of Michigan’s growing economy. The tourism website of Michigan ranks among the busiest in the United States. The state's top tourist attractions include lakes, forests and thousands of miles of beaches. Below are listed some of the major tourist attractions in Michigan-

Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: 517-355-4458

Greenfield Village
20900 Oakwood Boulevard
Dearborn, MI 48124
Phone: 313-271-1620

Michigan State Capitol Complex

Capitol Avenue at Michigan Ave
Lansing, MI 48909
Phone: 517-373-2353

Michigan State University Museum
West Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: 517-355-2370

Meridian Historical Village
5151 Marsh Road
Okemos, MI 48805-0155
Phone: 517-347-7300

Shopping on Michigan Avenue
Michigan Avenue, between Wabash and Oak Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 409-5560

Lake Shore Park
808 N Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-742-7891

Chene Park
2600 Atwater Street
Detroit, MI 48207
Phone: 313-393-0292

Transportation in Michigan

Michigan Department of Transportation maintains roads, ports, public transit systems, waterways and airways in Michigan. The department maintains and operates the highways, railways, freeways, airports in the state. MDOT implements many effective ways to enhance the road transportation. The department has innovative approach to take care of travel needs and helps to strengthened the security and proper transit of people and goods on roads.

Michigan operates 3 Amtrak services that links Chicago to other states like, Illinois, Chicago and other cities of the state. MDOT provides technical support, safety oversight of public rail system and operating assistance

Michigan Air Transportation is a offers  convenient and efficient intercity and interstate linkage. The Federal Aviation Administration overviews and manages all flight operations in Michigan. Michigan ports are playing vital role in the economy of state by providing many natural resources. Port locations are selected to optimize access to land and navigable water, for commercial demand, and for shelter from wind and waves.

Learn more about Michigan Transportation

Michigan Government

Michigan is a Republican state with three distinct branches that are as follows: the Executive branch (Governor of Michigan is a Republican state with three distinct branchesMichigan and state agencies), the Legislative branch (the House of Representatives and the Senate) and the Judicial branch (Supreme Court and lower courts). The state's chief executive is a governor who holds a term of four years after winning election. The Executive Branch consists of Attorney General of Michigan, Governor of Michigan, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, Michigan Director of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Michigan Commissioner of Insurance, Michigan Treasurer. The Legislature of Michigan first took place in 1847 in the state's capital Detroit which had 50 Representatives and 16 Senators. The Judicial Branch of Michigan consists of Appellate Court and Trial Court. The Appellate Court comprises of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. The Trial Court comprises of Circuit Court, District Court, Municipal Court and Probate Court.

Learn more about the Government of Michigan

Health Care in Michigan

Education in Michigan

The education system in Michigan offers massive services to over one million K-12 students in public schools. The state has private and public schools and also home-schooling is prevalent. Michigan encompasses several public universities and private colleges. Among any school in the United State, Michigan State University has the 8th largest campus population. The Carnegie Foundation has officially recognized 7 of the state's universities as research universities, namely -  Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Oakland University, Michigan Technological University, Western Michigan and Wayne State University.

Image by Wikimedia Commons

Top Universities in Michigan

  • University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
  • Michigan Technological University in Houghton
  • Michigan State University in East Lansing
  • Wayne State University in Detroit
  • Calvin College in Grand Rapids
  • Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo
  • Grand Valley State University in Allendale
  • Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant
  • Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti
  • Oakland University in  Rochester Hills
  •  Baker College in Allen Park
  • Ferris State University in Big Rapids
  • Northern Michigan University in Marquette
  • Andrews University in Berrien Springs
  • University of Michigan-Flint in Flint

Sports in Michigan

Michigan is home to many professional sports teams, college sports, and individual sports. NASCAR races in the state take place in the Michigan International Speedway. Aside from professional sports, collegiate sports are also quite popular in Michigan. The Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines are the state's two largest athletic programs.

The major-league sports teams in Michigan are
  • Detroit Tigers baseball team
  • Detroit Red Wings ice hockey team
  • Detroit Lions football team
  • Detroit Pistons men's basketball team

Interesting Fast Facts about Michigan

  • Detroit is called the world's car capital.

  • Michigan is the first in the country to produce peat and magnesium compounds.

  • The University of Michigan opened in 1817 was the 1st university established by any of the states.

  • Among other university of the state, Michigan State University holds the largest single campus student population.

  • Caro is the largest village in Michigan.

  • Michigan's state reptile is the painted.

  • The Detroit Zoo was America's first zoo to exhibits cageless animals.

  • Michigan is the world's lone place with a floating post office.

  • Michigan has the world's longest freshwater shoreline.

  1. Michigan statehood
  2. Michigan Land Area
  3. Michigan Demographic Facts
  4. Michigan Economy Facts
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