Michigan Geography, Population, Business and History

Michigan, abbreviated MI and Mich., Is a state of the United States bordering Canada (Ontario) in the north and east, encompassing the peninsula between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan (Upper Peninsula) and the peninsula between Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Eries (Lower Peninsula).

The state has an area of ​​250,466 km2 with 9,962,311 residents (US Census, 2017). The capital is Lansing.

Michigan is also known as The Wolverine State, the “Wolf State.”

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The Upper Peninsula belongs to the hilly, mineral-rich Superior Highlands. Highest points are Mount Arvon (603.2 meters) and Mount Curwood (602.9 meters). The Lower Peninsula, which belongs to the “Central Lowland”, is fairly flat. The soil consists mostly of glacial deposits, with clay soil furthest to the south.

The inland climate is moderated by the Great Lakes. Detroit in the southeast has −4 °C average temperature in January and 22 °C in July; Sault Sainte Marie furthest northwest –11 °C and 17 °C respectively. The rainfall is about 800 mm.


The colonization of Michigan lasted around 1840 and lasted until the 1930s, with large groups of immigrants from Italy and Poland, among others. The western part of the Lower Peninsula also received a significant number of Dutch immigrants, while many finds settled in the Upper Peninsula.

In the 1940s, 1950s and partly also in the 1960s, the Detroit auto industry attracted many foreigners from other parts of the United States, especially blacks from the Southern States. However, from 1980 to 1986, the population dropped by 117,000, primarily due to the crisis in the automotive industry and relocation to the rest of the United States. From the latter part of the 1980s the population showed a slight increase. In the period 1990–2000 the population increased by 6.9 per cent (against the national average of 13.1 per cent).

79.4 percent are considered white and 14.1 percent black (1910: 0.6 percent) (US Census, 2017). About 75 percent of the population lives in cities or urban areas. Major cities are Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint and the capital Lansing.

Michigan sends two senators and 14 representatives to Congress in Washington DC.


The industry forms the backbone of the state’s economy. Michigan still has the bulk of the United States automotive industry, and the three largest automakers in the United States – General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – all have headquarters in the Detroit area. Other industries include major iron and steel plants in the Detroit region, wood products (Grand Rapids), metallurgical industries (Upper Peninsula) and chemical and petrochemicals (Detroit, Bay City). In the Upper Peninsula there are rich deposits of copper and iron ore, and the mining industry is a leading industry here.

Agriculture is of particular importance to the Lower Peninsula. The main products are maize, oats, wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, soybeans and fodder crops. In the southwest, along Lake Michigan, a lot of fruit is grown. Large animal husbandry (dairy cows, chickens and turkeys).

There are more than 90 universities and colleges in the state, including the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, founded in 1817, Michigan State University in East Lansing, founded in 1855, and Wayne State University in Detroit, founded in 1868.


The original population was mainly Ojibwa, Ottawa and Potawatomi indigenous people. Michigan was explored from 1618 by the French, who founded Sault Sainte Marie in 1668 and in 1701 built a fort where Detroit now resides. The area was British in the period 1763-1783.

The Lower Peninsula became a separate territory in 1805, before the entire state of Michigan became a state in 1837. The construction of the Erie Canal in 1825 led to economic recovery, and in the 1900s Michigan became the center of the American automobile industry.

Michigan Population 2019

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