Michigan ( ) is a Midwestern state of the United States of America.
The name Michigan is a French adaptation of
, meaning "large water" or "large lake".
Michigan is the eighth most populous state in the United States.
It has the
longest freshwater shoreline of any political subdivision in the
world, being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair. In 2005, Michigan ranked third for the number
of registered recreational boats,
behind California and Florida.
Michigan has 64,980 inland lakes. A person in the state is never
more than six miles (10 km) from a natural water source, or
more than from a Great Lakes shoreline.
Michigan is the only state to consist entirely of two peninsulas
. The Lower Peninsula
, to which the
name Michigan was originally applied, is often dubbed "the mitten"
by residents, owing to its shape. When asked where in Michigan one
comes from, a resident of the Lower Peninsula may often point to
the corresponding part of his or her hand. The Upper
Peninsula (often referred to as The U.P.) is separated from
the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km)-wide channel that joins
Huron to Lake
Upper Peninsula is economically important for tourism and natural
Michigan was home to various Native Americans
centuries before colonization by
. When the first European explorers arrived, the most
populous and influential tribes were Algonquian peoples
, the Anishnabe
(called "Chippewa" in French, after their
language, "Ojibwe"), and the Potawatomi
The Anishnabe, whose numbers are estimated to have been between
25,000 and 35,000, were the most populous.
the Anishnabe were well-established in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
and northern Lower Peninsula, they also inhabited northern Ontario, northern
Wisconsin, southern Manitoba, and northern and north-central Minnesota.
The Ottawa lived primarily south of the
Straits of Mackinac in northern and western Michigan, while the
Potawatomi were primarily in the southwest. The three nations
co-existed peacefully as part of a loose confederation called the
Council of Three Fires
First Nations people in Michigan, in the south and east, were the
, the Menominee
, the Miami
and the Wyandot
, who are better known by
their French name, "Huron".
and settled in Michigan in the 17th century. The first Europeans to
reach what later became Michigan were those of Étienne Brûlé
's expedition in
first permanent European settlement was made in 1668 on the site
where Father (Père, in French) Jacques Marquette established Sault
Ignace was founded in 1671 and Marquette in 1675.
Together with Sault Sainte-Marie,
they are the three oldest cities in Michigan. "The Soo" (Sault Ste.
Marie) has the distinction of being the oldest city in both
Michigan and Ontario. It was split into two cities in 1818, a year
after the U.S.-Canada boundary in the Great Lakes was finally
established by the U.S.-U.K. Joint Border Commission.
In 1679, Lord La
of France directed the construction of the Griffin
, the first European sailing vessel
on the upper Great Lakes. That same year, La Salle built Fort
Miami at present-day St. Joseph.
In 1701 French explorer and army officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac
founded Le Fort
Ponchartrain du Détroit
or "Fort Ponchartrain on-the-Strait" on
the strait between Lakes St. Clair and Erie, known as the Detroit River
. Cadillac had convinced King Louis XIV's chief minister,
Comte de Pontchartrain, that a permanent community there would
strengthen French control over the upper Great Lakes and repel
The hundred soldiers and workers who accompanied Cadillac built a
fort enclosing one arpent
.85 acre, the equivalent of just under per side) and named it
wife, Marie Thérèse
moved to Detroit, becoming one of the first white women to settle
in the Michigan wilderness. The town quickly became a major
and shipping post. The "Église
de Saint-Anne" (Church of Saint Ann) was founded the same year.
While the original building does not survive, the congregation of
that name continues to be active today.
same time, the French strengthened Fort Michilimackinac at the Straits of Mackinac to better control their
lucrative fur-trading empire. By the mid-eighteenth
century, the French also occupied forts at present-day Niles and Sault
Marie, though most of the rest of the region remained
unsettled by Europeans.
From 1660 to the end of French rule, Michigan was part of the Royal
Province of New France
. In 1759, following
the Battle of the Plains of
Abraham, in the French and
Indian War (1754–1763), Québec City fell to British
Under the 1763 Treaty of Paris
, Michigan and the
rest of New France passed to Great Britain.
During the American
, Detroit was an important British supply
center, but most of the inhabitants were either Native Americans or
French-Canadians. Because of imprecise cartography and unclear
language defining the boundaries in the 1763 Treaty of Paris, the
British retained control of Detroit and Michigan. When Quebec was
split into Lower and Upper Canada in 1790, Michigan was part of
, Upper Canada.
its first democratic elections in August 1792 to send delegates to
the new provincial parliament at Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake).
Under terms negotiated in the 1794 Jay
, Britain withdrew from Detroit and Michilimackinac in
1796. Questions remained over the boundary for
many years, and the United States did not have uncontested control
of the Upper Peninsula and Drummond Island until 1818 and 1847, respectively.
During the War of 1812
, Michigan Territory
consisting of Detroit and the surrounding area) was captured by the
British and nominally returned to Upper Canada. American forces
forced the British out in 1813 and pushed into Canada.
The Treaty of Ghent
policy of "Status Quo Ante Bellum" or "Just as Things Were Before
the War." That meant Michigan stayed American, and the agreement to
establish a joint US-UK boundary commission also remained valid.
Subsequent to the findings of that commission in 1817, control of
the Upper Peninsula and of islands in the St. Clair River delta was
transferred from Ontario to Michigan in 1818. Mackinac Island (to
which the British had moved their Michilimackinac army base) was
transferred to the U.S. in 1847.
The population grew slowly until the opening of the Erie Canal
in 1825. This brought a large influx
of settlers to Michigan because it made transportation by ships
through the Great Lakes possible. By the 1830s, Michigan had 80,000
residents, which were more than enough to apply for
In 1836 a
state government was formed, although Congressional recognition of the
state was delayed pending resolution of a boundary dispute with
Ohio. Both states claimed a 468-square-mile
(1,210 km2) strip of land that included the newly
incorporated city of Toledo on Lake Erie
and an area to the west then known as the "Great Black Swamp."
came to be called the Toledo War
Michigan and Ohio militia maneuvered in the area but never
exchanged fire. Congress awarded the "Toledo Strip" to
Michigan received the western part of the
Upper Peninsula as a concession and formally entered the Union on
January 26, 1837.
Thought to be nearly valueless, the Upper Peninsula was discovered
to be a rich and important source of lumber, iron, and copper.
These became the state's most sought-after natural resources and
generated early wealth. Geologist Douglass Houghton
and land surveyor
William Austin Burt
the first to document many of these resources. Developers rushed to
the state. Michigan led the nation in lumber production from 1850s
to the 1880s. The lumber harvested in Michigan was shipped
to the rapidly developing prairie states, Chicago, to the eastern
states, and even all of the way to Europe.
official meeting of the Republican Party took place
July 6, 1854 in Jackson,
Michigan, where the party adopted its platform.
Michigan made a
to the Union
in the American Civil War
and sent more than
forty regiments of volunteers to the Federal armies.
20th century to present
Michigan's economy underwent a massive change at the turn of the
20th century. The birth of the automotive industry,
with Henry Ford's first plant in Highland
Park, marked the beginning of a new era in
Like the steamship and railroad, it was a
far-reaching development. More than the forms of public
transportation, the automobile transformed private life.
the major industry of Detroit and Michigan, and permanently altered the
socio-economic life of the United States and much of the
world. Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in Michigan, is also a
center of automotive manufacturing.
Since 1838, the city had
also been noted for its thriving furniture industry. Started
because of ready sources of lumber, the furniture industry declined
in the late 20th century.
Michigan held its first United States presidential
election in 1910, and in 1920 Detroit's WWJ became the
first radio station in the United States to regularly broadcast
commercial programs. Throughout that decade some of the country's
largest and most ornate skyscrapers
in the city. Particularly noteworthy are the Fisher
Place, and the Guardian Building which are National Historic Landmarks.
Detroit boomed through the 1950s, at one point doubling its
population in a decade. After the 1950s, Detroit's population began
to shift to its suburbs, accelerating after racial strife in the
1960s and high crime rates in the 1970s and 1980s.
Michigan is the leading auto producing state in the U.S. even
though some of the industry has shifted to less expensive labor
overseas and in the Southern
. With more than ten million residents, Michigan
remains a large and influential state, ranking eighth in population
among the fifty states.
The Metro Detroit
area in the
southeast corner of the state is the largest metropolitan area in
Michigan (roughly 50% of the population resides there) and one of
the ten largest metropolitan areas in the country. The Grand
Rapids/Holland/Muskegon metropolitan area on the west side of the state is
the fastest growing metro area in the state presently, with over
1.3 million residents as of 2006.
Metro Detroit's population is growing, and Detroit's population is
still shrinking, though strong redevelopment in central part of the
cities and a significant rise in population in the outskirts of the
city are contributing to some population inflow. A period of
economic transition, especially in manufacturing, has caused
economic difficulties in the region since the recession of 2001
Michigan is governed as a republic
three branches of government
the executive branch
the Governor of Michigan
the other independently elected constitutional officers; the
the House of
the judicial branch
the one court of justice
state also allows direct participation of the electorate by
, and ratification
. Lansing is the state capital and is
home to all three branches of state government.
The Governor of Michigan
the other state constitutional officers serve four-year terms and
may be re-elected only once. The current Governor
is Jennifer Granholm
. Michigan has two
official Governor's Residences; one is in Lansing, and the other is at Mackinac
The Michigan Legislature
consists of a 38-member Senate
. Senators serve four-year terms and
Representatives two. The Michigan State Capitol was dedicated in 1879 and has hosted the state's
executive and legislative branches ever since.
Michigan Court System consists
of two courts with primary jurisdiction (the Circuit Courts and the
District Courts), one intermediate level appellate court (the
Michigan Court of
Appeals), and the Michigan Supreme Court.
There are several administrative courts and
specialized courts. The Michigan
provides for voter initiative and referendum
(Article II, § 9, defined as "the power to propose laws and to
enact and reject laws, called the initiative, and the power to
approve or reject laws enacted by the legislature, called the
referendum. The power of initiative extends only to laws which the
legislature may enact under this constitution").
Michigan was the first state in the Union, as well as the first
English-speaking government in the world, to abolish the death penalty
in 1846. David Chardavoyne
suggested that the abolitionist
movement in Michigan grew as a result of enmity towards the state's
neighbor, Canada, which under British rule made public executions a
Voters in the state elect candidates from both major parties.
Economic issues are important in Michigan elections. The three term
Republican Governor John Engler
(1991-2003) preceded the current Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm
. The state has
re-elected its current Republican Attorney General Mike Cox
since 2003. Michigan supported the
election of Republican Presidents Ronald
and George H.W. Bush
. However, the state has supported
Democrats in the last five presidential election cycles. In 2008,
carried the state over
, winning Michigan's
seventeen electoral votes with 57% of the vote. Democrats have won
each of the last three, nine of the last ten, and fifteen of the
last eighteen U.S. Senate
elections in Michigan with
confidence on national economic issues posing a challenge.
Republican strength is greatest in the western, northern, and rural
parts of the state, especially in the Grand Rapids area.
Republicans also do well in suburban Detroit which tends to be an
important factor in deciding statewide elections. Democrats are
strongest in the east, especially in the cities of Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint, and
Historically, the first formal meeting of
Party took place in Jackson, Michigan on July 6, 1854 and the party thereafter dominated
Michigan until the Great
In the 1912 election
Michigan was one of the six states to support progressive
Republican and third party candidate Theodore Roosevelt
for President after he
lost the Republican nomination to William Howard Taft
Michigan remained fairly reliably Republican at the presidential
level for much of the twentieth century. The state was one of only
a handful to back Wendell Willkie
over Franklin Roosevelt
supported Thomas E. Dewey
in his losing bid against Harry Truman
went to the Democrats in presidential elections during the 1960s,
and voted for Republican Richard Nixon
Michigan was the home of Gerald Ford
the 38th President of the
. He was born in Nebraska and moved as an infant
to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and grew up there. The Gerald
R. Ford Museum is located in Grand Rapids.
State government is decentralized among three tiers — statewide,
county and township. Counties are administrative divisions of the
state, and townships are administrative divisions of a county. Both
of them exercise state government authority, localized to meet the
particular needs of their jurisdictions, as provided by state law.
There are 83 counties in
Cities, state universities
and villages are vested with home rule
powers of varying degrees. Home rule cities can generally do
anything that is not prohibited by law. The fifteen state
universities have broad power and can do anything within the
parameters of their status as educational institutions that is not
prohibited by the state constitution. Villages, by contrast, have
limited home rule and are not completely autonomous from the county
and township in which they are located.
There are two types of township
Michigan: general law
township and charter
status was created
by the Legislature in 1947 and grants additional powers and
stream-lined administration in order to provide greater protection
against annexation by a city. As of April 2001, there were 127
charter townships in Michigan. In general, charter townships have
many of the same powers as a city but without the same level of
obligations. For example, a charter township can have its own fire
department, water and sewer department, police department, and so
on—just like a city—but it is not required
to have those
things, whereas cities must
provide those services.
Charter townships can opt to use county-wide services instead, such
as deputies from the county sheriff's office instead of a
home-based force of ordinance officers.
Michigan map, including territorial waters.
The Pointe Mouillee State Game
Michigan consists of two peninsulas that lie between 82°30' to
about 90°30' west longitude, and are separated by the Straits of
Mackinac. 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
Lakes-St. Lawrence watershed and is the only state with the majority
of its land thus drained.
Lakes that border Michigan from east to west are Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.
It has more 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, from south to north, with
Illinois and Wisconsin in Lake Michigan; then a land boundary with
Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, that is principally demarcated
by the Menominee
and Montreal Rivers
; then water boundaries again,
in Lake Superior, with Wisconsin and Minnesota to the west, capped
around by the Canadian province of Ontario to the north and
The heavily forested Upper Peninsula is relatively mountainous in
the west. The Porcupine
, 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 surface on either side of this range is
rugged. The state's highest point, in the Huron Mountains northwest of Marquette, is
Arvon at .
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
Canadian immigrants who settled the area during the lumbering and
mining boom of the late nineteenth century.
The Lower Peninsula, shaped like a mitten, is long from north to
south and from east to west and occupies nearly two-thirds of the
state's land area. The surface of the peninsula is generally level,
broken by conical hills and glacial moraines
usually not more than a few hundred feet tall. It is divided by a
low water divide running north and south. The larger portion of the
state is on the west of this and gradually slopes toward Lake
Michigan. The highest point in the Lower Peninsula is
either Briar Hill at , or one of several points nearby in the
vicinity of Cadillac.
The lowest point is the surface of Lake
Erie at .
The geographic orientation of Michigan's peninsulas makes for a
long distance between the ends of the state. Ironwood, in the far western Upper Peninsula, lies 630
highway miles (1,015 km) from Lambertville in the Lower Peninsula's southeastern
The geographic isolation of the Upper Peninsula from
Michigan's political and population centers makes the U.P.
culturally and economically distinct. Occasionally U.P. residents
have called for secession
and establishment as a new state to be called "Superior
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. Other peninsulas of Michigan include the
, making up the
region of the state.
Peninsula lies in the Northern
Lower Michigan region. See Also Michigan
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.
Alaska, Michigan has the longest shoreline of any state— . An
additional can be added if islands are included. This roughly
equals the length of the Atlantic Coast from Maine to
has numerous large islands, the
principal ones being the 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
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
The state's rivers
generally small, short and shallow, and few are navigable.
principal ones include the Detroit
River, St. Marys River, and St. Clair River which connect the Great Lakes; the Au Sable, Cheboygan, and Saginaw, which flow into Lake Huron; the
Ontonagon, and Tahquamenon, which flow into Lake
Superior; and the St.
Joseph, Kalamazoo, Grand, Muskegon, Manistee, and Escanaba, which flow into Lake Michigan.
has 11,037 inland lakes and of Great Lakes waters and rivers in
addition to of inland water. No point in Michigan is more than six
miles (10 km) from an inland lake or more than from one of the
Adjacent States & Provinces
is home to one national park: Isle Royale
National Park, located in Lake Superior, about southeast of
Thunder Bay, Ontario. Other national protected areas in the state include:
Historical Park, Pictured Rocks National
Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National
Lakeshore, Huron National
Forest, Manistee National
Forest, Hiawatha National
Forest, Ottawa National
Forest and Father Marquette National
The largest section of the North Country National
also passes through Michigan.
With 78 state parks
, 19 state recreation
areas, and 6 state forests
has the largest state park and state
system of any state. These parks and forests include Holland
State Park, Mackinac Island State Park, Au Sable
State Forest, and Mackinaw
Michigan USDA Plant Hardiness Zone
Michigan has a humid
, although there are two distinct regions.
southern and central parts of the Lower Peninsula (south of
Bay and from the Grand Rapids area southward) have a
warmer climate (Koppen
climate classification Dfa) with hot summers and cold
The northern part of Lower Peninsula and the entire
Upper Peninsula has a more severe climate (Koppen Dfb
with warm, but shorter summers and longer, cold to very cold
winters. Some parts of the state average high temperatures below
freezing from December through February, and into early March in
the far northern parts. During the winter through the middle of
February the state is frequently subjected to heavy lake-effect snow
. The state averages from
of precipitation annually.
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
year, which are more common in the extreme southern portion of the
state. Portions of the southern border have been nearly as
vulnerable historically as parts of Tornado Alley
. Farther north, in the Upper
Peninsula, tornadoes are rare.
Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Michigan Cities in
The geological formation of the state is greatly varied. Primary
boulders are found over the entire surface of the Upper Peninsula
(being principally of primitive origin), while Secondary deposits
cover the entire Lower Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula exhibits
copper and iron bearing rocks, corresponding to the Huronian system
of Canada. The central portion of the Lower Peninsula contains coal
measures and rocks of the Permo-Carboniferous
and sub-Carboniferous deposits are
scattered over the entire state.
Map showing ancestry.
As of the July 1, 2008 population estimate, Michigan has an
estimated population of 10,003,422, an increase of 64,930, or 0.7%,
since the year 2000. As of 2000, the state had the 8th largest
population in the Union.
center of population of
Michigan is located in Shiawassee County, in the southeastern corner of the civil township of Bennington, which is located directly north of the village
As of 2005-2007 three-year estimate, the state had a foreign-born
population of 610,173, or 6% of the total population. In recent
years, the foreign-born population in the state has grown. Michigan
has the largest Dutch-American, Finnish-American and
Macedonian-American populations in the United States.As of 2008 the
population of Caucasians made up 79.6% of the population, Black or
African American at 14.2%, Hispanic or Latino at 4.1%, American
Native at 0.6%, Asian at 2.4%, Hawaiian or other is less than
The five largest reported ancestries in Michigan are: German
(20.4%), African American
(9.9%), and Polish
Michigan has a large white
(79.6%). Americans of European descent including German
, and British
ancestry live throughout most of
Michigan and Metro Detroit. People of Nordic
) and Cornish
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 metropolitan Grand
Rapids. Metro Detroit also has residents of Polish and Irish
Dearborn has become the center of a large Arab-American community, now mostly Lebanese,
who immigrated for jobs in the auto industry in the 1920s.
About 300,000 people trace their roots to the Middle East
. 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 industrial cities, including Flint and
An individual 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 Upper Peninsula residents sometimes refer to those
from the lower as "trolls" (they live below
The Roman Catholic Church was the only organized religion in
Michigan until the 19th century. Detroit's St.
Anne's parish, established in 1701, is the second-oldest
Catholic parish in the country.
The original French-Roman
Catholics, reduced to a small minority by the influx of American
Protestants, were soon reinforced by the arrival of Catholic
immigrants from Ireland, and, later, from eastern and southern
Europe. The Lutheran religion was introduced by German and
Scandinavian immigrants; Lutheranism is second largest religious
denomination in the state. The first Jewish synagogue in the state
was Temple Beth El, founded by twelve Jewish families in Detroit in
1850. Islam was introduced by immigrants from the Near East during
the 20th century.
The largest denomination
number of adherents according to a survey in the year 2000 was the
Roman Catholic Church
2,019,926 parishioners. The largest Protestant denominations were
with 244,231 adherents, followed by the
United Methodist Church
222,269 and the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America
with 160,836 adherents. In the same survey,
Jewish adherents in the state of Michigan were estimated at
110,000, and Muslims at 80,515.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated Michigan's 2004 gross
state product at $372 billion. Per capita personal income in
2003 was $31,178 and ranked twentieth in the nation. In May 2009,
Michigan's unemployment rate rose to 14.1%, the highest in the
nation during the recession
Some of the major industries/products/services include automobiles,
cereal products, pizza, information technology, aerospace, military
equipment, copper, iron, and furniture. Michigan is the third
leading grower of Christmas trees
with of land dedicated to Christmas tree farming. The beverage
was invented in Michigan in 1866,
sharing the title of oldest soft drink with Hires Root Beer
was founded in Detroit on November 4, 1907. Two of the top four
pizza chains were founded in Michigan and are still headquartered
there: Domino's Pizza
by Tom Monaghan
and Little Caesars
Pizza by Mike Ilitch
Michigan has experienced economic difficulties brought on by
volatile stock market disruptions following the September 11, 2001 attacks
caused a pension and benefit fund crisis for many American
companies, including General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. Since the
early 2000s recession
September 11, 2001
, GM, Ford, and Chrysler have struggled to overcome the
benefit funds crisis which followed an ensuing volatile stock
market which had caused a severe underfunding condition in the
respective U.S. pension and benefit funds (OPEB
). Although manufacturing in the state grew 6.6%
from 2001 to 2006, the high speculative price of oil became a
factor for the U.S. auto industry during the economic crisis of 2008
industry revenues. During this economic crisis
, President George W. Bush
extended loans from the Troubled Assets Relief
(TARP) funds in order to help the GM and Chrysler
bridge the recession. In January 2009, President Barack Obama
formed an automotive task force in
order to help the industry recover and achieve renewed prosperity
for the region. With retiree health care costs a significant issue,
General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler reached agreements with the
United Auto Workers
transfer the liabilities for their respective health care and
benefit funds to a 501(c)(9) Voluntary Employee
(VEBA). In spite of these efforts, the
severity of the recession required Detroit's automakers to take
additional steps to restructure, including idling many plants. With
the U.S. Treasury extending the necessary debtor in possession
Chrysler and GM filled separate 'pre-packaged' Chapter 11
restructurings in May and June 2009
Michigan ranks fourth nationally in high tech employment with
568,000 high tech workers, which includes 70,000 in the automotive
industry. Michigan typically ranks third or fourth in
overall Research &
development (R&D) expenditures in the United States.
Its research and development, which
includes automotive, comprises a higher percentage of the state's
overall gross domestic
than for any other U.S. state. The state is an
important source of engineering
opportunities. The domestic auto industry accounts directly and
indirectly for one of every ten jobs in the U.S. Michigan ranked
second nationally in new corporate facilities and expansions in
2004. From 1997 to 2004, Michigan was listed as the only state to
top the 10,000 mark for the number of major new developments;
however, the effects of the late
have slowed the state's economy. In 2008,
Michigan ranked third in a survey among the states for luring new
business which measured capital investment and new job creation per
one million population. In August 2009, Michigan and Detroit's auto
industry received $1.36 B in grants from the U.S. Department of
Energy for the manufacture of electric vehicle technologies which
is expected to generate 6,800 immediate jobs and employ 40,000 in
the state by 2020.
As leading research institutions, the University of Michigan,
Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, and Wayne
State University are important partners in the state's economy.
Michigan's workforce is well-educated and highly skilled, making it
attractive to companies. Michigan's infrastructure gives it a
competitive edge; Michigan has 38 deep
. In 2007, Bank of America announced that it
would commit $25 billion to community development in Michigan
following its acquisition of LaSalle Bank in Troy.
Metropolitan Airport is one of the nation's most recently expanded and
modernized airports with six major runways, and large aircraft
maintenance facilities capable of servicing and repairing a
Michigan's schools and
colleges rank among the nation's best. The state has maintained its
early commitment to public education.
Michigan's personal income tax
is set to
a flat rate of 4.35%. Some cities impose additional income taxes.
Michigan's state sales tax
is six percent.
are assessed on the
local, not state, level. In 2007, Michigan repealed its Single
Business Tax (SBT) and replaced it with a Michigan Business Tax
(MBT) in order to stimulate job growth by reducing taxes for
seventy percent of the businesses in the state. According to the
Bureau of Economic Analysis, recent growth in Michigan is
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. Michigan is a leading grower
of fruit, including blueberries, cherries, apples, grapes, and
peaches. These fruits are mainly grown in West Michigan
. Michigan produces wines
, beers and a multitude of processed food
cereal is based out of
Battle Creek, Michigan and processes many locally grown foods.
, Ballpark Franks
, and Hebrew
sausage companies are all based in Michigan.
Michigan is home to very fertile land in the Flint/Tri-Cities
and "Thumb" areas.
Products grown there are 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 970 million pounds 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. Michigan Sugar brand names are Pioneer Sugar
and the newly incorporated Big Chief Sugar. Potatoes are grown in
, and corn is
dominant in Central Michigan
Michigan State University is dedicated to the study of
Michigan has a thriving tourist industry. Visitors spend
$17.5 billion per year in the state, supporting 193,000
tourism jobs. Michigan's tourism website ranks among the busiest in
the nation. Destinations draw vacationers, hunters, and
nature enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada.
Michigan is fifty percent forest
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
and the National
In 2006, the Michigan State Board of Education mandated that all
public schools in the state hold their first day of school after
the Labor Day
holiday, in accordance with
the new Post Labor Day School law. A survey found that 70% of all
tourism business comes directly from Michigan residents, and the
Michigan Hotel, Motel, & Resort Association claimed that the
shorter summer in between school years cut into the annual tourism
season in the state.
Tourism in metropolitan
Detroit draws visitors to leading attractions, particularly
Ford, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and 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. The metro area offers four major casinos,
City, and Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada; moreover, Detroit is
the largest American city and metropolitan region to offer casino
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. Over three-quarters of a
million hunters participate in white-tailed deer
season alone. Many
school districts in rural areas of Michigan cancel school on the
opening day of firearm deer season, because of attendance
Michigan's Department of Natural Resources manages the largest
dedicated state forest system in the nation. The forest products
industry and recreational users contribute $12 billion and
200,000 associated jobs annually to the state's economy. Public
hiking and hunting access has also been secured in extensive
commercial forests. The state has highest number of golf courses
and registered snowmobiles
The state has numerous historical
, which can themselves become the center of a tour. The
Great Lakes Circle Tour
designated scenic road system connecting all of the Great Lakes and
the St. Lawrence River.
With its position in relation to the Great Lakes and the countless
ships that have foundered over the many years in which they have
been used as a transport route for people and bulk cargo, Michigan
is a world-class scuba diving destination. The Michigan Underwater Preserves
are 11 underwater areas where wrecks are protected for the benefit
of sport divers.
has nine international crossings with Ontario, Canada:
- Ambassador Bridge, North America's busiest international border
crossing the Detroit River (the only
place in the contiguous United
States where one can go due south to Canada).
- Blue Water Bridge, a twin-span bridge (Port Huron,
Michigan and Point Edward, Ontario, but the larger city of Sarnia, Ontario is usually referred to on the Canadian
Water Ferry (Marine City, Michigan and Sombra, Ontario)
- Canadian Pacific Railway tunnel.
- Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry
Michigan and Windsor, Ontario)
- Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.
- International Bridge
Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario)
Clair River Railway Tunnel (Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario)
- Walpole Island Ferry (Algonac, Michigan and Walpole Island First Nation, Ontario
second international bridge is currently under development between
Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.
Michigan is served by four Class I
railroads: the Canadian
, the Canadian Pacific Railway
, CSX Transportation
, and the Norfolk Southern Railway
. These are
augmented by several dozen short
. The vast majority of rail service in Michigan
is devoted to freight
, with Amtrak and
various scenic railroads the exceptions.
passenger rail services the state,
connecting many southern and western Michigan cities to Chicago,
Illinois. There are plans for commuter
for Detroit and its suburbs
SEMCOG Commuter Rail
Interstate 75 is the main thoroughfare between
Detroit, Flint, and
Saginaw extending north to Sault
Sainte Marie and providing access to Sault
Sainte Marie, Ontario.
The expressway crosses the Mackinac Bridge
between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. Branching highways
include I-275 and I-375 in Detroit; I-475 in
Interstate 69 enters the state near the
Michigan-Ohio-Indiana border, and it extends to Port
Huron and provides access to the Blue Water
Bridge crossing into Sarnia, Ontario.
enters the western end
of the state at the Indiana border, and it travels east to Detroit
and then northeast to Port Huron and ties in with I-69.
I-194 branches off from this
freeway in Battle
Creek. I-94 is the
main artery between Chicago, Illinois and Detroit.
Interstate 96 runs east-west between Detroit
and Muskegon. I-496 loops
through Lansing. I-196 branches off from this
freeway at Grand
Rapids and connects to I-94 near Benton
Harbor. I-696 branches off from this
freeway at Novi and
connects to I-94 near St Clair Shores.
U.S. Route 2
enters Michigan at the city of Ironwood and runs east to the town of Crystal
Falls, where it turns south and briefly re-enters
Wisconsin northwest of Florence. It re-enters Michigan north of Iron
Mountain and continues through the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan to the cities of Escanaba, Manistique, and St. Ignace. Along the way, it cuts through the Ottawa
and Hiawatha National Forests and follows the northern shore of
eastern terminus lies at exit 344 of I-75, just north of the
This is generally regarded as the main
route through the Upper Peninsula, although some prefer to travel
as it tends to save
time (U.S. 2 hugs the Lake Michigan shoreline for much of its
bridges include the Ambassador Bridge, Blue Water Bridge, Mackinac
Bridge, and International
Bridge. Michigan also has the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel crossing into Canada.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County
Airport is by far Michigan's busiest airport, followed by
the Gerald R. Ford
International Airport in Grand Rapids.
Important cities and townships
A Lansing sunset.
The largest municipalities in Michigan are (according to 2007
Map showing largest Michigan
Other important cities include:
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
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
Colleges and universities
Community colleges and technical schools
Professional sports teams
Michigan's major-league sports teams include:Detroit Tigers baseball
team,Detroit Red Wings ice hockey
team, andGrand Rapids Rampage Arena Football League
Shock currently play at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons played at Detroit's Cobo Arena until 1978 and at the Pontiac Silverdome until 1988 when they moved into the Palace
of Auburn Hills. The Detroit Lions played at Tiger
Stadium in Detroit until 1974, then moved to the Pontiac
Silverdome where they played for 27 years between
1975-2002 before moving to Ford Field in 2002.The Detroit Tigers Played at Tiger
Stadium (formerly known as Navin Field and Briggs Stadium)
It hosted the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball team from 1912
to 1999,In 2000 they moved to Comerica Park. The Red Wings played at Olympia
Stadium before moving to Joe Louis Arena in 1979. The Rampage play at the Van
Andel Arena in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids'
Ten-time Grand Slam champion Serena
was born in Saginaw. Professional hockey got its start in
Houghton, when the Portage Lakers were formed.
Other notable sports teams include:
Former professional teams
||Moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and became the Minneapolis Lakers, would move again to
Angeles, California and are now the Los
||World Football League
||Moved to Charlotte, North Carolina for one game, then disbanded in the middle of the
Association of America
League, 2nd Negro
National League, Negro
||The team ceased operations in 1960
||Moved to Baltimore, Maryland and became the Baltimore Blades for the rest of the team's
||Disbanded when IHL became AHL
||Arena Football League
||Franchise terminated September 20, 2004
||Disbanded after 2005-2006 season
||Moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
State symbols and nicknames
- State nicknames: Wolverine
State, Great Lakes State, Mitten State,
- State motto:
peninsulam amoenam circumspice (Latin: If you seek a
pleasant peninsula, look about you) adopted in 1835 on the
coat-of-arms, but never as an official 'motto'. This is a paraphrase
of the epitaph of British architect Sir
Christopher Wren about his
- State song: My Michigan (official since 1937, but
disputed amongst residents), Michigan, My Michigan (Unofficial
State Song, since the civil war)
- State bird: American Robin (since 1931)
- State animal:
- State game animal: White-tailed
deer (since 1997)
- State fish: Brook trout (since 1965)
- State reptile:
Painted Turtle (since 1995)
- State fossil: Mastodon (since 2000)
- State flower:
Apple blossom (adopted in 1897, official in
- State wildflower: Dwarf Lake
Iris (since 1998). Known as Iris lacustris, it is a
federally listed threatened species.
- State tree: White pine (since 1955)
stone: Petoskey stone (since
1965). It is composed of fossilized coral
(Hexagonaria pericarnata) from long ago when the middle of
the continent was covered with a shallow sea.
gem: Isle Royale greenstone
(since 1973). Also called chlorastrolite
(literally "green star stone"), the mineral is found on Isle Royale and the Keweenaw
- State soil: Kalkaska Sand (since 1990), ranges in color
from black to yellowish brown, covers nearly a million acres
(400,000 ha) in 29 counties.
- Bald, F. Clever, Michigan in Four Centuries
- Browne, William P. and - Kenneth VerBurg. Michigan Politics
& Government: Facing Change in a Complex State University
of Nebraska Press. 1995.
- Bureau of Business Research, Wayne State U. Michigan
Statistical Abstract (1987).
- Cappel, Constance, editor, "Odawa Language and Legends: Andrew
J. Blackbird and Raymond Kiogima," Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris,
- Cappel, Constance, "The Smallpox Genocide of the Odawa Tribe at
L'Arbre Croche, 1763: The History of a Native American People,"
Lewiston,NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2007.
Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliographies for
Michigan by region, counties, etc..
- Michigan, State of. Michigan Manual (annual),
elaborate detail on state government.
- Michigan Historical Review Central Michigan University
- Press, Charles et al., Michigan Political Atlas
- Public Sector Consultants. Michigan in Brief. An
Issues Handbook (annual)
- Rubenstein, Bruce A. and Lawrence E. Ziewacz. Michigan: A
History of the Great Lakes State. (2002)
- Sisson, Richard, Ed. The American Midwest: An Interpretive
- Weeks, George, Stewards of the State: The Governors of
Michigan (Historical Society of Michigan, 1987).
- Wilbur Rich. Coleman Young and Detroit Politics: From
Social Activist to Power Broker (Wayne State University Press,
- Willis F. Dunbar and George S. May. Michigan: A History of
the Wolverine State (1995)
- Bold Faced States/Provinces bound Michigan
completely over water.
- Bold Italicized States bound Michigan
partially over water.
- None of Michigan's neighbors border them completely over land.
Indiana and Ohio have small
portions of border that is over one of the Great Lakes, Lake
- Wisconsin's border with Michigan is mainly over water except
for most of their border with the Upper
Peninsula, which is over land and to the