Skip to main content
Select Source:



State of Michigan

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Possibly derived from the Fox Indian word mesikami, meaning "large lake."

NICKNAME: The Wolverine State.

CAPITAL: Lansing.

ENTERED UNION: 26 January 1837 (26th).

SONG: "Michigan, My Michigan" (unofficial).

MOTTO: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you).

COAT OF ARMS: In the center, a shield depicts a peninsula on which a man stands, at sunrise, holding a rifle. At the top of the shield is the word "Tuebor" (I will defend), beneath it the state motto. Supporting the shield are an elk on the left and a moose on the right. Over the whole, on a crest, is an American eagle beneath the US motto, E pluribus unum.

FLAG: The coat of arms centered on a dark blue field, fringed on three sides.

OFFICIAL SEAL: The coat of arms surrounded by the words "The Great Seal of the State of Michigan" and the date "a.d. MDCCCXXXV." (1835, the year the state constitution was adopted).

BIRD: Robin.

FISH: Trout.

FLOWER: Apple blossom.

TREE: White pine.

GEM: Chlorastrolite (Isle Royale Greenstone).

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Election Day, 1st Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November plus one day; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT; 6 AM CST = noon GMT.


Located in the eastern north-central United States, Michigan is the third-largest state e of the Mississippi River and ranks 23rd in size among the 50 states.

The total area of Michigan (excluding Great Lakes waters) is 58,527 sq mi (151,585 sq km), of which land takes up 56,954 sq mi (147,511 sq km) and inland water 1,573 sq mi (4,074 sq km). The state consists of the upper peninsula adjoining three of the Great LakesSuperior, Huron, and Michiganand the lower peninsula, projecting northward between Lakes Michigan, Erie, and Huron. The upper peninsula extends 334 mi (538 km) e-w and 215 mi (346 km) n-s; the lower peninsula's maximum e-w extension is 220 mi (354 km), and its greatest n-s length is 286 mi (460 km).

Michigan's upper peninsula is bordered on the n and e by the Canadian province of Ontario (with the line passing through Lake Superior, the St. Mary's River, and Lake Huron); on the s by Lake Huron, the Straits of Mackinac separating the two peninsulas, and Lake Michigan; and on the sw and w by Wisconsin (with the line passing through the Menominee, Brule, and Montreal rivers). The lower peninsula is bordered on the n by Lake Michigan, the Straits of Mackinac, and Lake Huron; on the e by Ontario (with the line passing through Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River); on the se by Ontario and Ohio (with the line passing through Lake Erie); on the s by Ohio and Indiana; and on the w by Illinois and Wisconsin (with the line passing through Lake Michigan and Green Bay). The state's geographic center is in Wexford County, 5 mi (8 km) nnw of Cadillac.

Among the most important islands are Isle Royale in Lake Superior; Sugar, Neebish, and Drummond islands in the St. Mary's River; Bois Blanc, Mackinac, and Les Cheneaux islands in Lake Huron; Beaver Island in Lake Michigan; and Belle Isle and Grosse Ile in the Detroit River.

The state's total boundary length is 1,673 mi (2,692 km). The total freshwater shoreline is 3,121 mi (5,023 km).


Michigan's two peninsulas are generally level land masses. Flat lowlands predominate in the eastern portion of both peninsulas and in scattered areas elsewhere. The state's lowest point, 571 ft (174 m), is found in southeastern Michigan along Lake Erie. Higher land is found in the western area of the lower peninsula, where elevations rise to as much as 1,600 ft (500 m); the hilly uplands of the upper peninsula attain elevations of 1,800 ft (550 m). The state's highest point, at 1,979 ft (603 m), is Mt. Arvon, in Baraga County. The mean elevation is approximately 900 ft (275 m).

Michigan's political boundaries extend into four of the five Great Lakes, giving Michigan jurisdiction over 16,231 sq mi (42,038 sq km) of Lake Superior, 13,037 sq mi (33,766 sq km) of Lake Michigan, 8,975 sq mi (23,245 sq km) of Lake Huron, and 216 sq mi (559 sq km) of Lake Erie, for a total of 38,459 sq mi (99,608 sq km). In addition, Michigan has about 35,000 inland lakes and ponds, the largest of which is Houghton Lake, on the lower peninsula, with an area of 31 sq mi (80 sq km).

The state's leading river is the Grand, about 260 mi (420 km) long, flowing through the lower peninsula into Lake Michigan. Other major rivers that flow into Lake Michigan include the St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Pere Marquette, and Manistee. On the eastern side of the peninsula, the Saginaw River and its tributaries drain an area of some 6,000 sq mi (15,500 sq km), forming the state's largest watershed. Other important rivers that flow into Lake Huron include the Au Sable, Thunder Bay, and Cheboygan. In the southeast, the Huron and Raisin rivers flow into Lake Erie. Most major rivers in the upper peninsula (including the longest, the Menominee) flow southward into Lake Michigan and its various bays. Tahquamenon Falls, in the eastern part of the upper peninsula, is the largest of the state's more than 150 waterfalls. Wetlands account for about 15% of the total land area of the state.

Most of the many islands belonging to Michigan are located in northern Lake Michigan and in Lake Huron, although the largest, Isle Royale, about 44 mi (71 km) long by 8 mi (13 km) wide, is found in northern Lake Superior. In northern Lake Michigan, Beaver Island is the largest, while Drummond Island, off the eastern tip of the upper peninsula, is the largest island in the northern Lake Huron area.

Michigan's geological development resulted from its location in what was once a basin south of the Laurentian Shield, a land-mass covering most of eastern and central Canada and extending southward into the upper peninsula. Successive glaciers that swept down from the north dumped soil from the shield into the basin and eroded the basin's soft sandstone, limestone, and shale. With the retreat of the last glacier from the area about 6000 bc, the two peninsulas, the Great Lakes, and the islands in these lakes began to emerge, assuming their present shapes about 2,500 years ago.


Michigan has a temperate climate with well-defined seasons. The warmest temperatures and longest frost-free period are found most generally in the southern part of the lower peninsula; Detroit has an average temperature of 49°f (9°c), ranging from 24°f (4°c) in January to 73°f (22°c) in July. Colder temperatures and a shorter growing season prevail in the more northerly regions; Sault Ste. Marie has an average of 40°f (4°c), ranging from 14°f (10°c) in January to 64°f (17°c) in July. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the state is 51°f (46°c), registered at Vanderbilt on 9 February 1934; the all-time high of 112°f (44°c) was recorded at Mio on 13 July 1936. Both sites are located in the interior of the lower peninsula, away from the moderating influence of the Great Lakes.

Detroit had an average annual precipitation of 32.3 in (82 cm). The greatest snowfall is found in the extreme northern areas, where cloud cover created by cold air blowing over the warmer Lake Superior waters causes frequent heavy snow along the northern coast; Houghton and Calumet, on the Keweenaw Peninsula, average 183 in (465 cm) of snow a year, more than any other area in the state. Similarly, Lake Michigan's water temperatures create a snow belt along the west coast of the lower peninsula.

Cloudy days are more common in Michigan than in most states, in part because of the condensation of water vapor from the Great Lakes. Detroit has sunshine, on average, only 35% of the days in December and January, and 53% year-round. The annual average relative humidity at Detroit is 81% at 7 am, dropping to 60% at 1 pm; at Sault Ste. Marie, the comparable percentages are 85% and 67%, respectively. The southern half of the lower peninsula is an area of heavy thunderstorm activity. Late spring and early summer are the height of the tornado season.


Maple, birch, hemlock, aspen, spruce, and fir predominate in the upper peninsula; maple, birch, aspen, pine, and beech in the lower. Once common in the state, elms have largely disappeared because of the ravages of disease, while the white pine (the state tree) and red pine, which dominated northern Michigan forests and were prime objects of logging operations, have been replaced in cutover lands by aspen and birch. The area south of a line from about Muskegon to Saginaw Bay formerly held the only significant patches of open prairie land (found chiefly in southwestern Michigan) and areas of widely scattered trees, called oak openings. Intensive agricultural development, followed by urban industrial growth, leveled much of this region's forests, although significant wooded acreage remains, especially in the less populated western regions.

Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, and cranberries are among the fruit-bearing plants and shrubs that grow wild in many areas of the state, as do mushrooms and wild asparagus. The state flower, the apple blossom, calls to mind the importance of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs in Michigan, but wild flowers also abound, with as many as 400 varieties found in a single county. Eight Michigan plant species were listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened or endangered as of April 2006, including the American hart's -tongue fern, dwarf lake iris, Michigan Monkey-flower, and Eastern prairie fringed orchid.

Michigan's fauna, like its flora, has been greatly affected by settlement and, in a few cases, by intensive hunting and fishing. Moose are now confined to Isle Royale, as are nearly all the remaining wolves, which once roamed throughout the state. The caribou and passenger pigeon have been extirpated, but the elk and turkey have been successfully reintroduced in the 20th century. There is no evidence that the state's namesake, the wolverine, was ever found in Michigan, at least in historic times. Despite intensive hunting, the deer population remains high. Other game animals include the common cottontail, snowshoe hare, raccoon, and various squirrels. In addition to the raccoon, important native furbearers are the river otter and the beaver, once virtually exterminated but now making a strong comeback.

More than 300 types of birds have been observed. Aside from the robin (the state bird), the most notable bird is Kirtland's warbler, which nests only in a 60-sq-mi (155-sq-km) section of jack-pine forest in north-central Michigan. Ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail, American woodcock, and various ducks and geese are hunted extensively. Populations of ring-necked pheasant, introduced in 1895, have dropped at an alarming rate in recent decades. Reptiles include the painted turtle and the massasauga, the state's only poisonous snake.

Whitefish, perch, and lake trout (the state fish) are native to the Great Lakes while perch, bass, and pike are indigenous to inland waters. In 1877, the carp was introduced, with such success that it has since become a nuisance. Rainbow and brown trout have also been planted, and in the late 1960s, the state enjoyed its most spectacular success with the introduction of several species of salmon.

The first Michigan list of threatened or endangered animals in 1976 included 64 species, 15 endangered and 49 threatened. In 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed 13 Michigan animals as threatened or endangered. These included the Indiana bat, two species of beetle, two species of butterfly, gray wolf, bald eagle, piping plover, and Kirtland's warbler.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state's 4th-largest department employing approximately 3,700 persons. It is responsible for the administration of hundreds of programs affecting every aspect of the environment. These programs are based on state and federal laws calling for the protection and management of natural resources, including: air, water, fish, wildlife, recreational activities, wetlands, forests, minerals, oil, and gas. The regulatory programs operated by the DNR conserve and manage natural resources by controlling access or limiting their use and removal. Most of these programs rely on permit or license systems such as hunting or fishing licenses, forest use permits, and air/wastewater discharge permits.

Responding to citizens' concerns and new federal legislation, Michigan enacted programs to address water and air pollution as well as waste problems. At least 10 major environmental programs were established under Michigan law during the 1970s and 1980s, directing the DNR to assume new responsibilities and authorities. These included the Wetland Protection Act of 1980, Inland Lakes and Streams Act, the Resource Recovery Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Hazardous Waste Management Act. In addition, changes in administrative rules and amendments to existing statutes greatly expanded the scope of some programs such as air and water pollution control (Air Pollution Control Act and Water Resources Commission Act). These legislated changes, coupled with reorganization measures enacted by executive order, greatly expanded the state's role in environmental protection matters and substantially increased the scope of DNR's mission.

Governor William Milliken decided Michigan would be better served if all environmental programs were under one roof. Executive Order 1973-2 transferred three programs from the Department of Public Health to the DNR, including sewage system maintenance and certification; solid waste disposal; and licensing of septic tank cleaners. Further transfers were accomplished under Executive Order 1973-2a, which changed the status of the Water Resources Commission (WRC), making it subordinate to the Natural Resources Commission (NRC). Additionally, Executive Order 1973-2a transferred the Air Pollution Control Commission to the DNR under the jurisdiction of the NRC. The Executive Order divided the DNR for the first time into two branches: the natural resources branch, and the environmental protection branch. The Executive Orders of 1973 clearly consolidated and defined the DNR's environmental protection responsibilities.

As the 1970s drew to a close, Michigan enacted two major pollution control laws: the Solid Waste Management Act and the Hazardous Waste Management Act. These acts provide the legal basis for the separate management of hazardous wastes under a detailed regulatory program. The two waste management laws substantially increased the DNR's enforcement and administrative responsibilities. In addition to these two acts, several other laws were enacted or amended by the legislature in the late 1970s and 1980s which had a major impact on the Department. For example, the Environmental Response Act provides for the identification of sites of environmental contamination throughout the state and an appropriation procedure to support the cleanup of contamination sites in the state. Other programs created by statute included the Clean Michigan Fund and the Leaking Underground Storage Tanks Act. Each of these statutes required the DNR to assume new program responsibilities and authorities in the 1980s.

As the policy body over the DNR, the NRC consists of seven members appointed by the governor, with the advice of the Senate. The NRC sets the overall direction of the department and hires the director to carry out its policies. The department is organized both programmatically and geographically. The three program areas, each headed by a deputy director, include: resource management; environmental protection; and policy, budget, and administration. The three geographical regions split the state into the north, central, and south zones, each headed by a deputy director. The deputy directors report to the director of the DNR.

The mission of the department is to conserve and develop the state's natural resources and to protect and enhance the state's environmental quality in order to provide clean air, clean water, productive land, and healthy life. Additionally, the department seeks to provide quality recreational opportunities to the people of Michigan through the effective management of state recreational lands and parks, boating facilities, and population of fish and wildlife.

In 2003, 101.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals were released in the state. In 2003, Michigan had 343 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 66 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including Shiawassee River, the Clare City Water Supply, and the Sturgis Municipal Wells. In 2006, Michigan ranked at fifth in the nation for the highest number of sites on the National Priority List. In 2005, the EPA spent over $21.5 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $46.3 million for the state clean water revolving fund and $33.9 million for the drinking water revolving fund.


Michigan ranked eighth in population in the United States with an estimated total of 10,120,860 in 2005, an increase of 1.8% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Michigan's population grew from 9,295,297 to 9,938,444, an increase of 6.9%. The population is projected to reach 10.59 million by 2015 and 10.71 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 178.5 persons per sq mi.

Michigan was never inhabited by more than a few thousand Indians. As late as 1810, the non-Indian population of Michigan Territory was only 4,762. The late 1820s marked the start of steady, often spectacular, growth. The population increased from 31,639 people in 1830 to 212,267 in 1840 and 397,654 in 1850. Subsequently, the state's population grew by about 400,000 each decade until 1910, when its population of 2,810,173 ranked eighth among the 46 states. Industrial development sparked a sharp rise in population to 4,842,325 by 1930, pushing Michigan ahead of Massachusetts into seventh place.

In 2004, the median age of Michigan's population was 36.6. In the same year, 25.1% of the on under age 18 while 12.3% was age 65 or older. Approximately half of the state's population is concentrated in the Detroit metropolitan area.

Detroit has always been Michigan's largest city since its founding in 1701, but its growth, like the state's, was slow until well into the 19th century. The city's population grew from 21,019 in 1850 to 285,704 in 1900, when it ranked as the 13th-largest city in the country. Within the next 30 years, the booming automobile industry pushed the city up into fourth place, with a population of 1,568,662 in 1930. Since 1950, when the total reached 1,849,568, Detroit has lost population, dropping to 1,514,063 in 1970, 1,203,369 in 1980 and to 1,028,000 in 1990, when it held seventh place among US cities. The 2004 population was estimated at 900,198, putting Detroit in 11th place. As Detroit lost population, however, many of its suburban areas grew at an even greater rate. The Detroit metropolitan area totaled an estimated 4,493,165 in 2004, up from 4,320,203 in 1995 and 3,950,000 in 1960.

MichiganCounties, County Seats, and County Areas and Populations
Alcona Harrisville 679 11,653 Lake Balwin 568 12,069
Alger Munising 912 9,662 Lapeer Lapeer 658 93,361
Allegan Allegan 832 113,174 Leelanau Leland 341 22,157
Alpena Alpena 568 30,428 Lenawee Adrian 753 102,033
Antrim Bellaire 480 24,422 Livingston Howell 575 181,517
Arenac Standish 368 17,154 Luce Newberry 905 6,789
Baraga L'Anse 901 8,746 Mackinac St. Ignace 1,025 11,331
Barry Hastings 560 59,892 Macomb Mt. Clemens 483 829,453
Bay Bay City 447 109,029 Manistee Manistee 543 25,226
Benzie Beulah 322 17,644 Marquette Marquette 1,822 64,760
Berrien St. Joseph 576 162,611 Mason Ludington 495 28,986
Branch Coldwater 508 46,460 Mecosta Big Rapids 560 42,391
Calhoun Marshall 712 139,191 Menominee Menominee 1,045 24,996
Cass Cassopolis 496 51,996 Midland Midland 525 84,064
Charlevoix Charlevoix 421 26,722 Missaukee Lake City 565 15,299
Cheboygan Cheboygan 720 27,463 Monroe Monroe 557 153,935
Chippewa Sault Ste. Marie 1,590 38,780 Montcalm Stanton 713 63,893
Clare Harrison 570 31,653 Montmorency Atlanta 550 10,445
Clinton St. Johns 573 69,329 Muskegon Muskegon 507 175,554
Crawford Grayling 559 15,074 Newaygo White Cloud 847 50,019
Delta Escanaba 1,173 38,347 Oakland Pontiac 875 1,214,361
Dickinson Iron Mt. 770 28,032 Oceana Hart 541 28,473
Eaton Charlotte 579 107,394 Ogemaw West Branch 569 21,905
Emmet Petoskey 468 33,580 Ontonagon Ontonagon 1,311 7,363
Genesee Flint 642 443,883 Osceola Reed City 569 23,750
Gladwin Gladwin 505 27,209 Oscoda Mio 568 9,298
Gogebic Bessemer 1,105 16,861 Otsego Gaylord 516 24,665
Grand Traverse Traverse City 466 83,971 Ottawa Grand Haven 567 255,406
Gratiot Ithaca 570 42,345 Presque Isle Rogers City 656 14,330
Hillsdale Hillsdale 603 47,066 Roscommon Roscomon 528 26,079
Houghton Houghton 1,014 35,705 Saginaw Saginaw 815 208,356
Huron Bad Axe 830 34,640 St. Clair Port Huron 734 171,426
Ingham Mason 560 278,592 St. Joseph Centreville 503 62,984
Ionia Ionia 577 64,608 Sanilac Sandusky 964 44,752
Iosco Tawas City 546 26,992 Schoolcraft Manistique 1,173 8,819
Iron Crystal Falls 1,163 12,299 Shiawassee Corunna 541 72,945
Isabella Mt. Pleasant 576 65,618 Tuscola Caro 812 58,428
Jackson Mackson 705 163,629 Van Buren Paw Paw 612 78,812
Kalamazoo Kalamazoo 562 240,536 Washtenaw Ann Arbor 710 341,847
Kalkaska Kalkaska 563 17,239 Wayne Detroit 615 1,998,217
Kent Grand Rapids 862 596,666 Wexford Cadillac 566 31,876
Keweenaw Eagle River 544 2,195 TOTALS 56,959 10,120,860

Other Michigan cities with estimated 2004 populations in excess of 100,000 include Grand Rapids with a population of 195,115; Warren, 136,118; Sterling Heights, 127,476; Flint, 119,716; Lansing (the capital), 116,941; and Ann Arbor, 113,567.


The 2000 census counted about 58,479 American Indians, including Eskimos and Aleuts. Most were scattered across the state, with a small number concentrated on the four federal reservations, comprising 16,635 acres (6,732 hectares). In the 1990s the Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi were the principal groups with active tribal organizations. In 2004, 0.6% of the population was American Indian.

In 2000, the black population of Michigan totaled an estimated 1,412,742. In 1980, nearly two-thirds lived in Detroit, where they made up 75.7% of the population, the highest percentage in any US city of 1 million or more. Detroit, which experienced severe race riots in 1943 and 1967, has had a black mayor since 1974. In 2004, 14.3% of the state's residents were black.

The 2000 census found that 523,589 state residents (5.3%) were foreign born, up from 355,393 (3.8%) in 1990. There were 323,877 Hispanics and Latinos living in the state in 2000, of which 220,769 were of Mexican descent. In 2004, 3.7% of the state's population was of Hispanic or Latino origin. The state's Asian population has been increasing: as of 2000, the total number of Asians was 176,510. The census reported 54,631 Asian Indians (up from 18,100 in 1990), 17,377 Filipinos, 33,189 Chinese (up from 17,100 in 1990), 20,886 Koreans, 11,288 Japanese, and 13,673 Vietnam-ese (up from 5,229 in 1990). In 2004, 2.2% of the population was Asian. Pacific Islanders numbered 2,692 in 2000. In 2004, 1.4% of the population reported origin of two or more races.

Although state residents of first- or second-generation European descent are, almost without exception, decreasing in number and proportion, their influence remains great. Detroit continues to have numerous well-defined ethnic neighborhoods, and Hamtramck, a city surrounded by Detroit, is still dominated by its Polish population. Elsewhere in Michigan, Frankenmuth is the site of an annual German festival, and the city of Holland has an annual tulip festival that attracts about 400,000 people each spring. In the upper peninsula, the Finnish culture dominates in rural areas; in the iron and copper mining regions, descendants of immigrants from Cornwall in England, the original mining work force, and persons of Scandinavian background predominate.


Before white settlement, Algonkian-language tribes occupied what is now Michigan, with the Menomini and Ojibwa in the upper peninsula and Ottawa on both sides of the Straits of Mackinac. Numerous place-names recall their presence: Michigan itself, Mackinaw City, Petoskey, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Cheboygan, and Dowagiac.

Except for the huge industrial area in southeastern Michigan, English in the state is remarkably homogeneous in its retention of the major Northern dialect features of upper New York and western New England. Common are such Northern forms as pail, wishbone, darning needle (dragonfly), mouth organ (harmonica), sick to the stomach, quarter to four (3:45), and dove as past tense of dive. Common also are such pronunciations as the /ah/ vowel in fog, frog, and on; the /aw/ vowel in horrid, forest, and orange; creek as /krik/; root and roof with the vowel of put; and greasy with an /s/ sound. Swale (a marsh emptying into a stream) and clock shelf (mantel) are dying Northern words not carried west of Michigan. Pank (to pack down, as of snow) is confined to the upper peninsula, and pasty (meat-filled pastry) is borrowed from Cornish miners and heard in the upper peninsula and a few other areas. A minister is a dominie in the Dutch area around Holland and Zeeland.

Southern blacks have introduced into the southeastern automotive manufacturing areas a regional variety of English that, because it has class connotations in the North, has become a controversial educational concern. Three of its features are perhaps more widely accepted than others: the coalescence of /e/ and /i/ before a nasal consonant, so that pen and pin sound alike; the loss of /r/ after a vowel, so that cart and cot also sound alike; and the lengthening of the first part of the diphthong /ai/, so that time and Tom sound alike, as do ride and rod.

In 2000, 91.6% of the state's population five years old or older spoke only English at home, down from 93.4% in 1990.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other Indo-European languages" includes Albanian, Gaelic, Lithuanian, and Rumanian. The category "Other Slavic languages" includes Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian. The category "Other Asian languages" includes Dravidian languages, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, and Turkish. The category "Other Indic languages" includes Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, and Romany.

Population 5 years and over 9,268,782 100.0
  Speak only English 8,487,401 91.6
  Speak a language other than English 781,381 8.4
Speak a language other than English 781,381 8.4
  Spanish or Spanish Creole 246,688 2.7
  Arabic 75,412 0.8
  German 52,366 0.6
  Polish 40,372 0.4
  French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 38,914 0.4
  Other and unspecified languages 32,189 0.3
  Italian 30,052 0.3
  Other Indo-European languages 27,241 0.3
  Chinese 26,955 0.3
  Other Slavic languages 14,682 0.2
  Other Asian languages 14,611 0.2
  Other Indic languages 14,140 0.2
  Korean 13,314 0.1
  Serbo-Croatian 11,950 0.1
  Tagalog 11,917 0.1
  Vietnamese 11,776 0.1
  Russian 11,701 0.1
  Japanese 11,480 0.1
  Greek 11,167 0.1


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. In 1810, a Methodist society was organized near Detroit. After the War of 1812, as settlers poured in from the east, Presbyterian, Congregational, Baptist, Episcopal, and Quaker churches were founded. The original French Catholics, reduced to a small minority by the influx of American Protestants, were soon reinforced by the arrival of Catholic immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and, later, from eastern and southern Europe. The Lutheran religion was introduced by German and Scandinavian immigrants; Dutch settlers were affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. The first Jewish congregations were organized in Detroit by German Jews, with a much greater number of eastern European Jews arriving toward the end of the 1800s. The Orthodox Christian Church and the Islamic religion have been introduced by immigrants from the Near East during the 20th century.

Michigan had 2,265,286 Roman Catholics in 2004; with 1,481,866 in the archdiocese of Detroit. Among Protestant denominations, the largest groups are the Missouri Synod Lutherans, with about 244,231 adherents (in 2000), and the United Methodists, with about 171,916 adherents (in 2004). Evangelical Lutherans numbered about 160,836 adherents in 2000. The Christian Reformed Church had about 112,711 members that year and the Presbyterian Church USA had 104,471. The Seventh Day Adventists, who had their world headquarters in Battle Creek from 1855 to 1903, numbered 37,712 in 2000. The Jewish community had about 110,000 members. Over 5.7 million people (about 58% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization.


Because of Michigan's location, its inhabitants have always depended heavily on the Great Lakes for transportation. Not until the 1820s did land transportation systems begin to be developed. Although extensive networks of railroads and highways now reach into all parts of the state, the Great Lakes remain major avenues of commerce.

The first railroad company in the Midwest was chartered in Michigan in 1830, and six years later the Erie and Kalamazoo, operating between Toledo, Ohio, and Adrian, became the first railroad in service west of the Appalachians. Between 1837 and 1845, the state government sought to build three lines across southern Michigan, before abandoning the project and selling the two lines it had partially completed to private companies. The pace of railroad construction lagged behind that in other Midwestern states until After the Civil War. Only then did the combination of federal and state aid, and Michigan's booming economy lead to an enormous expansion in trackage, from fewer than 800 mi (1,300 km) in 1860 to a peak of 9,021 mi (14,518 km) in 1910. With the economic decline of northern Michigan and the resulting drop in railroad revenues, Class I trackage declined to 2,752 rail mi (4,430 km) by 2003, out of a total of 4,495 rail mi (7,236 km) in that year. A total of 23 railroads provided freight service in the state as of 2003, of which four were Class I railroads. The Michigan state government, through the Department of Transportation, has helped to revive the railroad system through its Rail Program. Most railroad passenger service is provided by Amtrak, which as of 2006, provided service to 23 stations in the state, connecting them to Chicago.

Railroads have been used only to a limited degree in the Detroit area as commuter carriers, although efforts have been made to improve this service. In the early 1900s, more than 1,000 mi (1,600 km) of inter-urban rail lines provided rapid transit service in southern Michigan, but automobiles and buses drove them out of business, and the last line shut down in 1934. Street railway service began in a number of cities in the 1860s, with Detroit taking over its street railways in 1922. Use of these public transportation systems declined sharply After World War II. By the 1950s, streetcars had been replaced by buses, but by 1960 many small communities had abandoned city bus service altogether. During the 1970s, with massive government aid, bus service was restored to many cities and was improved in others, and the number of riders generally increased.

As of 2004, the state had 122,382 mi (197,035 km) of roads. Major expressways included I-94 (Detroit to Chicago), I-96 (Detroit to Grand Rapids), and I-75 (from the Ohio border to Sault Ste. Marie). In 2004, there were some 4.632 million registered passenger cars, about 3.613 million trucks of all types, around 10,000 buses, and some 227,000 motorcycles. Licensed drivers numbered 7,103,404 during that same year.

The completion in 1957 of the Mackinac Bridge, the fourth-longest suspension span in the world, eliminated the major barrier to easy movement between the state's two peninsulas. The International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie, the Blue-Water Bridge at Port Huron, the Ambassador Bridge at Detroit, and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel link Michigan with Canada.

The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 made it possible for a large number of oceangoing vessels to dock at Michigan ports. In 2004, the port of Detroit handled 16.858 million tons of cargo making it the 42nd-busiest port in the United States. Other major ports in Michigan that same year were Presque Isle, which handled, 10.134 million tons, while Escanaba handled 6.620 million tons, and the limestone-shipping port of Calcite handled 8.949 million tons. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled 66.387 million tons.

Michigan was a pioneer in developing air transportation service. The Ford Airport at Dearborn in the 1920s had one of the first air passenger facilities and was the base for some of the first regular airmail service. In 2005, Michigan had a total of 485 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 381 airports, 95 heliports, 2 STOLports (Short Take-Off and Landing), and 7 seaplane bases. The state's major airport is Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. In 2004, the airport had 17,046,176 enplaned passengers, making it the 11th-busiest airport in the United States.


Indian hunters and fishermen inhabited the region now known as Michigan as early as 9000 bc; these peoples were making use of copper found in the upper peninsulathe first known use of a metal by peoples anywhere in the western hemisphere. Around 1000 bc, their descendants introduced agriculture into southwestern Michigan. In the latter part of the prehistoric era, the Indians appear to have declined in population.

In the early 17th century, when European penetration began, Michigan's lower peninsula was inhabited by tribes of Native Americans who may have moved west of Lake Michigan for temporary periods during periods of war. In the upper peninsula there were small bands of Ojibwa along the St. Marys River and the Lake Michigan shore; in the west, Menomini Indians lived along the present Michigan-Wisconsin border. Both tribes were of Algonkian linguistic stock, as were most Indians who later settled in the area, except for the Winnebago of the Siouan group in the Green Bay region of Lake Michigan, and the Huron of Iroquoian stock in the Georgian Bay area of Canada. In the 1640s, the Huron were nearly wiped out by other Iroquois tribes from New York, and the survivors fled westward with their neighbors to the north, the Ottawa Indians. Eventually, both tribes settled at the Straits of Mackinac before moving to the Detroit area early in the 18th century. During the same period, the Potawatomi and Miami Indians moved from Wisconsin into southern Michigan.

For two centuries After the first Europeans came to Michigan, the Indians remained a vital force in the area's development. They were the source of the furs that the whites traded for, and they also were highly respected as potential allies when war threatened between the rival colonial powers in North America. However, After the War of 1812, when the fur trade declined and the possibility of war receded, the value of the Indians to the white settlers diminished. Between 1795 and 1842, Indian lands in Michigan were ceded to the federal government, and the Huron, Miami, and many Potawatomi were removed from the area. Some Potawatomi were allowed to remain on lands reserved for them, along with most of the Ojibwa and Ottawa Indians in the north.

The first European explorer known to have reached Michigan was a Frenchman, Etienne Brulé, who explored the Sault Ste. Marie area around 1620. Fourteen years later, Jean Nicolet explored the Straits of Mackinac and the southern shore of the upper peninsula en route to Green Bay. Missionary and fur trading posts, to which were later added military forts, were established at Sault Ste. Marie by Father Jacques Marquette in 1668, and then at St. Ignace in 1671. By the 1860s, several temporary posts had been established in the lower peninsula. In 1701, Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac founded a permanent settlement at the site of present-day Detroit.

Detroit and Michigan grew little at first, however, because the rulers of the French colony of New France were obsessed with the fur trade, which did not attract large numbers of settlers. After France's defeat in the French and Indian War, fears that the British would turn the area over to English farmers from the coastal colonies, with the consequent destruction of the Indian way of life, led the Indians at Detroit to rebel in May 1763, under the leadership of the Ottawa chief Pontiac. Other uprisings resulting from similar grievances soon spread throughout the west but ended in failure for the Indians. Pontiac gave up his siege of Detroit after six months, and by 1764 the British were in firm control. Nevertheless, the British authorities did not attempt to settle the area. The need to protect the fur trade placed the people of Michigan solidly on the British side during the American Revolution, since a rebel triumph would likely mean the migration of American farmers into the west, converting the wilderness to cropland. The British occupied Michigan and other western areas for 13 years after the Treaty of Paris in 1783 had assigned these territories to the new United States. The US finally got possession of Michigan in the summer of 1796.

Michigan became a center of action in the War of 1812. The capture of Detroit by the British on 16 August 1812 was a crushing defeat for the Americans. Although Detroit was recaptured by the Americans in September 1813, continued British occupation of the fort on Mackinac Island, which they had captured in 1812, enabled them to control most of Michigan. The territory was finally returned to American authority under the terms of the Treaty of Ghent at the end of 1814. With the opening in 1825 of the Erie Canal, which provided a cheap, all-water link between Michigan and New York City, American pioneers turned their attention to these northern areas, and during the 1820s settlers for the first time pushed into the interior of southern Michigan.

Originally part of the Northwest Territory, Michigan had been set aside in 1805 as a separate territory, but with boundaries considerably different from those of the subsequent state. On the south, the territory's boundary was a line set due east from the southernmost point of Lake Michigan; on the north, only the eastern tip of the upper peninsula was included. In 1818 and 1834, areas as far west as Iowa and the Dakotas were added to the territory for administrative purposes. By 1833, Michigan had attained a population of 60,000, qualifying it for statehood. The territorial government's request in 1834 that Michigan be admitted to the Union was rejected by Congress, however, because of a dispute over Michigan's southern boundary. When Indiana became a state in 1816, it had been given a 10-mi (16-km) strip of land in southwestern Michigan, and Michigan now refused to accede to Ohio's claim that it should be awarded lands in southeastern Michigan, including the present site of Toledo. In 1835, Michigan militia defeated the efforts of Ohio authorities to take over the disputed area during the so-called Toledo War, in which no one was killed. Nevertheless, Ohio's superior political power in Congress ultimately forced Michigan to agree to relinquish the Toledo Strip. In return, Congress approved the state government that the people of Michigan had set up in 1835. As part of the compromise that finally brought Michigan into the Union on 26 January 1837, the new state was given land in the upper peninsula west of St. Ignace as compensation for the loss of Toledo.

Youthful Stevens T. Mason, who had led the drive for statehood, became Michigan's first elected governor, but he and the Democratic Party fell out of grace when the new state was plunged into financial difficulties during the depression of the late 1830s. The party soon returned to power and controlled the state until the mid-1850s. In Michigan, as elsewhere, it was the slavery issue that ended Democratic dominance. In July 1854, antislavery Democrats joined with members of the Whig and Free-Soil parties at a convention in Jackson to organize the Republican Party. In the elections of 1854, the Republicans swept into office in Michigan, controlling the state, with rare exceptions, until the 1930s.

Abraham Lincoln was not the first choice of Michigan Republicans for president in 1860, but when he was nominated, they gave him a solid margin of victory that fall and again in 1864. Approximately 90,000 Michigan men served in the Union army, taking part in all major actions of the Civil War. Michigan's Zachariah Chandler was one of the leaders of the Radical Republicans in the US Senate who fought for a harsh policy toward the South during Reconstruction.

Michigan grew rapidly in economic importance. Agriculture sparked the initial growth of the new state and was responsible for its rapid increase in population. By 1850, the southern half of the lower peninsula was filling up, with probably 85% of the state's population dependent in some way on agriculture for a living. Less than two decades later, exploitation of vast pine forests in northern Michigan had made the state the top lumber producer in the United States. Settlers were also attracted to the same area by the discovery of rich mineral deposits, which made Michigan for a time the nation's leading source of iron ore, copper, and salt.

Toward the end of the 19th century, as timber resources were being exhausted and as farming and mining reached their peak stages of development, new opportunities in manufacturing opened up. Such well-known Michigan companies as Kellogg, Dow Chemical, and Upjohn had their origins during this period. The furniture industry in Grand Rapids, the paper industry in Kalamazoo, and numerous other industries were in themselves sufficient to ensure the state's increasing industrial importance. But the sudden popularity of Ransom E. Olds's Oldsmobile runabout, manufactured first in Lansing, inspired a host of Michiganians to produce similar practical, relatively inexpensive automobiles. By 1904, the most successful of the new models, Detroit's Cadillac and the first Fords, together with the Oldsmobile, had made Michigan the leading automobile producer in the countryand, later, in the world. The key developments in Michigan's auto industry were the creation of General Motors by William C. Durant in 1908; Henry Ford's development of the Model T in 1908, followed by his institution of the moving assembly line in 191314; and Walter P. Chrysler's 1925 formation of the automobile corporation named after him.

Industrialization brought with it urbanization; the census of 1920 for the first time showed a majority of Michiganians living in towns and cities. Nearly all industrial development was concentrated in the southern third of the state, particularly the southeastern area, around Detroit. The northern two-thirds of the state, where nothing took up the slack left by the decline in lumber and mining output, steadily lost population and became increasingly troubled economically. Meanwhile, the Republican Party, under such progressive governors as Fred Warner and Chase Osbornand, in the 1920s, under a brilliant administrator, Alexander Groesbeckshowed itself far better able than the Democratic opposition to adjust to the complexities of a booming industrial economy.

The onset of the depression of the 1930s had devastating effects in Michigan. The market for automobiles collapsed; by 1932, half of Michigan's industrial workers were unemployed. The ineffectiveness of the Republican state and federal governments during the crisis led to a landslide victory for the Democrats. In traditionally Republican areas of rural Michigan, the defection to the Democratic Party in 1932 was only temporary, but in the urban industrial areas, the faith of the factory workers in the Republican Party was, for the great majority, permanently shaken. These workers, driven by the desire for greater job security, joined the recruiting campaign launched by the new Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). By 1941, with the capitulation of Ford Motor, the United Automobile Workers (UAW) had organized the entire auto industry, and Michigan had been converted to a strongly pro-union state.

Eventually, the liberal leadership of the UAW and of other CIO unions in the state allied itself with the Democratic Party to provide the funds and organization the party needed to mobilize worker support. The coalition elected G. Mennen Williams governor in 1948 and reelected him for five successive two-year terms. By the mid-1950s, the Democrats controlled virtually all statewide elective offices. Because legislative apportionment still reflected an earlier distribution of population, however, the Republicans maintained their control of the legislature and frustrated the efforts of the Williams administration to institute social reforms. In the 1960s, as a result of US Supreme Court rulings, the legislature was reapportioned on a strictly equal-population basis. This shifted a majority of legislative seats into urban areas, enabling the Democrats generally to control the legislature at that time.

In the meantime, Republican moderates, led by George Romney, gained control of their party's organization. Romney was elected governor in 1962 and served until 1969, when he was succeeded by William G. Milliken, who held the governorship for 14 years. When Milliken chose not to run in the 1982 election, the statehouse was captured by the Democrats, ending 20 years of Republican rule. The new governor, James J. Blanchard, faced the immediate tasks of saving Michigan from bankruptcy and reducing the unemployment rate, which had averaged more than 15% in 1982 (60% above the US average).

The nationwide recession of the early 1980s hit Michigan harder than most other states because of its effect on the auto industry, which had already suffered heavy losses primarily as a result of its own inability to foresee the demise of the big luxury cars and because of the increasing share of the American auto market captured by foreign, mostly Japanese, manufacturers. In 1979, Chrysler had been forced to obtain $1.2 billion in federally guaranteed loans to stave off bankruptcy, and during the late 1970s and the first two years of the 1980s, US automakers were forced to lay off hundreds of thousands of workers, tens of thousands of whom left the state. Many smaller businesses, dependent on the auto industry, closed their doors, adding to the unemployment problem and to the state's fiscal problem; as the tax base shrank, state revenues plummeted, creating a budget deficit of nearly $1 billion. Two months after he took office in January 1983, Governor Blanchard was forced to institute budget cuts totaling $225 million and lay off thousands of government workers; at his urging, the state legislature increased Michigan's income tax by 38%.

As the recession eased in 1983, Michigan's economy showed some signs of improvement. The automakers became profitable, and Chrysler was even able to repay its $1.2 billion in loans seven years before it was due, rehire 100,000 workers, and make plans to build a $500-million technological center in the northern Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills. By May 1984, Michigan's unemployment rate had begun to drop, but the state faced the difficult task of restructuring its economy to lessen its dependence on the auto industry.

By the late 1980s, there were signs that Michigan had succeeded in diversifying its economy. Fewer than one in four wage earners worked in factories in 1988, a drop from 30% in 1978. Despite continued layoffs and plant closings by auto manufacturers between 1982 and 1988, Michigan added half a million more jobs than it lost. Many of the new jobs were in small engineering and applied technology companies, which found opportunities in the big manufacturers' efforts to automate. The state established a $100-million job retraining program to upgrade the skills of displaced factory workers, and contributed $5 million to a joint job training program created by General Motors and the United Automobile Workers. In the mid-1990s, the manufacture of transportation equipment was still Michigan's most important industry, with 28% of domestic automobiles produced in the state. Employment, wages, exports, and housing starts were all on the rise.

In the late 1990s prosperity across the nation had boosted Americans' appetite for new automobiles, including gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles. Combined with sales of other light trucks, SUVs bolstered the Big Three, now leaner and more competitive than in the pre-recession era. In 1998 Chrysler Corporation merged with German-based Daimler-Benz to form DaimlerChrysler, with headquarters in Michigan and Germany. Construction in the state was boosted by numerous road improvement projects during the late 1990s, a new Northwest Airlines terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, voter-approved casinos in Detroit, and demand for new housing. In 1999, the robust economy had resulted in a low unemployment rate of 3.8%. In 2000 the state led the nation in home ownership, exceeding the national average by as much as 10%.

Republican governor John Engler, first elected in 1990 and winning his third term in 1998, aggressively courted business during his administration. He was criticized by some for doing so at the expense of the state's environment. Engler had also, early on, garnered intense opposition to his plan to cut the state's welfare role. Nevertheless, he continued to be reelected. Among the state's challenges in 2000 were education reform (and the question of school vouchers), preserving farmlands in the face of development and urban sprawl, and, in conjunction with neighboring states and Canada, further cleanup and conservation of the Great Lakes system.

In 2002, Jennifer Granholm was elected Michigan's first female governor and the first Democrat to win the office since John Engler took office. In 2003, Granholm pledged to balance the state's budget (the state had a $1.8 billion deficit for fiscal year 2003/04), planned to create a corridor to attract technology companies to Michigan (particularly in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors), to support Education, and to purchase prescription drugs in bulk. In 2005, Granholm announced a plan (the MI Opportunity Partnership) to fill 90,000 job vacancies. The plan allows for job training to place out-of-work citizens in such needed positions as health care and the skilled trades.

Michigan was one of the states affected by the 14 August 2003 massive power blackout in Canada, the Northeast, and Midwestern states. The largest electrical outage in US history affected 9,300 square miles and a population of over 50 million.


Michigan has had four constitutions. The first, adopted in 1835 when Michigan was applying for statehood, was followed by constitutions adopted in 1850, 1908, and 1963. By January 2005, there were 25 amendments.

The legislature consists of a Senate of 38 members, elected for terms of four years, and a House of Representatives of 110 members, elected for two-year terms. The legislature meets annually, beginning the second Wednesday of January, for a session of indeterminate length. Special sessions may only be called by the governor. Legislation may be adopted by a majority of each house, but to override a governor's veto a two-thirds vote of the elected and serving members of each house is required. A legislator must be at least 21 years old, a US citizen, and a qualified voter of the district in which he or she resides. The legislative salary was $79,650 in 2004.

Elected executive officials include the governor and lieutenant governor (who run jointly), secretary of state, and attorney general, all serving four-year terms. Elections are held in even-numbered years between US presidential elections. The governor and lieutenant governor must be at least 30 years old and must have been registered voters in the state for at least four years prior to election. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $177,000. The governor, who is limited to serving two consecutive terms, appoints the members of the governing boards and/or directors of executive departments, with the exception of the Department of Education, whose head is appointed by the elected State Board of Education. The trustees of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University are also elected by the state's voters. Trustees serve eight-year terms.

Michigan Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election
1948 19 Dewey (R) 1,003,448 1,038,898 46,515 6,063 13,052
1952 20 *Eisenhower (R) 1,230,657 1,551,529 3,922 655 10,331
1956 20 *Eisenhower (R) 1,359,898 1,713,647 6,923
1960 20 *Kennedy (D) 1,687,269 1,620,428 1,718 4,347 2,029
1964 21 *Johnson (D) 2,136,615 1,060,152 1,704 3,817
1968 21 Humphrey (D) 1,593,082 1,370,665 1,762 4,099 331,968
1972 21 *Nixon 1,459,435 1,961,721 2,437 1,603 63,321
1976 21 Ford (R) 1,696,714 1,893,742 3,504 1,804 5,406
1980 21 *Reagan (R) 1,661,532 1,915,225 11,930 3,262 41,597
1984 20 *Reagan (R) 1,529,638 2,251,571 1,191 10,055
1988 20 *Bush (R) 1,675,783 1,965,486, 2,513 1,958 18,336
1922 18 *Clinton (D) 1,871,182 1,554,940 824,813 8,263 10,175
1996 18 *Clinton (D) 1,989,653 1,48,212 336,670 27,670
2000 18 Gore (D) 2,170,418 1,953,139 84,165 16,711
IND. (Nader)
2004 17 Kerry (D) 2,479,183 2,313,746 24,035 5,035 10,552

Legislative action is completed when a bill has been passed by both houses of the legislature and signed by the governor. A bill also becomes law if not signed by the governor after a 14-day period when the legislature is in session. The governor may stop passage of a bill by vetoing it or, if the legislature adjourns before the 14-day period expires, by refusing to sign it.

The constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature and a majority vote at the next general election. An amendment also may be proposed by registered voters through petition and submission to the general electorate; the petition must be signed by 10% of total voters for all candidates at the last gubernatorial election. Every 16 years, the question of calling a convention to revise the constitution must be submitted to the voters; the question was first put on the ballot in 1978 and was rejected.

A voter in Michigan must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old, and must have been a resident of the state and city or township for 30 days prior to election day. Those confined to jail after conviction and sentencing are ineligible to vote, but convicted felons may vote after completing their entire sentence, including parole and probation.


From its birth in 1854 through 1932, the Republican Party dominated state politics, rarely losing statewide elections and developing strong support in all parts of the state, both rural and urban. The problems caused by the economic depression of the 1930s revitalized the Democratic Party and made Michigan a strong two-party state. Democratic strength was concentrated in metropolitan Detroit, while Republicans maintained their greatest strength in "outstate" areas, except for the mining regions of the upper peninsula, where the working class, hit hard by the depression, supported the Democrats.

Most labor organizations, led by the powerful United Automobile Workers union, have generally supported the Democratic Party since the 1930s. But in recent years, moderate Republicans have had considerable success in attracting support among previously Democratic voters.

Among minor parties, only Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party, which captured the state's electoral vote in 1912, has succeeded in winning a statewide contest. George Wallace captured 10% of the total vote cast for president in 1968; Ross Perot almost doubled that showing in 1992 with 19% of the vote.

Between 1948 and 1992, the Republican candidate for president carried Michigan in nine out of 13 elections, but Michiganians gave Democrat Bill Clinton 44% of the vote in 1992 and 52% in 1996. In 2000, Democrat Al Gore received 51% of the presidential vote to Republican George W. Bush's 47%. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader won 2%. In 2004, Democratic challenger John Kerry won 51% of the vote to Bush's 48%. The state had 17 electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election, a decrease of 1 over 2000.

Republican governor John Engler served three terms as governor, ending in January 2003. (Michigan limits its governors to serving two consecutive terms, but the law became effective after Engler's election, so he was grandfathered.) In November 2002, Democrat Jennifer Granholm became Michigan's first female governor. In 2004 there were 7,164,000 registered voters; there is no party registration in the state.

Four-term Democratic Senator Carl Levin was reelected in 2002. Republican Spencer Abraham was elected to the Senate in 1994, replacing retiring Democrat Donald Riegel. Abraham sought a second term in 2000, but failed to win reelection. He was named President George W. Bush's Secretary of Energy in 2001. Democrat Debbie Stabenow, Michigan's first female US senator, defeated Abraham in 2000 for the Senate seat. After the 2004 elections, the state's 15-member US House delegation consisted of six Democrats and nine Republicans. On the state level, in mid-2005 there were 22 Republicans and 16 Democrats in the state Senate, and 58 Republicans and 52 Democrats in the House.


In 2005, local government included 83 counties, 533 municipal governments, 734 public school districts, and 366 special districts. In 2002, there were also 1,242 townships. Each county is administered by a county board of commissioners whose members, ranging in number from 3 to 35 according to population, are elected for two-year terms. Executive authority is vested in officers (the sheriff, prosecuting attorney, treasurer, clerk, and register of deeds), who are generally elected for four-year terms. Some counties place overall administrative responsibility in the hands of a county manager or administrator.

Most cities are governed by home-rule legislation, adopted in 1909, enabling them to establish their own form of government under an adopted charter. Some charters provide for the election of a mayor, who usually functions as the chief executive officer of the city. Other cities have chosen the council-manager system, with a council appointing the manager to serve as chief executive and the office of mayor being largely ceremonial. Many villages are incorporated under home-rule legislation in order to provide services such as police and fire protection.

Township government, its powers strictly limited by state law, consists of a supervisor, clerk, treasurer, and up to four trustees, all elected for four-year terms and together forming the township board.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 363,776 fulltime (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Michigan operates under the authority of the executive order; the state emergency management director is designated as the state homeland security advisor.

Educational services are handled in part by the Department of Education, which distributes state school-aid funds, certifies teachers, and operates the Schools for the Deaf and Blind at Flint. The state-supported colleges and universities are independent of the department's control, each being governed by an elected or appointed board. Although most of the funds administered by the Department of Transportation go for highway construction and maintenance, some allocations support improvements of railroad, bus, ferry, air, and port services.

Health and welfare services are provided by the Department of Community Health and the Department of Civil Rights, as well as through programs administered by the Department of Labor and Economic Growth, the Office of Services to the Aging, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Women's Commission, the Spanish-Speaking Affairs Commission, and the Veterans Trust Fund. The state's Army and Air National Guard units are maintained by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Civil defense is part of the Department of State Police, and state prisons and other correctional facilities are maintained by the Department of Corrections.

Housing services are provided by the State Housing Development Authority. The Department of Labor and Economic Growth establishes and enforces rules and standards relating to safety, wages, licenses, fees, and conditions of employment. The Employment Security Commission administers unemployment benefits and assists job seekers.


Michigan's highest court is the state supreme court, consisting of seven justices elected for eight-year terms. The chief justice is elected by the members of the court. The court hears cases on appeal from lower state courts and also administers the state's entire court system. The 1963 constitution provided for an 18-member court of appeals to handle most of the cases that previously had clogged the high court's calendar. Unless the supreme court agrees to review a court of appeals ruling, the latter's decision is final. As of 1999, 28 appeals court justices are elected from each of four districts for six-year terms. The supreme court appoints a chief judge of the appeals court.

The major trial courts in the state as of 1999 were the circuit courts, encompassing 210 judicial seats, with the judges elected for six-year terms. The circuit courts have original jurisdiction in all felony criminal cases, civil cases involving sums of more than $10,000, and divorces. As of January 1998, the circuit courts have a "family" division to better serve families and individuals. The circuit courts also hear appeals from lower courts and state administrative agencies. Probate courts have original jurisdiction in cases involving juveniles and dependents, and also handle wills and estates, adoptions, and commitments of the mentally ill. The 1963 constitution provided for the abolition of justice-of-the-peace courts and nearly all municipal courts, although the Detroit "Recorders Court" was not abolished until 1996 in a controversial move supported by the Republican governor and legislative majority but opposed by most Democratic leaders. To replace them, 101 district courts, some consisting of two or more divisions, have been established. These courts handle civil cases involving sums of less than $10,000, minor criminal violations, and preliminary examinations in all felony cases.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 48,883 prisoners were held in Michigan's state and federal prisons, a decrease from 49,358 of 1% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 2,113 inmates were female, up from 2,198 or 1.5% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Michigan had an incarceration rate of 483 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Michigan in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 490.2 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 49,577 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 309,208 reported incidents or 3,057.6 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Michigan has had no death penalty on its law books since 1846, when it became the first state in the United States to abolish capital punishment. Although there have been efforts to restore the death penalty, none of these attempts had been successful as of 2006.

In 2003, Michigan spent $226,349,928 on homeland security, an average of $23 per state resident.


In 2004, there 4,419 active-duty military personnel, 11,373 Guard, National Guard, and Reserve, and 3,572 civilian personnel in Michigan. The Detroit Arsenal at Warren is the state's largest center for civilians, 3,009. In 2004 Michigan firms received over $2.6 billion in defense contracts, and $1.2 billion in defense payroll, including retired military pay.

As of 2003, there were 836,950 veterans of US military service living in Michigan. Of these, 124,006 served in World War II; 98,681 served in the Korean conflict; 264,267 served during the Vietnam era, and 110,061 served in the Gulf War. Expenditures on veterans exceeded $1.4 billion in 2004.

As of 31 October 2004, the Michigan State Police employed 1,591 full-time sworn officers.


The earliest European immigrants were the French and English. The successive opening of interior lands for farming, lumbering, mining, and manufacturing proved an irresistible attraction for hundreds of thousands of immigrants after the War of 1812, principally Germans, Canadians, English, Irish, and Dutch. During the second half of the 19th century, lumbering and mining opportunities in northern Michigan attracted large numbers of Cornishmen, Norwegians, Swedes, and Finns. The growth of manufacturing in southern Michigan at the end of the century brought many Poles, Italians, Russians, Belgians, and Greeks to the state. After World War II, many more Europeans immigrated to Michigan, plus smaller groups of Mexicans, other Spanish-speaking peoples from Latin America, and large numbers of Arabic-speaking peoples, particularly in Detroit, who by the late 1970s were more numerous there than in any other US city.

The first large domestic migration into Michigan came in the early 19th century after the War of 1812. Heavy immigration took place in the 1920s and 1930s, especially from northeastern states, particularly New York and Pennsylvania, and from Ohio. Beginning in 1916, the demand for labor in Michigan's factories started the second major domestic migration to Michigan, this time by southern blacks who settled mainly in Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw. During World War II, many southern whites migrated to the same industrial areas. Between 1940 and 1970, a net total of 518,000 migrants were drawn to Michigan. The economic problems of the auto industry in the 1970s and 1980s caused a significant reversal of this trend, with the state suffering a net loss of 496,000 by out-migration in the 1970s and over 460,000 in the 1980s. Between 1990 and 1998, Michigan had a net loss of 190,000 in domestic migration and a net gain of 87,000 in international migration. In 1996, Michigan's foreign-born population totaled 491,000, or 5% of its total population. In 1998, 13,943 foreign immigrants entered the state, the 11th-highest total for any state that year. Michigan's overall population increased 5.6% between 1990 and 1998. In the period 200005, net international migration was 122,901 and net internal migration was 165,084, for a net loss of 42,183 people.

Intrastate migration has been characterized since the late 19th century by a steady movement from rural to urban areas. Most parts of northern Michigan have suffered a loss of population since the early years of this century although a back-to-the-land movement, together with the growth of rural Michigan as a retirement area, appeared to reverse this trend beginning in the 1970s. Since 1950, the central cities have experienced a steady loss of population to the suburbs, in part caused by the migration of whites from areas that were becoming increasingly black. By 1998, Michigan's black population numbered 1,405,000, of whom over 1,100,000 lived in the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint metropolitan area.


The Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation of the Michigan legislature represents the state in dealings with the Council of State Governments and its allied organizations. Since 1935, the state has joined more than 20 interstate compacts, dealing mainly with such subjects as gas and oil problems, law enforcement, pest control, civil defense, tax reciprocity, and water resources. Com-pacts include the Boundary Compact Between Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan; Interstate Compact for Juveniles, and the Great Lakes Commission. In 1985, Michigan, seven other Great Lakes states, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario signed the Great Lakes Charter, designed to protect the lakes' water resources.

The International Bridge Authority, consisting of members from Michigan and Canada, operates a toll bridge connecting Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Federal grants to Michigan totaled $10.355 billion in fiscal year 2005, an estimated $10.078 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $10.210 billion in fiscal year 2007.


On the whole, Michigan benefited from its position as the center of the auto industry during the first half of the 20th century when Detroit and other south Michigan cities were the fastest-growing industrial areas in the United States. But the state's dependence on automobile production has caused grave and persistent economic problems since the 1950s. Michigan's unemployment rates in times of recession have far exceeded the national average, since auto sales are among the hardest hit in such periods. Even in times of general prosperity, the auto industry's emphasis on labor-saving techniques and its shifting of operation from the state have reduced the number of jobs available to Michigan workers. Although the state was relatively prosperous during the record automotive production years of the 1960s and 1970s, the high cost of gasoline and the encroachment of imports on domestic car sales had disastrous effects by 1980, when it became apparent that the state's future economic health required greater diversification of industry. Agriculture, still dominant in the rural areas of southern Michigan, remains an important element in the state's economy, and in northern Michigan, forestry and mining continue but generally at levels far below earlier boom periods. Output from manufactures peaked in 1999 at close to $84 billion, about 27% of gross state product, but in 2001, after an 11.85% fall from 2000 levels, manufacturing output accounted for only 23.1% of gross state product. By contrast, services of various sorts accounted for over 70% of total output in 2001. In 2002, Michigan lagged the national economy, and was not expected to recover in the short-term, while it manufacturing sector goes through restructuring.

Michigan's gross state product (GSP) in 2004 totaled $372.169 billion, of which manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) accounted for the largest portion at $76.261 billion or 20.4% of GSP, followed by the real estate sector at $42.930 (11.5% of GSP), and professional and technical services at $28.977 billion (7.7% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 765,487 small businesses in Michigan. Of the 213,104 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 209,751 or 98.4% were small companies. An estimated 24,625 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 11.8% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 24,584, down 0.7% from 2003. There were 681 business bankruptcies in 2004, down 0.4% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 618 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Michigan as the 18th highest in the nation.


In 2005 Michigan had a gross state product (GSP) of $378 billion which accounted for 3.0% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 9 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Michigan had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $32,079. This ranked 23rd in the United States and was 97% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 3.5%. Michigan had a total personal income (TPI) of $324,134,088,000, which ranked ninth in the United States and reflected an increase of 1.8% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 4.1%. Earnings of persons employed in Michigan increased from $251,820,728,000 in 2003 to $254,041,008,000 in 2004, an increase of 0.9%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 2002 to 2004 in 2004 dollars was $44,476 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 12.1% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Michigan numbered 5,157,600, with approximately 369,500 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 7.2%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 4,387,200. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Michigan was 16.9% in November 1982. The historical low was 3.2% in March 2000. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 4.3% of the labor force was employed in construction; 15% in manufacturing; 18.1% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 5% in financial activities; 13.6% in professional and business services; 13% in education and health services; 9.4% in leisure and hospitality services; and 15.3% in government.

Michigan's most powerful and influential industrial union since the 1930s has been the United Automobile Workers (UAW); its national headquarters is in Detroit. Under its long-time president Walter Reuther and his successors, Leonard Woodcock, Douglas Fraser, Owen Bieber, and Stephen Yokich, the union has been a dominant force in the state Democratic Party. In recent years, as government employees and teachers have been organized, unions and associations representing these groups have become increasingly influential. Under the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act of 1965, public employees have the right to organize and to engage in collective bargaining, but are prohibited from striking. However, strikes of teachers, college faculty members, and government employees have been common since the 1960s, and little or no effort was made to enforce the law.

Certain crafts and trades were organized in Michigan in the 19th century, with one national labor union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, having been founded at meetings in Michigan in 1863, but efforts to organize workers in the lumber and mining industries were generally unsuccessful. Michigan ac-quired a reputation as an open-shop state, and factory workers showed little interest in unions at a time when wages were high. But the catastrophic impact of the depression of the 1930s completely changed these attitudes. With the support of sympathetic state and federal government officials, Michigan workers were in the forefront of the greatest labor-organizing drive in American history. The successful sit-down strike by the United Automobile Workers against General Motors in 193637 marked the first major victory of the new Congress of Industrial Organizations. Since then, a strong labor movement has provided manufacturing workers in Michigan with some of the most favorable working conditions in the country.

The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, a total of 880,000 of Michigan's 4,288,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 20.5% of those so employed, down from 21.6% in 2004, but well above the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 916,000 workers (21.4%) in Michigan were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Michigan is one of only five states whose union membership rate is over 20% and is one of 28 states that does not have a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, Michigan had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 47% of the employed civilian labor force.


In 2005, Michigan's agricultural income was estimated at over $3.9 billion, placing Michigan 22nd among the 50 states. About 60% came from crops and the rest from livestock and livestock products; dairy products, nursery products, cattle, corn, and soybeans were the principal commodities. The state in 2004 ranked second in output of tart cherries, third in apples, and fourth in prunes and plums.

The growing of corn and other crops indigenous to North America was introduced in Michigan by the Indians around 100 bc, and early French settlers tried to develop European-style agriculture during the colonial era. But little progress was made until well into the 19th century, when farmers from New York and New England poured into the interior of southern Michigan. By mid-century, 34,000 farms had been established, and the number increased to a peak of about 207,000 in 1910. The major cash crop at first was wheat, until soil exhaustion, insect infestations, bad winters, and competition from huge wheat farms to the west forced a de-emphasis on wheat and a move toward agricultural diversity. Both the number of farms and the amount of farm acreage had declined by 2004 to 53,200 farms and 10,100,000 acres (4,088,000 hectares).

The southern half of the lower peninsula is the principal agricultural region, and the area along Lake Michigan is a leader in fruit growing. Potatoes are profitable in northern Michigan, while eastern Michigan (the "Thumb" area near Lake Huron) is a leading bean producer. The Saginaw Valley leads the state in sugar beets. The south-central and southeastern counties are major centers of soybean production. Leading field crops in 2004 included 257,280,000 bushels of corn for grain, valued at $463,104,000; 75,240,000 bushels of soybeans, worth $379,962,000; and 40,960,000 bushels of wheat, worth $122,880,000. Output of commercial apples totaled 720,000,000 lb (327,000,000 kg).


The same areas of southern Michigan that lead in crop production also lead in livestock and livestock products, except that the northern counties are more favorable for dairying than for crop production.

In 2005, there were an estimated 1,010,000 cattle and calves, valued at $1.07 billion. The state had an estimated 940,000 hogs and pigs in 2004, valued at $103.4 million.

In 2003, dairy farmers had an estimated 302,000 milk cows which produced around 6.36 million lb (2.89 million kg) of milk. Poultry farmers produced 1.89 billion eggs, valued at around $93.7 million, in 2003.


Commercial fishing, once an important factor in the state's economy, was relatively minor by the early 2000s. In 2004, the commercial catch was 8.4 million lb (3.8 million kg) valued at $6.2 million. Principal species landed are silver salmon and alewives.

Sport fishing continues to flourish and is one of the state's major tourist attractions. A state salmon-planting program, begun in the mid-1960s, has made salmon the most popular game fish for Great Lakes sport fishermen. The state has also sought, through breeding and stocking programs, to bring back the trout, which was devastated by an invasion of lamprey. In 2004, the state issued 1,171,742 sport fishing licenses.

A bitter dispute raged during the 1970s between state officials and Ottawa and Ojibwa commercial fishermen, who claimed that Indian treaties with the federal government exempted them from state fishing regulations. The state contended that without such regulations, Indian commercial fishing would have a devastating impact on the northern Great Lakes' fish population. A federal court in 1979 upheld the Indians' contention; but in 1985, the state secured federal court approval of a compromise settlement intended to satisfy both Indian and non-Indian groups.

There are three national fisheries in Michigan. In 2005/06, $9.5 million of federal funds were allocated for sport fish restoration projects in Michigan.


In 2004, Michigan's forestland totaled 19.3 million acres (7.8 million hectares), or more than half the state's total land area. Approximately 96% of it is classified as timberland, about two-thirds of it privately owned. The major forested regions are in the northern two-thirds of the state, where great pine forests enabled Michigan to become the leading lumber-producing state in the last four decades of the 19th century. These cutover lands regenerated naturally or were reforested in the 20th century. Lumber production was 844 million board feet in 2004.

State and national forests covered 6.9 million acres (2.8 million hectares), or about one-fifth of the state's land area.


According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by Michigan in 2003 was $1.35 billion, a decrease from 2002 of about 9%. The USGS data ranked Michigan as seventh among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for around 3.5% of total US output.

Although Michigan in 2003 was the second-largest iron ore producing state in the United States, portland cement was the state's top nonfuel mineral, by value, which was followed by iron ore, construction sand and gravel, crushed stone, salt and magnesium compounds. Collectively, these six commodities accounted for about 91% of all nonfuel mineral output in the state, by value.

Michigan was first nationally in magnesium chloride produced, and ranked second in the production of peat, industrial sand and gravel, bromine and of course, iron ore (after Minnesota). Michigan ranked third in construction sand and gravel, and potash, fourth in portland cement, seventh in salt and eighth in masonry cement.

According to preliminary figures for 2003, Michigan's production of construction sand and gravel totaled 70 million metric tons, which was valued at $245 million, while output of crushed stone, that year totaled 41.2 million metric tons, and was valued at $173 million. Salt output in 2003, according to the preliminary data totaled 1.53 million metric tons and was valued at $105 million.

Michigan also produced small quantities of copper, silver and other mineral specimens for sale to collectors and museums.


As of 2003, Michigan had 79 electrical power service providers, of which 41 were publicly owned and 10 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, nine were investor owned, five were owners of independent generators that sold directly to customers, twelve were generation-only suppliers, and two were delivery-only providers. As of that same year there were 4,713,966 retail customers. Of that total, 4,136,049 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 277,906 customers, while publicly owned providers had 299,378 customers. Generation-only suppliers had 628 customers and 5 were independent generator or "facility" customers. There was no data on the number of delivery-only customers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 30.450 million kW, with total production that same year at 111.347 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 86.8% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 67.777 billion kWh (60.9%), came from coal-fired plants, with nuclear power plants in second place with 27.953 billion kWh (25.1%, and natural gas fueled plants in third place at 11.374 billion kWh (10.2%). Other renewable power sources accounted for 2.5% of all power generated. Petroleum fired plants, and hydroelectric generating facilities accounted for the remainder.

The two major electric utilities are Detroit Edison, serving the Detroit area and portions of the eastern part of the lower peninsula, and Consumers Power, serving most of the remainder of the lower peninsula. Rates of the utility companies are set by the Public Service Commission.

As of 2006, Michigan had three operating nuclear power plants; the Donald C Cook plant in Berrien County; the Enrico Fermi plant near Detroit; and the Palisades plant near South Haven.

Michigan is dependent on outside sources for most of its fuel needs. As of 2004, Michigan had proven crude oil reserves of 53 million barrels, or less than 1% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 18,000 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked 17th (16th excluding federal offshore) in proven reserves and 18th (17th excluding federal offshore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 Michigan had 3,675 producing oil wells. As of 2005, the state's single refinery had a combined crude oil distillation capacity of 74,000 barrels per day.

In 2004, Michigan had 8,500 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In that same year, marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 259.681 billion cu ft (7.37 billion cu m). As of 31 December 2004, proven reserves of dry or consumer-grade natural gas totaled 3,091 billion cu ft (87.8 billion cu m).

Bituminous coal reserves (estimated at 127.7 million tons) remain in southern Michigan, but production is negligible. There was no recorded coal production in 2004.


Manufacturing, a minor element in Michigan's economy in the mid-19th century, grew rapidly in importance until, by 1900, an estimated 25% of the state's jobholders were factory workers. The rise of the auto industry in the early 20th century completed the transformation of Michigan into one of the most important manufacturing areas in the world.

Motor vehicles and equipment dominate the state's economy, representing almost 40% of the state's manufacturing payroll, while the value of shipments by these manufacturers was slightly more than half of the total. Production of nonelectrical machinery, primary and fabricated metal products, and metal forgings and stampings was directly related to automobile production.

The Detroit metropolitan area is the major industrial region: this area includes not only the heavy concentration of auto-related plants in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, but also major steel, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, among others. Flint, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Kalama-zoo are other major industrial centers.

The auto industry's preponderance in Michigan manufacturing has come to be viewed in recent years as more of a liability than an asset. When times are good, as they were in the 1960s and early 1970s, automobile sales soar to record levels and Michigan's economy prospers. But when the national economy slumps, these sales plummet, pushing the state into a far deeper recession than is felt by the nation as a whole.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Michigan's manufacturing sector covered some 19 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $220.454 billion. Of that total, transportation equipment manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $111.568 billion. It was followed by machinery manufacturing at $17.549 billion; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $14.024 billion; chemical manufacturing at $11.823 billion; and food manufacturing at $11.659 billion.

In 2004, a total of 651,947 people in Michigan were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 478,466 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the transportation equipment manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 202,998, with 167,690 actual production workers. It was followed by fabricated metal product manufacturing at 82,746 employees (60,331 actual production workers); machinery manufacturing at 75,818 employees (47,854 actual production workers); plastics and rubber products manufacturing at 60,688 employees (45,689 actual production workers); and furniture and related product manufacturing with 29,664 employees (19,086 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that Michigan's manufacturing sector paid $32.547 billion in wages. Of that amount, the transportation equipment manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $12.753 billion. It was followed by machinery manufacturing at $4.039 billion; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $3.335 billion; plastics and rubber products manufacturing at $2.119 billion; chemical manufacturing at $1.745 billion; and primary metal manufacturing at $1.442 billion.


According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Michigan's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $165.9 billion from 12,876 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 8,102 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 3,370 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 1,404 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $92.9 billion. Sales data was unavailable for nondurable goods and for electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Michigan was listed as having 38,876 retail establishments with sales of $109.3 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: food and beverage stores (5,973); clothing and clothing accessories stores (4,792); miscellaneous store retailers (4,486); and motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (4,234). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts stores accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $31.7 billion, followed by food and beverage stores at $13.1 billion; building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers at $9.4 billion; gasoline stations at $8.7 billion; and health and personal care stores $6.6 billion. A total of 520,958 people were employed by the retail sector in Michigan that year.

With its ports open to oceangoing vessels through the St. Lawrence Seaway, Michigan is a major exporting and importing state for foreign as well as domestic markets. Exports of Michigan's manufactured goods totaled $37.5 billion in 2005, ranking the state fifth in the United States.


Michigan's Office of the Attorney General is responsible for the enforcement of most of the state's consumer protection laws through its Consumer Protection Division. However, other departments, such as the Department of Consumer and Industry Services which has the responsibility of regulating professions, corporations and nursing homes, may also have their own consumer protection sections.

Under the state's Consumer Protection Act of 1976, a range of specific misrepresentations in advertising and commerce are prohibited. In addition, the law also regulates down payment returns, the signing of service contracts and other agreements and mandates that sellers of business opportunities must file with the state Attorney General. The state also has an item pricing law and regulations covering the volume and availability of advertised items. Michigan also has laws that regulate motor vehicle services and repairs, as well as a so-called "Lemon Law" that is applicable to the sale of new motor vehicles.

A number of local governments have instituted consumer affairs offices, with Detroit's being especially active.

When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office can initiate civil and criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; handle formal consumer complaints; and exercise broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; and initiate criminal proceedings. However the Attorney General's Office cannot represent counties, cities or other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.

The state's Consumer Protection Division is located in Lansing. County and city government consumer protection offices are respectively located in Mt Clemens and Detroit.


Michigan's banks in the territorial and early statehood years were generally wildcat speculative ventures. More restrained banking activities date from the 1840s when the state's oldest bank, the Detroit Bank and Trust, was founded. A crisis that developed in the early 1930s forced Governor William Comstock to close all banks in February 1933 in order to prevent collapse of the entire banking system. Federal and state authorities supervised a reorganization and reform of the state's banks that has succeeded in preventing any major problems from arising since that time.

As of June 2005, Michigan had 173 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 251 state-chartered and 152 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Detroit-Warren-Livonia market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 58 institutions and $77.033 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 12.8% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $31.221 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 87.2% or $211.930 billion in assets held.

In 2004, banks with less than $1 billion in assets ("community banks") accounted for about 92.5% of the state's insured institutions, but larger banks held most of the state's assets. In that same year, the median net interest margin (NIMs) (the difference between the lower rates offered to savers and the higher rates charged on loans), stood at 4.08%, down from 4.12% in 2003. The median percentage of past-due/nonaccrual loans to total loans in 2004 was 1.82%, down from 2.15% in 2003.


In 2004 there were over 4.9 million individual life insurance policies in force with a total value of about $362 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $629.7 billion. The average coverage amount is $72,800 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $1.9 billion.

As of 2003, there were 65 property and casualty and 19 life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled $16 billion. That year, there were 25,447 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $3.1 billion. About $15.3 billion of coverage was held through FAIR plans, which are designed to offer coverage for some natural circumstances, such as wind and hail, in high risk areas.

MichiganState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 57,461,347 5,686.99
  General revenue 46,780,063 4,629.86
    Intergovernmental revenue 13,749,908 1,360.84
    Taxes 24,061,065 2,381.34
      General sales 7,894,458 781.32
      Selective sales 2,949,792 291.94
      License taxes 1,545,457 152.95
      Individual income tax 6,576,065 650.84
      Corporate income tax 1,841,010 182.21
      Other taxes 3,254,283 322.08
    Current charges 5,385,255 532.98
    Miscellaneous general revenue 3,583,835 354.69
  Utility revenue - -
  Liquor store revenue 675,747 66.88
  Insurance trust revenue 10,005,537 990.26
Total expenditure 52,684,622 5,214.23
  Intergovernmental expenditure 19,035,055 1,883.91
  Direct expenditure 33,649,567 3,330.32
    Current operation 23,462,732 2,322.12
    Capital outlay 2,452,289 242.70
    Insurance benefits and repayments 5,627,428 556.95
    Assistance and subsidies 1,010,175 99.98
    Interest on debt 1,096,943 108.57
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 6,741,508 667.21
Total expenditure 52,684,622 5,214.23
  General expenditure 46,507,284 4,602.86
    Intergovernmental expenditure 19,035,055 1,883.91
    Direct expenditure 27,472,229 2,718.95
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 20,341,302 2,013.19
    Public welfare 9,950,158 984.77
    Hospitals 1,812,750 179.41
    Health 3,350,239 331.58
    Highways 3,259,528 322.60
    Police protection 295,537 29.25
    Correction 1,637,305 162.05
    Natural resources 453,032 44.84
    Parks and recreation 125,377 12.41
    Government administration 930,080 92.05
    Interest on general debt 1,096,943 108.57
    Other and unallocable 3,255,033 322.15
  Utility expenditure - -
  Liquor store expenditure 549,910 54.42
  Insurance trust expenditure 5,627,428 556.95
Debt at end of fiscal year 20,959,946 2,074.42
Cash and security holdings 70,891,515 7,016.18

In 2004, 59% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 4% held individual policies, and 26% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 11% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 15% for single coverage and 18% for family coverage. The state does not offer a health benefits expansion program in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were over 6.4 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $20,000 per individual and $40,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. Personal injury protection is also mandatory. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $931.14.


There are no securities or commodity exchanges in Michigan. In 2005, there were 2,410 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 6,040 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 166 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 65 NASDAQ companies, 43 NYSE listings, and 5 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had 21 Fortune 500 companies; General Motors (based in Detroit) ranked first in the state and third in the nation with revenues of over $192.6 billion, followed by Ford Motor (Dearborn), Dow Chemical (Midland, Delphi (Troy), and Lear (Southfield). All five companies were listed on the NYSE. Ford Motor was ranked at fifth in the nation on the Fortune 500 list with revenues of over $177.2 billion.


The state constitution requires the governor to submit a budget proposal to the legislature each year. This executive budget, prepared by the Department of Management and Budget, is reviewed, revised, and passed by the legislature. During the fiscal year (FY), which extends from 1 October to 30 September, if actual revenues drop below anticipated levels, the governor, in consultation with the legislative appropriations committees, must reduce expenditures to meet the constitutional requirement that the state budget be kept in balance.

In 1977, the legislature created a budget stabilization fund. A portion of tax revenues collected in good times is held in reserve to be used during periods of recession, when the funding of essential state services is threatened. In 1978, a tax limitation amendment put a lid on government spending by establishing a fixed ratio of state revenues to personal income in the state. Further efforts to limit taxes were rejected by the voters in 1980 and 1984.

F2006 general funds were estimated at $9.0 billion for resources and $9.0 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Michigan were $13.2 billion.

In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, Michigan was slated to receive: $16.9 million to develop a national cemetery in Great Lakes.


In 2005, Michigan collected $24,340 million in tax revenues or $2,405 per capita, which placed it 15th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Property taxes accounted for 8.8% of the total, sales taxes 33.2%, selective sales taxes 14.2%, individual income taxes 28.4%, corporate income taxes 7.8%, and other taxes 7.5%.

As of 1 January 2006, Michigan had one individual income tax bracket of 3.9%.

In 2004, state and local property taxes amounted to $11,978,654,000 or $1,186 per capita, which ranks the state 15th nationally in per capita taxation. Local governments collected $9,886,721,000 of the total and the state government $2,091,933,000.

Michigan taxes retail sales at a rate of 6%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is tax exempt. The tax on cigarettes is 200 cents per pack, which ranks fourth among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Michigan taxes gasoline at 19 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Michigan citizens received $0.85 in federal spending.


The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has a long tradition of promoting economic development. Through the Michigan CareerSite web page, economic development and job training programs are outlined. The mission of MEDC is to work with businesses, state government, and local communities to make Michigan more business-friendly. MEDC is a corporation, not a traditional government agency.

Michigan is part of the so-called Rust Belt, the region of the country dominated by steel-based industries from the 1940s to the 1980s. To focus economic development on new industries, Michigan has taken a number of steps, including cutting taxes for individuals and businesses. In the 1990s, Michigan taxpayers, both individuals and businesses, benefited from 21 tax cuts. The result has been the 13th-lowest tax burden in the country for 2000 and a robust economy with unemployment levels lower than the national average since 1995.

Michigan's Economic Growth Authority offers generous tax breaks to firms that locate a facility in Michigan, and offers substantial employment opportunities to Michigan workers. The state's Renaissance Zone program exempts companies and individuals within designated areas throughout the state from all state and local taxes as an incentive to rebuild and revitalize specific areas. Renaissance Zones include urban, rural, and former military installation sites. In 2006, Michigan also had 11 designated Smart Zones, which are collaborations between universities, industry, research organizations, government, and other community institutions to stimulate growth of technology-based businesses, particularly those focused on commercializing ideas and patents that result from R&D efforts.


The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 7.7 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 13 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 21.6 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 86.1% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 81% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2003 was 8.6 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 265.3; cancer, 198.8; cerebrovascular diseases, 57.8; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 44.1; and diabetes, 27.7. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 2.4 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 6.5 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 60.2% of the resident population was considered overweight or obese, representing the fourth-highest rate in the country for this category. As of 2004, about 23.2% of state residents were smokers.

In 2003, Michigan had 144 community hospitals with about 25,800 beds. There were about 1.1 million patient admissions that year and 27 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 17,100 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,382. Also in 2003, there were about 431 certified nursing facilities in the state with 49,225 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 84.4%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 76.9% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Michigan had 289 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 804 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 6,039 dentists in the state.

In 2005, the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor ranked eleventh on the Honor Roll of Best Hospitals 2005 by U.S. News & World Report. In the same report, the hospital ranked ninth in the nation for best care in cancer.

About 26% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 11% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $11.5 million.


Until the 1930s, Michigan's few limited welfare programs were handled by the counties, but the relief load during the Depression shifted the burden to the state and federal levels. In 2004, about 462,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $289. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 1,047,594 persons (469,976 households); the average monthly benefit was about $87.41 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was over $1 billion.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Michigan's TANF program is called the Family Independence Program (FIP). In 2004, the state program had 212,000 re-cipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $416 million in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 1,716,290 Michigan residents. This number included 1,059,530 retired workers, 179,870 widows and widowers, 226,060 disabled workers, 99,620 spouses, and 151,210 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 17% of the total state population and 95.6% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $1,029; widows and widowers, $967; disabled workers, $950; and spouses, $514. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $519 per month; children of deceased workers, $660; and children of disabled workers, $277. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 219,337 Michigan residents, averaging $424 a month.


In 2004, there were an estimated 4,433,482 housing units in Michigan, 3,923,135 of which were occupied. That year, Michigan ranked second in the nation (after Minnesota) for the highest percentage of owner-occupied housing units, at 74.7%. About 70.5% of all units were single-family, detached homes. Most homes rely on utility gas for heating. It was estimated that 218,182 units lacked telephone service, 8,787 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 12,705 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.51 members.

In 2004, 54,700 privately owned units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $145,177. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,137. Renters paid a median of $628 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of $849,997 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $36.3 million in community development block grants (CDBG). The city of Detroit received over $38.8 million in CDBG grants. A limited amount of state aid for low-income housing is available through the State Housing Development Authority.


Historically, Michigan has strongly supported public education. In 2004, 87.9% of Michigan residents age 25 and older were high school graduates, and 24.4% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher.

The total enrollment for fall 2002 in Michigan's public schools stood at 1,785,000. Of these, 1,254,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 531,000 attended high school. Approximately 72.7% of the students were white, 20.1% were black, 4.1% were Hispanic, 2.2% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 1,786,000 in fall 2003 and was expected to be 1,728,000 by fall 2014, a decline of 3.2% during the period 2002 to 2014. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $19.2 billion. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005 eighth graders in Michigan scored 277 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.

In fall 2003 there were 160,049 students enrolled in 983 private schools. The largest number of these students were enrolled in Catholic schools. Lutherans, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Reformed and Christian Reformed churches also have maintained schools for some time; in the 1970s, a number of new Christian schools, particularly those of fundamentalist Baptist groups, were established.

As of fall 2002, there were 605,835 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 18.9% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 Michigan had 110 degreegranting institutions. The oldest state school is the University of Michigan, originally established in Detroit in 1817; its Ann Arbor campus was founded in 1835, and classes there began in 1841. Among the public universities are the University of Michigan, including the Dearborn and Flint campuses, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University. Among the state's private colleges and universities, the University of Detroit Mercy, a Jesuit school, is one of the largest. Kalamazoo College (founded in 1833), Albion College (1835), Hope College (1866) and Alma College (1886) are some of the oldest private liberal arts colleges in the state.


Michigan's major center of arts and cultural activities is the Detroit area. The city's refurbished Orchestra Hall is the home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as well as chamber music concerts and other musical events. The Detroit Symphony has a long history having been founded in 1914; in the 1920s and 30s the symphony hosted several famous guest artists including Igor Stravinsky, Isadora Duncan, Richard Strauss, and Anna Pavlova. The Music Hall and the Masonic Auditorium present a variety of musical productions; the Fisher Theater and the Masonic Temple Theater are the major home for Broadway productions; and the Detroit Cultural Center supports a number of cultural programs. In 2006, the Masonic Temple Theater featured the three-time Tony Award winning Wicked. The new Detroit Opera House is sponsored by the Michigan Opera Theatre. Nearby Meadow Brook, in Rochester, has a summer music program. At the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, the Power Center for the Performing Arts and Hill Auditorium host major musical, theatrical, and dance presentations.

Programs relating to the visual arts tend to be academically centered; the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State, and Eastern Michigan University have notable art schools. The Cranbrook Academy of Arts, which was created by the architect Eliel Saarinen, is a significant art center, and the Ox-bow School at Saugatuck is also outstanding. The Ann Arbor Art Fair, established in 1960, is the largest and most prestigious summer outdoor art show in the state hosting over 500,000 annual attendees. As of 2006, the Ann Arbor Art Fair had won four awards, including being named as the number one art fair in the country by AmericanStyle magazine in 2004. The Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck and the touring Ann Arbor Film Festival promote the art of independent filmmaking.

The Meadow Brook Theater in Rochester, founded on Oakland University's campus is the largest nonprofit professional theater company in the state. In the 2004/05 season Meadow Brook won a series of local awards including a Lawrence Devine Award, an OPie, and a Wilde Awardall recognizing either outstanding performances or distinguished career achievements. Detroit features a number of little theater groups and successful summer theaters include the Cherry County Playhouse at Traverse City and the Star Theater in Flint.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1914, is nationally known. Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo have regional orchestras that perform on a part-time, seasonal basis. The National Music Camp at Interlochen is a mecca for young musicians in the summer, and a prestigious private high school for the arts year round. As of 2006 the Interlochen music camp included over 400 presentations that incorporated more than 2,000 students and 25 special guest performances, annually.

There are local ballet and opera groups in Detroit and in a few other communities. Michigan's best-known contribution to popular music was that of Berry Gordy Jr., whose Motown recording company in the 1960s popularized the "Detroit sound" and featured such artists as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops, the Temptations, and Stevie Wonder, among many others. In the 1970s however, Gordy moved his operations to California.

The state of Michigan generates federal and state funds for its arts programs. In 2005, the Michigan Council for the Arts and other Michigan arts organizations received 33 grants totaling $1,322,745 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Private sources also provided funding for the activities of the Council. The Michigan Humanities Council (MHC) was founded in 1974. One of its ongoing programs is the Michigan's Arts and Humanities Touring Program, which includes performing artists and cultural interpreters/educators. In 2006, the MHC awarded grants totaling $36,847 to support the touring program that season, which then included 146 live artistic and cultural presentations. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed 33 grants totaling $3,083,441 to state programs.


As of September 2001, Michigan had 381 public library systems, with a total of 654 libraries, of which 278 were branches. In that same year, the system had a total of 27,188,000 volumes of books and serial publications, and a total circulation of 51,773,000. The system also had 1,445,000 audio and 839,000 video items, 78,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and 17 bookmobiles. The Library of Michigan in Lansing functions as the coordinator of library facilities in the state. The largest public library is the Detroit Public Library, which in 1999 had over 2.5 million books and print materials in its main library and 26 branches. Outstanding among its special collections are the Burton Historical Collection, a major center for genealogical research, the National Automotive History Collection, and the E. Azalia Hackley Collection, a notable source for material pertaining to African Americans in the performing arts, especially music. Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, and Ann Arbor are among the larger public libraries. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the state's public library system totaled $329,283,000 and included $548,000 in federal grants and $16,031,000 in state grants.

Among academic libraries, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, with 6,283,385 volumes and 56,663 periodical subscriptions in 1999, features the William L. Clements collection of books and manuscripts on the colonial period, the Labadie Collection relating to the history of American radicalism, and the Bentley Library's distinctive collection of books and manuscripts, particularly the one on Michigan, the largest such collection.

In 1980, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library was opened on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus. The Michigan State University Library at East Lansing had 4,274,375 volumes and 27,314 periodical subscriptions in 1999. At Wayne State University in Detroit, the Walter P. Reuther Library houses the largest collection of labor history records in the United States, as well as primary materials relating to social, economic, and political reform and urban affairs.

The Detroit Institute of Arts is the largest art museum in the state and has an outstanding collection of African art. It is located in the Detroit Cultural Center, along with the Public Library and the Detroit Historical Museum, one of the largest local history museums in the country. The Kalamazoo Institute of Art, the Flint Institute of Art, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Hackley Art Gallery in Muskegon are important art museums. The University of Michigan and the Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Bloom-field Hills also maintain important collections.

The Detroit Historical Museum heads 229 museums in the state, including the State Historical Museum in Lansing and museums in Grand Rapids, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Dearborn. In the latter city, the privately run Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village are leading tourist attractions. In 1996 the world's largest museum of African American history was established in Detroit. A major Holocaust Memorial Center is located in the West Bloomfield Hills area of metropolitan Detroit.

The major historical sites open to the public include the late-18th-century fort on Mackinac Island and the reconstructed early-18th-century fort at Mackinaw City. The latter site has also been the scene of an archaeological program that has accumulated one of the largest collections of 18th-century artifacts in the country. Major investigations of prehistoric Indian sites have also been conducted in recent years.


Michigan's remote position in the interior of the continent hampered the development of adequate communications services, and the first regular postal service was not instituted until the early 19th century.

Telephone service began in Detroit in 1877. By 2004, 93.7% of the occupied housing units in the state had telephones. Additionally, by June of that same year there were 5,430,637 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 59.9% of Michigan households had a computer and 52.0% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 1,359,079 high-speed lines in Michigan, 1,256,759 residential and 102,320 for business.

Michigan had 62 major AM radio stations and 110 major FM stations in 2005. Radio station WWJ, originally owned by the Detroit News, began operating in 1920 as one of the country's first commercial broadcasting stations, and the News also started Michigan's first television station in 1947. As of 2005 there were 33 major television stations in the state. In the Detroit area, 68% of 1,855,500 television households had cable, and in the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek area, 62% of 671,320 television households had cable in 1999.

By 2000, a total of 145,596 Internet domain names had been registered in Michigan.


The first newspaper to appear in Michigan was Father Richard's Michigan Essay or Impartial Observer, published in August 1917. Continuous newspaper coverage in Michigan dates from the appearance of the weekly Detroit Gazette, also in 1817. The state's oldest paper still being published is the Detroit Free Press, founded in 1831 and the state's first daily paper since 1835.

In 2005 there were 48 daily newspapers in Michigan, with 27 Sunday editions published in the state. Two of the state's largest newspapersKnight Ridder's Detroit Free Press and Gannett's Detroit News entered into a joint operating agreement (JOA) in 1989. The advertising, business, delivery, and production of each paper joined forces in a company called Detroit Newspapers; the editorial and news operations remain separate and report to their respective parent companies. During the struggle, the Detroit Journal was published weekly by locked-out newspaper workers. The News had the sixth-largest daily circulation of any paper in the United States in 1994. By 2004, however, the News had dropped to number 46 in daily circulation among newspapers nationwide and the Free Press was at number 21.

The following table shows leading daily newspapers in Michigan with average daily and Sunday circulation in 1998:

align="left">AREA align="right">NAME align="right">DAILY align="right">SUNDAY
Detroit News and FreePress (m,S) 510,736 710,036
Flint Journal (e,S) 84,313 102,154
Grand Rapids Press (e,S) 138,126 189,690
Kalamazoo Gazette (e,S) 62,350 72,945
Lansing State Journal (m,S) 70,725 90,502
Pontiac Oakland Press (m,S) 78,213 80,737
Saginaw News (e,S) 46,439 55,690


In 2006, there were over 11,310 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 7,137 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. The most important trade association headquartered in Michigan is the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, with offices in Detroit. Its labor union counterpartthe United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)also has its international headquarters in that city.

Others with headquarters in the state include the American Concrete Institute, the Detroit; Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Dearborn; American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph; the American Board of Emergency Medicine, East Lansing, and the National Association of Investment Corporations, Madison Heights.

Organizations for arts and education include the Association of College Honor Societies, the Children's Literature Association, the American Guild of Music, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and the Institute for Social Research There are also a number of municipal and regional arts groups and historical societies. State organizations of art and culture include the Michigan Humanities Council, the Michigan Historical Society, and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. Several organizations focus on regional environmental issues, including the Great Lakes Maritime Institute and the Great Lakes Commission. The United Kennel Club is a hobby organization with national memberships.

Charitable organizations include the Good Fellows, based in Detroit. Founded in 1914, the organization was called the Newsboys, since its first members were newspaper carriers. Though the group participates in a number of charitable causes, its primary program is A Christmas for Every Needy Child. There are chapters of Good Fellows nationwide. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation based in Battle Creek also supports a number of community, national, and international projects. The Islamic Assembly of North America, which serves as a coordinating body for US Islamic centers and organizations, is based in Ann Arbor.


Tourism has been an important source of economic activity in Michigan since the 19th century and now rivals agriculture as the second most important segment of the state's economy. About 54% of all travel is in the form of day trips for state residents or visitors from neighboring states. In 2003, Michigan had 150,000 people employed in tourism.

Michigan's tourist attractions are diverse and readily accessible to much of the country's population. The opportunities offered by Michigan's water resources are the number one attraction; no part of the state is more than 85 mi (137 km) from one of the Great Lakes, and most of the population lives only a few miles away from one of the thousands of inland lakes and streams. Southwestern Michigan's sandy beaches along Lake Michigan offer sunbathing and swimming on 8,000 mi (5,000 km) of Great Lakes coastline. Inland lakes numbering 11,000 in southern Michigan are favored by swimmers while the Metropolitan Beach on Lake St. Clair, northeast of Detroit, claims to be the largest artificial-lake beach in the world. Camping has enjoyed an enormous increase in popularity; in addition to the extensive public camping facilities, there are many private campgrounds. The beach towns of Silver Lake, Sand Dunes, Holland, South Haven, and St. Joseph receive most of their tourists in the summer months. Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids share the presidential library of Gerald R. Ford. Ann Arbor also hosts the country's oldest art fair in July.

Although the tourist and resort business has been primarily a summer activity, the rising popularity of ice fishing, skiing, and other winter sports, autumn scenic tours, hunting, and spring festivals has made tourism a year-round business in many parts of the state. Historic attractions have been heavily promoted in recent years, following the success of Dearborn's Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village; such as the Motown Historical Museum. Tours of Detroit automobile factories and other industrial sites, such as Battle Creek's breakfast-food plants, are also important tourist attractions. The Spirit of Ford, a 50,000 sq ft center in Dearborn, offers a "behind the scenes" look at how the automaker designs, engineers, tests, and produces cars and trucks.

Camping and recreational facilities are provided by the federal government at three national forests comprising 2.8 million acres (1.1 million hectares), three facilities operated by the National Park Service (Isle Royale National Park, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore), and several wildlife sanctuaries. A wild African-style village covering 70 acres (28.3 hectares) at the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek features giraffes, zebras, and ostrich, plus a variety of endangered African species roaming freely on the grassy savannah. Michigan is the only state divided into two partsthe Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsulawhich are connected by the well-known Mackinac Bridge.

State-operated facilities include 64 parks and recreational areas with 172,343 acres (69,747 hectares), and state forests and wildlife areas totaling 4,250,000 acres (1,720,000 hectares). Holland and Warren Dunes state parks, located on Lake Michigan, have the largest annual park attendances; Ludington State Park, also on Lake Michigan, attracts the largest number of campers.


Michigan has five major professional sports teams, all of them centered in Detroit: the Tigers of Major League Baseball, the Lions of the National Football League, the Pistons of the National Basketball Association, the Shock of the Women's National Basketball Association, and the Red Wings of the National Hockey League. The Tigers won the World Series in 1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984. The Pistons won the NBA Championship in 1989, 1990, and 2004. The Red Wings, arguably the most renowned hockey club ever, won the Stanley Cup in 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, and 2002.

The state also has minor league hockey teams in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Motor City, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Plymouth, Port Huron, and Saginaw; and baseball teams in Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Lansing, and Traverse City.

Horse racing, Michigan's oldest organized spectator sport, is controlled by the state racing commissioner, who regulates thoroughbred and harness-racing seasons at tracks in the Detroit area and at Jackson. Attendance and betting at these races is substantial, although the modest purses rarely attract the nation's leading horses. Auto racing is also popular in Michigan. The state hosts four major races: the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, the Michigan 500 Indy car race on the CART circuit, and two NASCAR Nextel Cup races.

Interest in college sports centers on the football and basketball teams of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, which usually are among the top-ranked teams in the country. The University of Michigan football team was named national champion in 1901 (with Harvard), 1902, 1903, 1904 (with Penn), 1918 (with Pittsburgh), 1923 (with Illinois), 1932, 1933, 1947, 1948, and 1997. The team won the Rose Bowl in 1948, 1951, 1965, 1981, 1989, 1993, and 1998, the Citrus Bowl in 1999, and the Orange Bowl in 2000. Michigan State won the Rose Bowl in 1954, 1956, and 1988, and was named national champion in 1952 (with Georgia Tech), 1965 (with Alabama), and 1966 (with Notre Dame). The University of Michigan basketball team won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament in 1989, and Michigan State won it in 1979 and 2000. Michigan also advanced to the championship game in 1965, 1976, 1992, and 1993.

Other colleges also have achieved national rankings in basketball, hockey, baseball, and track. Elaborate facilities have been built for sporting competitions in Michigan; for example the University of Michigan's football stadium, seating 107,501, is one of the largest college-owned stadiums in the country.

Other annual sporting events include the Snowmobile Poker Runs in St. Ignace and, in July, the yacht races from Chicago and Port Huron to Mackinac Island.


Only one Michiganian has held the offices of US president and vice president. Gerald R. Ford (Leslie King Jr., b.Nebraska, 1913), the 38th US president, was elected to the US House as a Republican in 1948 and served continuously until 1973, becoming minority leader in 1965. Upon the resignation of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew in 1973, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Ford to the vice-presidency. When Nixon resigned on 9 August 1974, Ford became president, the first to hold that post without having been elected to high national office. Ford succeeded in restoring much of the public's confidence in the presidency, but his pardoning of Nixon for all crimes he may have committed as president helped cost Ford victory in the presidential election of 1976. Ford subsequently moved his legal residence to California.

Lewis Cass (b.New Hampshire, 17821866), who served as governor of Michigan Territory, senator from Michigan, secretary of war and secretary of state, is the only other Michigan resident nominated by a major party for president; he lost the 1848 race as the Democratic candidate. Thomas E. Dewey (190272), a native of Owosso, was the Republican presidential nominee in 1944 and 1948, but from his adopted state of New York.

Two Michiganians have served as associate justices of the Supreme Court: Henry B. Brown (b.Massachusetts, 18361913), author of the 1896 segregationist decision in Plessy v. Ferguson; and Frank Murphy (18901949), who also served as US attorney general, mayor of Detroit, governor of Michigan, and was a notable defender of minority rights during his years on the court. Another justice, Potter Stewart (191585), was born in Jackson but appointed to the court from Ohio.

Other Michiganians who have held high federal office include Robert McClelland (b.Pennsylvania, 180780), secretary of the interior; Russell A. Alger (b.Ohio, 18361907), secretary of war; Edwin Denby (b.Indiana, 18701929), secretary of the Navy, who was forced to resign because of the Teapot Dome scandal; Roy D. Chapin (18801936), secretary of commerce; Charles E. Wilson (b.Ohio, 18901961), and Robert S. McNamara (b.California, 1916), secretaries of defense; George Romney (b.Mexico, 190796), secretary of housing and urban development; Donald M. Dickinson (b.New York, 18461917) and Arthur E. Summerfield (18991972), postmasters general; and W. Michael Blumenthal (b.Germany, 1926), secretary of the treasury.

Zachariah Chandler (b.New Hampshire, 181379) served as secretary of the interior but is best remembered as a leader of the Radical Republicans in the US Senate during the Civil War era. Other prominent US senators have included James M. Couzens (b.Canada, 18721936), a former Ford executive who became a maverick Republican liberal during the 1920s; Arthur W. Vandenberg (18841951), a leading supporter of a bipartisan internationalist foreign policy After World War II; and Philip A. Hart Jr. (b.Pennsylvania, 191276), one of the most influential senators of the 1960s and 1970s. Recent well-known US representatives include John Conyers Jr. (b.1929) and Martha W. Griffiths (b.Missouri, 19122003), a representative for 20 years who served as the state's lieutenant governor from 198391.

In addition to Murphy and Romney, important governors have included Stevens T. Mason (b.Virginia, 181143), who guided Michigan to statehood; Austin Blair (b.New York, 181894), Civil War governor; Hazen S. Pingree (b.Maine, 18401901) and Chase S. Osborn (b.Indiana, 18601949), reform-minded governors; Alexander Groesbeck (18731953); G. Mennen Williams (191188); and William G. Milliken (b.1922), governor from 1969 to January 1983. From 1974 to 1994, Detroit's first black mayor, Coleman A. Young (b.Alabama, 191897), promoted programs to revive the city's tarnished image.

The most famous figure in the early development of Michigan is Jacques Marquette (b.France, 163775). Other famous historical figures include Charles de Langlade (17291801), a leader of the Ottawa people and a French-Indian soldier in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution; the Ottawa chieftain Pontiac (1720?69), leader of an ambitious Indian uprising; and Gabriel Richard (b.France, 17691832), an important pioneer in education and the first Catholic priest to serve in Congress. Laura Haviland (b.Canada, 180898) was a noted leader in the fight against slavery and for black rights, while Lucinda Hinsdale Stone (b.Vermont, 18141900) and Anna Howard Shaw (b.England, 18471919) were important in the women's rights movement.

Nobel laureates from Michigan include diplomat Ralph J. Bunche (190471), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950; Glenn T. Seaborg (191299), Nobel Prize winner in chemistry in 1951; and Thomas H. Weller (b.1915) and Alfred D. Hershey (190897), Nobel Prize winners in physiology or medicine in 1954 and 1969, respectively. Among leading educators, James B. Angell (b.Rhode Island, 18291916), president of the University of Michigan, led that school to the forefront among American universities while John A. Hannah (190291), longtime president of Michigan State University, successfully strove to expand and diversify its programs. General Motors executive Charles S. Mott (b.New Jersey, 18751973) contributed to the growth of continuing education programs through huge grants of money.

In the business world, William C. Durant (b.Massachusetts, 18611947), Henry Ford (18631947) and Ransom E. Olds (b.Ohio 18641950) are the three most important figures in making Michigan the center of the American auto industry. Ford's grandson, Henry Ford II (191787), was the dominant personality in the auto industry from 1945 through 1979. Two brothers, John Harvey Kellogg (18521943) and Will K. Kellogg (18601951), helped make Battle Creek the center of the breakfast-food industry. William E. Upjohn (18501932) and Herbert H. Dow (b.Canada, 18661930) founded major pharmaceutical and chemical companies that bear their names. James E. Scripps (b.England, 18351906), founder of the Detroit News, was a major innovator in the newspaper business. Pioneer aviator Charles A. Lindbergh (190274) was born in Detroit.

Among prominent labor leaders in Michigan were Walter Reuther (b.West Virginia, 190770), president of the United Automobile Workers, and his controversial contemporary, James Hoffa (b.Indiana, 19131975?), president of the Teamsters Union, whose disappearance and presumed murder remain a mystery.

The best-known literary figures who were either native or adopted Michiganians include Edgar Guest (b.England, 18811959), writer of enormously popular sentimental verses; Ring Lardner (18851933), master of the short story; Edna Ferber (18851968), best-selling novelist; Paul de Kruif (18901971), popular writer on scientific topics; Steward Edward White (18731946), writer of adventure tales; Howard Mumford Jones (18921980), critic and scholar; and Bruce Catton (18991978), Civil War historian.

Other prominent Michiganians past and present include Frederick Stuart Church (18421924), painter; Liberty Hyde Bailey (18581954), horticulturist and botanist; Albert Kahn (b.Germany, 18691942), noted architect and innovator in factory design; and (Gottlieb) Eliel Saarinen (b.Finland, 18731950), architect and creator of the Cranbrook School of Art, and his son Eero (191061), designer of the General Motors Technical Center in Warren and many distinctive structures throughout the United States. Malcolm X (Malcolm Little, b.Nebraska, 192565) developed his black separatist beliefs while living in Lansing.

Popular entertainers born in Michigan include Danny Thomas (Amos Jacobs, 191491), David Wayne (191491), Betty Hutton (b.1921), Ed McMahon (b.1923), Julie Harris (b.1925), Ellen Burstyn (Edna Rae Gilhooley, b.1932), Della Reese (Dellareese Patricia Early, b.1932), William "Smokey" Robinson (b.1940), Diana Ross (b.1944), Bob Seger (b.1945), and Stevie Wonder (Stevland Morris, b.1950), along with film director Francis Ford Coppola (b.1939).

Among sports figures who had notable careers in the state were Fielding H. Yost (b.West Virginia, 18711946), University of Michigan football coach; Joe Louis (Joseph Louis Barrow, b.Alabama, 191481), heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949; "Sugar Ray" Robinson (192189), who held at various times the welterweight and middleweight boxing titles; and baseball Hall of Famers Al Kaline (b.Maryland, 1934) and Tyrus Raymond ("Ty") Cobb (b.Georgia, 18861961), who won 12 batting titles, were Detroit Tigers stars. Earvin "Magic" Johnson (b.1959), who broke Oscar Robertson's record for most assists, was born in Lansing, Michigan.


Ashlee, Laura Rose (ed.). Traveling through Time: A Guide to Michigan's Historical Markers. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

Bak, Richard. A Distant Thunder: Michigan in the Civil War. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Huron River Press, 2004.

Browne, William Paul. Michigan Politics and Government: Facing Change in a Complex State. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

Dunbar, Willis F., and George S. May. Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State. 3rd rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.

Fine, Sidney. Civil Rights and the Michigan Constitution of 1963. Ann Arbor: Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, 1996.

Folsom, Burton W. Empire Builders: How Michigan Entrepreneurs Helped Make America Great. Traverse City, Mich.: Rhodes & Easton, 1998.

Hershock, Martin John. Liberty and Power in the Old Northwest: Michigan, 18501867. N.p., 1996.

Kenyon, Amy Maria. Dreaming Suburbia: Detroit and the Production of Postwar Space and Culture. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2004.

LeBeau, Patrick Russell. Rethinking Michigan Indian History. East Lansing, Mich.: Michigan State University Press, 2005.

Loepp, Daniel. Sharing the Balance of Power: An Examination of Shared Power in the Michigan House of Representatives, 199394. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999.

Moore, Elizabeth. The State We're In: A Citizen's Guide to Michigan State Government. Lansing: League of Women Voters of Michigan, 1995.

Poremba, David Lee. Michigan. Northampton, Mass.: Interlink Books, 2005.

Rubenstein, Bruce A. Michigan, A History of the Great Lakes State. Wheeling, Ill.: Harlan Davidson, 1995.

Sugrue, Thomas J. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton. N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Michigan, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Michigan." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. . 12 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Michigan." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. . (July 12, 2018).

"Michigan." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. . Retrieved July 12, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



MICHIGAN (population 9,938,444 in 2000) is bounded to the west by Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Lake Michigan; to the north by Lake Superior; to the east by Lakes Huron and St. Clair; and to the south by Ohio and Indiana. Though well into the interior of the nation, its two peninsulas are formed by the Great Lakes in such a way that provides an extensive coastline. Known as the "automobile state," its history is far more diverse than that nickname implies.

Government and Strategy, 1622–1796

During the period of exploration and colonial rule, the Michigan area had strategic and commercial value derived from its position in the Great Lakes region. Under the French, and later the British, the area proved an important source of furs easily transported on the extensive natural waterways. Based on early travel accounts, historians know that Samuel de Champlain sent Etienne Bruûlé west along the upper parts of Lake Huron to search for a water route to the Pacific Ocean. Sometime in 1622, they surmise Bruûlé reached the Sault Sainte Marie area. In 1668 the first formal settlement, a mission, was established by Rev. Jacques Marquette at the Sault, followed by a second at St. Ignace in 1671. Shortly thereafter, the French settlers claimed the land for Louis XIV. To secure their hold on the emerging and lucrative fur trade, the French Crown

established forts at strategic points. Fort Ponchartrain at Detroit (meaning the straits), established in 1701, was the first permanent French settlement in the Lower Peninsula. Antoine de Cadillac established the fort and settlement as a fur center.

French control over the area passed to the British in 1763, who fortified Detroit and outposts at Michilimackinac. In 1780, in response to the revolution in the thirteen colonies, the British established a fortification at Mackinac Island that still stands today.

At the time of American independence, the area of Michigan was very much on the frontier. In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance made Michigan a part of the newly established Northwest Territory. In 1794, an American force under the command of Anthony Wayne defeated a British-inspired Native American confederacy. Although the British formally ceded the area of Michigan to the United States through the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the British did not actually leave Fort Mackinac and Detroit until 1796. Only then were the political institutions recognized by the Northwest Territory gradually implemented. By 1803, Michigan had become a part of the Indiana Territory. On 1 July 1805, in response to the petitions of Detroit residents, Congress authorized the creation of the Michigan Territory, with Detroit designated as its capital.

Agriculture and Market, 1796–1850

Though John Jacob Astor founded the American Fur Company with headquarters on Mackinac Island in 1808, the fur trade that had been the economic basis for European settlement in the Michigan area was already in decline. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, a project was begun to survey the lands of southern Michigan. Today's grid of townships was first laid out by the Surveyor General of the United States. Land offices opened in Detroit and Monroe, where settlers could purchase a substantial farm for a very modest cost. The value of this opportunity increased enormously in 1825 when the Erie Canal opened to traffic and linked Michigan lands to the lucrative markets of the Northeast. The response was dramatic, as many chose to move to Michigan from the exhausted lands of upper New York State and elsewhere. Between 1820 and 1840, the population of European origin in Michigan increased from 8,767 to 212,267. Most of the settlement was east to west in the lower part of the state along the Chicago Road, which was developed between 1825 and 1835. Ann Arbor, Marshall, and Kalamazoo were among the market towns that were established. The prospects for farming in Michigan were promoted abroad by real estate interests, which attracted a diverse group of settlers that included Irish, German, and Dutch immigrants. These settlers brought with them a variety of religious beliefs and institutions. This diversity would continue to increase in scope and complexity throughout the subsequent history of the state.

The rapid population growth propelled arguments for statehood, and in 1835 it was authorized by territorial election. However, contention over the border with Ohio, finally resolved by the so-called Toledo War, delayed statehood to 1837 and ensured the inclusion of the Upper Peninsula as part of the new state. Stevens T. Mason, who had been appointed at the age of 19 in 1831 to succeed Lewis Cass as territorial governor, was appointed first governor of the new state in 1837. The new constitution provided for a university to be established, and offers of land were received from a number of towns. Ann Arbor was chosen for the institution. In 1817, three Native American tribes donated lands to the territorial university established in Detroit, but were sold to benefit the new campus in Ann Arbor. The spread of population across the lower part of state made Detroit impractical as a state capitol, and, after considerable debate, the more centrally located city of Lansing was selected in 1847.

Extracting Timber and Minerals, 1850–1910

Agriculture in Michigan flourished in the southern most part of the state. However, with the expansion of a rail network and a good supply of Great Lakes shipping vessels, the state was in an excellent position to move heavier raw materials with relative ease. The lands in the northern two thirds of the state remained largely untouched and covered with timber. By 1860, Michigan had more than 800 timber mills and was shipping forest products throughout the Northeast. At its peak, in the years around 1890, Michigan was producing more than $60 million in timber per year. The lumber industry was largely homegrown, which meant that the revenue generated would remain, for the most part, in the state. Such was not the case with minerals extracted in the upper part of the state.

One of the first acts of the new state legislature was to commission Douglas Houghton, professor at the state chartered university in Ann Arbor, to survey the geologic resources of Michigan. Houghton noted large deposits of copper in the Upper Peninsula. In 1844, iron was discovered. By the late 1860s, rail transport made it possible to move the iron and copper. The capital for many of the mines and the transport infrastructure came from the eastern states, most notably Massachusetts. Consequently, a significant portion of returns on those investments went east. By the late nineteenth century, copper and iron production nearly equaled the value of lumber production.

This extractive economy had a profound impact on the state. Whole cities were established to serve as centers for the finance and distribution of these raw materials. Bay City, Saginaw, and Traverse City, for example, were established as lumber centers. Houghton, Hancock, Marquette, and others were mining centers. The mines and the lumber trade drew immigrants from Italy, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Ireland, among others.

The state's population was as diverse as any in the nation. As such, tensions were a part of the political landscape. In the mid-nineteenth century, nativist and anti Catholic sentiment led to internal dissension in both the Whig and Democratic Parties. In 1854, a new political coalition, the Republican Party, emerged more tolerant and opposed to the extension of slavery. This new party would dominate politics in the state until the depression of the 1930s. At the time of the Civil War, Michigan supported the Union cause, sending ninety thousand men into service.

By the dawn of the twentieth century, the state's population had surged to 2,240,982, with more than 40 percent foreign-born or children of foreign-born. There were tensions with in various groups. For example, the Dutch split between Christian Reformed and the Reformed Church in America in the mid-nineteenth century. The Polish community was split over the Kolasinski affair in the 1890s. There were conflicts with in the German community at the time of World War I, chronicled in the pages of the daily Detroiter Abend-Post.

Automobile and Manufacturing, 1910 to the Present

Many manufacturing centers had been established in Michigan before the appearance of the automobile in the state. Most notably, Grand Rapids had emerged by the 1870s as a national center for furniture. Drawing from local and imported sources of lumber, as well as a population of expert craftsmen, its furniture could be shipped by rail to most destinations in the country. Kalamazoo had paper manufacturers, Battle Creek had health food factories that became the foundation for its famed breakfast food industry, and Detroit had factories that made rail cars, stoves, and other goods. However, it was only with the emergence of the automobile that Michigan became known as an urban industrial state.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Ransom Olds, Henry Ford, Henry Leland, David Buick, and Roy Chapin were among many in the state working on the idea of attaching a motor to wheels to make a personal transport vehicle. There were others working with the concept out-side the state, but with well-established engine works and carriage manufacturers in Michigan, along with a transport infrastructure in place, the state was an ideal place to pursue these ideas on a large scale.

The auto manufacturers in Michigan came to dominate the industry through innovation and organization. Henry Ford's application of the assembly line so transformed the economies of production that what had been an expensively crafted luxury good became a mass-produced consumer good with in reach of a large segment of the population. This innovation, more than any other, led to the dominance of Michigan in the automobile industry. Several independent auto producers amalgamated under a corporate framework called General Motors (conceived by William Durant of Flint, Michigan), and it, too, realized economies of scale and market power that raised significantly the barriers to entry for new mass producers of automobiles. By 1920, the automotive industry in Michigan employed 127,000 and had an output valued at $1,330,000,000.

While Michigan was well known as a manufacturing state by the 1920s, it was only in the 1940s that the world would come to realize the enormous industrial capacity of the state. In 1940, at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, William Knudsen, then president of General Motors, directed the changeover of the auto plants to war production. The production output of tanks and planes earned the state the appellation "arsenal of democracy."

The transformation of Michigan from an agricultural and extractive economy to one of the leading industrial economies of the world was not without stress and cultural tensions. The demand for labor to work in the new auto factories and then to sustain production during two world wars brought a huge influx of workers into the state. These were from nearly every country in the world, but most notably Canada, Poland, and Germany. In response, many in the state embraced new ideas of the Progressive Era, which manifested in programs of change and reform as well as restriction and control. Hazen Pingree, as mayor of Detroit in the 1870s, was an early proponent of government regulation of public transport and utilities. Chase Osborn, a Progressive governor (1911–1912), introduced the concept of workers' compensation to the state, among other reform measures. The Detroit Citizens League, the Grand Rapids Furniture Manufacturers Association, and other groups formed to protect the interests of the urban elite in the face of changes brought on by rapid urban industrial growth.

The Detroit Urban League, along with a host of ethnic and church-based associations, helped maintain individual and group identities. These organizations structured urban and town life with a focus on assimilation. The demand for workers was so strong during World War II that many people, both white and African American, migrated from the South to work in the factories. Though always a diverse state, Michigan by 1940 was among the most diverse in the country. With boom and bust cycles in the industrial economy, combined with cultures of intolerance, the population had its stresses—most notably manifested in the Detroit racial disturbances of 1943. There was also an elegance that emerged in Detroit and other cities in the 1920s. Detroit, a prosperous city and the fourth largest in America, built monuments, parks, museums, libraries, office towers, and great estates. During this time, stately houses were built in Grosse Pointe, Flint, Pontiac, Grand Rapids, and other industrial towns emblematic of the fruits of the new automobile industry. With railroads and highways leading north, grand houses and hotels appeared on the lakeshore along the coastline of Upper Michigan, a precursor to the vigorous travel industry that would emerge in the later half of the twentieth century.

As the industrial capacity of the state developed, so, too, did the size of the labor force. There had been tensions from the start, as indicated by the Grand Rapids Furniture strike of 1912, and the attempts to unionize the cereal industry in Battle Creek. Michigan became a real bulwark for the labor movement, with the establishment of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) in 1935. There had been a series of strikes and protests brought on by the severe economic depression of the 1930s. However, the "sit-down strike" of 1936–1937 in Flint was the event that brought recognition to the UAW as the sole bargaining representative for workers at General Motors. Soon thereafter, the union represented all workers employed with Ford Motor Company and other smaller firms.

By the 1930s, Michigan had an enormous industrial capacity. As a result, the effects of the depression were particularly difficult. A variety of voices emerged in the state. Frank Murphy became an early advocate of New Deal reform, first as mayor of Detroit (1930–1933) and later as governor (1937–1938). He eagerly worked with Franklin D. Roosevelt to establish governmental assistance to the many unemployed and dislocated. Another voice that arose from Detroit was that of Rev. Charles Coughlin. This Roman Catholic priest, from his pulpit in Royal Oak, Michigan, gained a huge national following for his radio broadcasts. At first a supporter of the New Deal, he was later discredited as his critiques became more harsh and anti-Semitic. Henry Ford, too, weighed in with extensive critiques in his Dearborn Independent, pushing his own particular notions of American values, which he was able to exemplify in his three-dimensional recreation of the ideal American environment at his museum he called "Greenfield Village."

The end of World War II brought a rebirth of the strength of the Democratic Party in the state. Neil Staebler was the architect of a new strategy of reaching out to each segment of the population, combined with a high sense of morality in politics. G. Mennen Williams, known as "Soapy" because he was heir to the Mennen soap fortune, was the party's candidate for governor in 1948. Narrowly elected, he was able to establish the newly defined party and stay in office for six consecutive terms through 1960. Among his many achievements was the completion of the bridge at the straits of Mackinac in 1957, which linked the two peninsulas of the state.

Unionization proved an economic benefit for the state and set the foundation for middle-class prosperity that had a huge impact on Flint, Pontiac, Ypsilanti, as well as Detroit and its suburbs. The post–World War II economy was booming, bringing higher wages, new roads, and the automobile, significantly changing the urban and social landscape of the state. Many people in the cities relocated to the newly developed suburbs. The movement involved prosperous white residents almost entirely, leaving older residents and those of African American descent with in the city limits. This exacerbated a racial divide that increasingly defined city and state politics. The population of Detroit began to decline until, in the year 2000, it was nearly half its high point of 1,849,568 in 1950. New shopping malls siphoned the retail trade from the city centers. The once elegant streets of downtown Flint, Grand Rapids, and Detroit became relatively sparsely populated.

This isolation of race and poverty with in the cities erupted in a series of violent confrontations in 1967. Detroit's riot captured national attention; there were also disturbances in Pontiac, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Kalamazoo, all of which further encouraged the abandonment of the cities. At the same time, throughout the latter half of the twentieth century the state population steadily grew, mostly in new suburban subdivisions, to the point that cities such as Southfield, Birmingham, Troy, Ann Arbor, and East Grand Rapids took on functions formerly associated with older urban downtowns. Also, a general prosperity in the Midwest increased the demand for lakefront property. A continuing building boom transformed Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, Traverse City, and Alpena.

The prosperity of the state, however, suffered in the later decades of the twentieth century. The lumber was exhausted, as were the mines of the Upper Peninsula. The value of agricultural production was at the same level as in the 1920s. The furniture industry had moved south, and foreign competition had severely challenged the automotive industry. Michigan became the very symbol of the "rust belt," with aging factories and a seeming inability to compete in a new global economy. Under George Romney and William Milliken, the Republican Party controlled the governorship from 1963 through 1983. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the state's economy was in deep recession. A split in the state's Republican Party led to the election of the Democrat James Blanchard as the state continued a struggle to regain competitiveness in its old industries, while trying to diversify its economic base. In 1990, Republicans regained the governorship under John Engler, a representative of the more conservative wing of the party. His program of vigorous cost cutting and welfare reform, combined with the general economic boom in the country as a whole, restored Michigan to the point that, in 1993, it had achieved more growth than any industrial state in the union.

By the turn of the twenty-first century, the economy had rebounded due to the internationalization of the automobile industry, the development of high-tech activities, and the persistent growth of the tourist industry based on the state's extensive lakeshore. Michigan contained a large number of prosperous towns, characterized by new office buildings and a high rate of new residential construction. There were important initiatives to revive old downtowns, most notably with new cultural facilities in Grand Rapids and Detroit; the latter city also built a new stadium for major league baseball. The new century, however, brought new challenges. A stalled economy revived the need for cost cutting in state government and in the corporate sector. The effects of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on 11 September 2001 had a particular impact on the state of Michigan, which, in Dearborn, had the largest Arab American community in the country. The slowed economy, coupled with the national tragedies, again focused attention on the diversity of Michigan's population and on the historic reliance of the state on a single industry.


Dunbar, Willis, and George May. Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State. 3d rev. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1995.

Kern, John. A Short History of Michigan. Lansing: Michigan Department of State, 1977.

Hathaway, Richard J., ed. Michigan: Visions of Our Past. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1989.

Poremba, David Lee, ed. Detroit in Its World Setting: A Three-Hundred Year Chronology. Detroit, Mich.: Wayne State University Press, 2001.

Francis X.Blouin

See alsoAutomobile Industry ; Michigan, Upper Peninsula of ; University of Michigan .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Michigan." Dictionary of American History. . 12 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Michigan." Dictionary of American History. . (July 12, 2018).

"Michigan." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved July 12, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


Michigan (mĬsh´Ĭgən), upper midwestern state of the United States. It consists of two peninsulas thrusting into the Great Lakes and has borders with Ohio and Indiana (S), Wisconsin (W), and the Canadian province of Ontario (N,E).

Facts and Figures

Area, 58,216 sq mi (150,779 sq km). Pop. (2010) 9,883,640, a .6% decrease since the 2000 census. Capital, Lansing. Largest city, Detroit. Statehood, Jan. 26, 1837 (26th state). Highest pt., Mt. Curwood, 1,980 ft (604 m); lowest pt., Lake Erie, 572 ft (174 m). Nickname, Wolverine State. Motto,Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice [If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look about You]. State bird, robin. State flower, apple blossom. State tree, white pine. Abbr., Mich.; MI


The Lower Peninsula, shaped like a mitten, is separated from Ontario, Canada, on the east by Lake Erie and Lake Huron, and by the Detroit River and the St. Clair River, which together link these two Great Lakes. It is bordered by Lake Michigan on the west, across which lies Wisconsin. The Upper Peninsula lies northeast of Wisconsin between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, and is separated from Ontario by the narrow St. Marys River.

The Upper Peninsula. known as the U.P. (its residents call themselves Yoopers), is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac; a bridge connecting the two peninsulas was opened in 1957 and has spurred the development of the Upper Peninsula. The eastern portion of the Upper Peninsula has swampy flats and limestone hills on the Lake Michigan shore, while sandstone ridges rise abruptly from the rough waters of Lake Superior; in the west the land rises to forested mountains, still rich in copper and iron.

The northern Michigan wilds, numerous inland lakes, and some 3,000 mi (4,800 km) of shoreline, combined with a pleasantly cool summer climate, have long attracted vacationers. In the winter Michigan's snow-covered hills bring skiers from all over the Midwest. Places of interest in the state include Greenfield Village, a re-creation of a 19th-century American village, and the Henry Ford Museum, both at Dearborn; Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes national lakeshores; and Isle Royal National Park.

Lansing is the capital, and Detroit is the largest city. Other major cities are Grand Rapids, Sterling Heights, Warren, Flint, and Ann Arbor.


The Upper Peninsula is northern woods country, with what has been described as "ten months of winter and two months of poor sledding." The abundance of furred animals and forests early attracted fur traders and lumberjacks. Animals were trapped out, virgin forests were stripped, and, in addition, pure copper and high-grade iron ore were rapidly wrested from the earth, so that virtually all of the Upper Peninsula's mines have been closed. Deer, bear, and other game in the forests, as well as abundant fish in streams and lakes, keep the area a rich hunting and fishing ground. Selective cutting and replanting of trees are now employed in the second-growth forests.

The Lower Peninsula is less wild, but in parts no less beautiful, than the Upper. Its forests were also cut over in the lumber boom of the late 19th cent., when Michigan was briefly the world leader in lumber production. The soil of these cut-over lands, unlike the productive earth in other areas of the Lower Peninsula, proved generally unsuitable for agriculture, and reforestation has been undertaken.

The Lower Peninsula has its own mineral riches, including gypsum, sandstone, limestone, salt, cement, sand, and gravel, but its great wealth lies in the many farms and factories. The surrounding waters temper the climate, providing a long growing season. Fields of grain and corn cover much of the southern counties, and Michigan's noted fruit belt lines the shore of Lake Michigan (the state leads the nation in the production of cherries). Dairying is the most lucrative farm business. Corn is the chief crop, followed by greenhouse products, soybeans, apples, carrots, celery, cucumbers, and other vegetables.

Manufacturing accounts for 30% of Michigan's economic production, more than twice as much as any other sector. The manufacture of automobiles and transportation equipment is by far the state's chief industry, and Detroit, Dearborn, Flint, Pontiac, and Lansing are historic centers of automobile production, although the industry is now in dramatic decline throughout the state. The automobile industry's mass-production methods, developed here, were the core of the early-20th-century industrial revolution. Other Michigan manufactures include nonelectrical machinery, fabricated metal products, primary metals, chemicals, and food products. Among Michigan's most important industrial centers are Saginaw, Bay City, Muskegon, and Jackson. The chemical industry in Midland is one of the nation's largest; Kalamazoo is an important paper-manufacturing and pharmaceuticals center; Grand Rapids is noted for its furniture, and Battle Creek for its breakfast foods.

Although mining contributes less to income in the state than either agriculture or manufacturing, Michigan still has important nonfuel mineral production, chiefly of iron ore, cement, sand, and gravel, and is a leading producer of peat, bromine, calcium-magnesium chloride, gypsum, and magnesium compounds. Abundant natural beauty and excellent fishing help to make tourism a major Michigan industry. Michigan's historic lack of manufacturing diversity has made it particularly susceptible to the fluctuations of the national economy, and in recent years it has tried to diversify, attracting high-technology industry and developing the service sector.

Government and Higher Education

Michigan's constitution, adopted in 1963, provides for a governor serving a term of four years, who may be reelected. The state legislature is made up of a senate with 38 members and a house of representatives with 110 members. Michigan sends 14 representatives and 2 senators to the U.S. Congress and has 16 electoral votes in presidential elections. John Engler, a Republican, was elected governor in 1990 and reelected in 1994 and 1998. In 2002, a Democrat, Jennifer Granholm, was elected to succeed him; she was reelected in 2006. Republican Rick Snyder was elected to the office in 2010.

Institutions of higher education include the Univ. of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint; Michigan State Univ., at East Lansing; the Univ. of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State Univ., at Detroit; Western Michigan Univ. and Kalamazoo College, at Kalamazoo; Eastern Michigan Univ., at Ypsilanti; Northern Michigan Univ., at Marquette; Central Michigan Univ., at Mt. Pleasant; and many other private and state colleges.


Native Americans and French Explorers

The Ojibwa, the Ottawa, the Potawatomi, and other Algonquian-speaking Native American groups were living in Michigan when the French explorer Étienne Brulé landed at the narrows of Sault Ste. Marie in 1618, probably the first European to have reached present Michigan. Later French explorers, traders, and missionaries came, including Jean Nicolet, who was searching for the Northwest Passage; Jacques Marquette, who founded a mission in the Mackinac region; and the empire builder, Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, who came on the Griffon, the first ship to sail the Great Lakes. French posts were scattered along the lakes and the rivers, and Mackinac Island (in the Straits of Mackinac) became a center of the fur trade. Fort Pontchartrain, later Detroit, was founded in 1701 by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. The vast region was weakly held by France until lost to Great Britain in the last conflict (1754–63) of the French and Indian Wars.

Resistance to British Occupation

The Native Americans of Michigan, who had lived in peace with the French, resented the coming of the British, who were the allies of the much-hated Iroquois tribes. Under Pontiac they revolted (see Pontiac's Rebellion) against the British occupation. The rebellion, which began in 1763, was short-lived, ending in 1766, and the Native Americans subsequently supported the British during the American Revolution. Native American resistance to U.S. control was effectively ended at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 with the victory of Gen. Anthony Wayne. Despite provisions of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution (1783; see Paris, Treaty of), the British held stubbornly to Detroit and Mackinac until 1796.

After passage of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, Michigan became part of the Northwest Territory. However, even after the Northwest Territory was broken up and Detroit was made (1805) capital of Michigan Territory, British agents still maintained great influence over the Native Americans, who fought on the British side in the War of 1812. In that war Mackinac and Detroit fell almost immediately to the British as a result of the ineffective control of U.S. Gen. William Hull and his troops. Michigan remained in British hands through most of the war until Gen. William Henry Harrison in the battle of Thames and Oliver Hazard Perry in the battle of Lake Erie restored U.S. control.

Settlement and Statehood

After peace came, pioneers moved into Michigan. The policy of pushing Native Americans westward and opening the lands for settlement was largely due to the efforts of Gen. Lewis Cass, who was governor of Michigan Territory (1813–31) and later a U.S. Senator. Steamboat navigation on the Great Lakes and sale of public lands in Detroit both began in 1818, and the Erie Canal was opened in 1825. Farmers came to the Michigan fields, and the first sawmills were built along the rivers.

The move toward statehood was slowed by the desire of Ohio and Indiana to absorb parts of present S Michigan, and by the opposition of southern states to the admission of another free state. The Michigan electorate organized a government without U.S. sanction and in 1836 operated as a state, although outside the Union. To resolve the boundary dispute Congress proposed that the Toledo strip be ceded to Ohio and Indiana with compensation to Michigan of land in the Upper Peninsula. Though the Michigan electorate rejected the offer, a group of Democratic leaders accepted it, and by their acceptance Michigan became a state in 1837. (The admission of Arkansas as a slaveholding state offset that of Michigan as a free state.) Detroit served as the capital until 1847, when it was replaced by Lansing.

After statehood, Michigan promptly adopted a program of internal improvement through the building of railroads, roads, and canals, including the Soo Locks Ship Canal at Sault Ste. Marie. At the same time lumbering was expanding, and the population grew as German, Irish, and Dutch immigrants arrived. In 1854 the Republican party was organized at Jackson, Mich. During the Civil War, Michigan fought on the side of the Union, contributing 90,000 troops to the cause.

Reform Movements

After the war the state remained firmly Republican until 1882. Then Michigan farmers, moved by the same financial difficulties and outrage at high transportation and storage rates that aroused other Western farmers, supported movements advocating agrarian interests, such as the Granger movement and the Greenback party. The farmers joined with the growing numbers of workers in the mines and lumber camps to elect a Greenback-Democratic governor in 1882 and succeeded in getting legislation passed for agrarian improvement and public welfare.

Reforms influenced by the labor movement were the creation of a state board of labor (1883), a law enforcing a 10-hr day (1885), and a moderate child-labor law (1887). The lumbering business, with its yield of wealth to the timber barons, declined to virtual inactivity. Some of the loggers joined the ranks of industrial workers, which were further swelled by many Polish and Norwegian immigrants.

Assembly Lines and Labor Strife

With the invention of the automobile and the construction of automotive plants, industry in Michigan was altered radically. Henry Ford established the Ford Motor Company in 1903 and introduced conveyor-belt assembly lines in 1918. General Motors and the Chrysler Corporation were established shortly after Ford. Along with the development of mass-production methods came the growth of the labor movement. In the 1930s, when the automobile industry was well established in the state, labor unions struggled for recognition. The conflict between labor and the automotive industry, which continued into the 1940s, included sit-down strikes and was sometimes violent. Walter Reuther, a pioneer of the labor movement, was elected president of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) in 1946.

In World War II Michigan produced large numbers of tanks, airplanes, and other war matériel. Industrial production again expanded after the Korean War broke out in 1950, and the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959 increased export trade by bringing many oceangoing vessels to the port of Detroit. In the early 1960s, however, economic growth lagged and unemployment became a problem in the state.

Racial Tensions and Recession

Detroit was shaken by severe race riots in 1967 that left 43 persons dead and many injured, in addition to causing $200 million in damage. In the wake of the rioting, programs were undertaken to improve housing facilities and job opportunities in the city, but these failed as the city suffered massive outmigration. While Detroit deteriorated, the suburbs experienced dramatic growth, spreading throughout SE Michigan. Resistance to busing was a major political issue in the state in the early 1970s.

The state's dependence on the auto industry was exhibited during the recession of the early 1980s, when car sales slumped, many factories were closed and Michigan's unemployment rate at over 15% was the nation's highest. The federal government helped bail out the Chrysler Corporation in 1979, authorizing $1.5 billion in loan guarantees. After a brief period of recovery through limited diversification of the state economy, Michigan was again especially hard hit by national recession and continuing foreign competition in the early 1990s, and it continued to suffer large, mainly auto-related manufacturing job losses over the next two decades. The financial difficulties arising in large part from the effects of those job losses led Detroit to file for municipal bankruptcy in 2013.


See J. A. Door, Jr., and D. F. Eschman, Geology of Michigan (1970); A. R. Gilpin, Territory of Michigan, 1805–1887 (1971); R. A. Santer, Michigan: Heart of the Great Lakes (1977); L. M. Sommers, ed., Atlas of Michigan (1977) and et al., Michigan: A Geography (1984). B. Blenz, The Encyclopedia of Michigan (1981); B. Rubenstein and L. Ziewacz, Michigan (1981).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Michigan." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 12 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Michigan." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (July 12, 2018).

"Michigan." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 12, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Ann Arbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207

Detroit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219

Grand Rapids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235

Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247

Lansing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259

The State in Brief

Nickname: Wolverine State; Great Lakes State

Motto: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you)

Flower: Apple blossom

Bird: Robin

Area: 96,716 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 11th)

Elevation: 572 feet to 1,980 feet above sea level

Climate: Temperate with well-defined seasons, tempered by surrounding water; colder in upper peninsula

Admitted to Union: January 26, 1837

Capital: Lansing

Head Official: Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) (until 2007)


1980: 9,262,000

1990: 9,368,000

2000: 9,938,480

2004 estimate: 10,112,620

Percent change, 19902000: 6.9%

U.S. rank in 2004: 8th

Percent of residents born in state: 75.4% (2000)

Density: 175 people per square mile (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 389,366

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 7,966,053

Black or African American: 1,412,742

American Indian and Alaska Native: 58,479

Asian: 176,510

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 2,692

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 323,877

Other: 129,552

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 672,005

Population 5 to 19 years old: 2,212,060

Percent of population 65 years and over: 12.3%

Median age: 35.5 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 131,024

Total number of deaths (2003): 86,644 (infant deaths, 1,130)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 5,584


Major industries: Manufacturing; trade; agriculture; finance, insurance, and real estate; services

Unemployment rate: 6.9% (March 2005)

Per capita income: $31,196 (2003; U.S. rank: 20th)

Median household income: $45,176 (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 10.8% (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Income tax rate: 4.0%

Sales tax rate: 6.0%

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Michigan." Cities of the United States. . 12 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Michigan." Cities of the United States. . (July 12, 2018).

"Michigan." Cities of the United States. . Retrieved July 12, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


Michigan State in n central USA, bordered by four of the Great Lakes; the capital is Lansing. The largest city is Detroit. First settled by the French in the 17th century, the region was ceded to Britain after the Seven Years' War. The British finally left the area in 1796, and Michigan became a US territory in 1805, achieving full statehood in 1837. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 aided its growth, but the real industrial boom came with the development of the motor vehicle industry in the early 20th century. Michigan is made up of two peninsulas separated by the Straits of Mackinac, which connect lakes Michigan and Huron. The Upper Peninsula has swampland on the ne lake shore and mountains in the w. Copper and iron ore are mined and timber is a valuable resource. The Lower Peninsula is also forested and mineral deposits include oil, gypsum, sandstone, and limestone. In the s cereal crops are cultivated and livestock rearing is important. The Lower Peninsula has most of Michigan's population. Industries: motor vehicles, primary and fabricated metals, chemicals, food products. Area: 150,544sq km (58,110sq mi). Pop. (2000) 9,938,444.

Statehood :

January 26, 1837

Nickname :

Wolverine State

State bird :


State flower :

Apple blossom

State tree :

White pine

State motto :

If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you;

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Michigan." World Encyclopedia. . 12 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Michigan." World Encyclopedia. . (July 12, 2018).

"Michigan." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 12, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Strategically located on four of the Great Lakes, the state of Michigan was carved out of the old Northwest Territory. Before the advent of good roads and waterways it was known as a remote, wild place full of dense forests. By the mid-1800s, however, when settlers cleared the land and began to make it habitable, Michigan represented what historian Bruce Catton called the "great American feeling of being en route to the unknown, to something new." With a forested, still somewhat undeveloped area in the north, the state now owes much of its economic health to its own industrialized south, particularly to the automobile industry headquartered in Detroit.

In the 1600s the French were the earliest explorers of present-day Michigan, among them Etienne Brul and Jean Nicolet. Father Jacques Marquette established trading posts at Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace. Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac also established the settlement which later became Detroit. In this period Native Americans such as the Hurons, the Miamis, and the Potawatomis were important furtrading partners with white settlers.

The fur trade, however, did not really encourage the growth of Detroit or Michigan. The area Ottawa chief, Pontiac, led several tribes in an uprising against the British. Pontiac's Conspiracy (1763) succeeded in capturing many British garrisons and the fort at Detroit, but as the Indian tribal alliance weakened the British were able to regain their holdings. The populace in what would later become Michigan sided with the British during the American Revolution (17751783), fearing that a massive influx of American settlers would destroy the fur trade as land was cleared for farming. Although Americans had nominal control of Michigan by terms of the Treaty of Paris after 1783, the British continued to occupy the territory for 13 years. A part of the new Northwest Territory, the region came into full U.S. possession in 1796.

During the War of 1812 (18121814) the region became a center of battles between the Americans and British, who refused to accept American sovereignty over the area. The territory was finally in the hands of the United States in 1814. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 marked the beginning of a push to settle southern Michigan territory by allowing an inexpensive, convenient route from New York City to Michigan. As the fur trade diminished, so did the value of the Native Americans to the non-indigenous population, and gradually most Indian lands were ceded to the federal government. A few tribes stayed on reservations within the territory. Following the "Toledo War" of 1835, ( which settled the question of whether Toledo would be part of Michigan or Ohio) Michigan territory was granted the upper peninsula in exchange for land that it had claimed in northern Ohio. Michigan was granted statehood in 1837.

As the fur traders had feared, farmers soon began to clear land in Michigan. By 1850, 85 percent of the population in the lower peninsula was dependent on farming in some way. Soon northern areas of Michigan were also being exploited for their vast timber supplies, as well as for their rich mineral deposits. Millions of tons of iron ore were extracted near Marquette and Houghton in the upper peninsula, and copper was mined on the Keweenaw Peninsula. The transportation of iron ore and copper to markets in south Michigan and development of the rest of the country was facilitated by the opening of a canal in 1855 to bypass rapids at Sault Ste. Marie.

At first transportation routes in the state were primarily on Lakes Michigan, Superior, Huron, and Erie, each of which touched Michigan. The first railroad was chartered in Michigan in 1830, but until after the American Civil War (18611865), railroad construction was slow in the state compared to other states. Until automobiles came into widespread use in the 1920s, many interurban lines connected cities in southern Michigan. In fact, most mass transportation was decimated by the advent of the automobile until public transit systems began to make a comeback in the 1970s with the help of the federal government. A boon to transportation in the state was the opening of the Mackinac Bridge in 1957, connecting the lower and upper peninsulas. In addition, the St. Lawrence Seaway, opened in 1959, brought many oceangoing ships to Michigan ports.

As timber and minerals began to be depleted in the late nineteenth century, industry took on new importance in the state. The city of Battle Creek became the center of the cereal industry with the establishment of the Post and Kellogg companies. Dow Chemical and Upjohn also became major producers of chemicals and drugs during this period. Grand Rapids produced furniture, and Kalamazoo had paper mills.

However, the automobile industry became the real lifeblood of Michigan. Just after the turn of the century the first "horseless carriage" in the state was produced by Ransom E. Olds, followed by the first Cadillac and the first Ford. William Durant made General Motors a success; Henry Ford produced the first Model T in 1908 and introduced the first assembly line several years later. The Chrysler Corporation was established in 1925.

As more and more people bought new automobiles, more concrete highways were being built, producing an even higher demand for automobiles. In the 1930s, however, when the nation's economy collapsed during the Great Depression (19291939), over half of Michigan's factory workers were unemployed. This desperate situation, along with ineffective management by Republicans at the state and national levels, helped to precipitate the rise of labor unions in the state. In 19361937 the massive sit-down strike staged by the United Auto Workers (UAW), an affiliate of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), signaled the growing strength of unions in the auto industry. By 1941 the UAW had organized the entire industry and the state, as a whole, had become pro-union. The population of Michigan, moreover, was increasingly centered in its cities, primarily in Detroit and the southern part of the state. As industry took over the economy, the northern two-thirds of the state lost population and became increasingly economically depressed.

Due to the strong influence of unions in Michigan, politics was dominated by the Democratic party, until Republicans captured the state House in 1962. They held on to power until 1982, when Michigan was seized with a serious recession, causing more than 15 percent unemployment in the state. The recession's effect on the auto industry was devastating. American car makers had not foreseen that the public was losing interest in large, gas-hungry vehicles. In addition, Japanese car companies were making serious inroads into the American car market. The Chrysler Corporation was granted a $1.2 billion federal grant to avoid bankruptcy in 1979, thousands of autoworkers left the state, and many auto-related industries closed their doors. The state's tax base was reduced, causing massive reductions in the state budget in 1983.

This downturn, of course, was due to the state's heavy dependence on the auto industry. By the late 1980s, as the industry slowly began to recover, attempts were being made to diversify the economy. The number of factory workers dropped by 30 percent in the ten years after 1970, while new jobs were created in the engineering and technology fields as companies turned to more automation. At the same time, the service and wholesale-retail sectors began to grow. The state government, General Motors, and the UAW all applied significant funds to job retraining programs. Still, by the mid-1990s, the manufacture of transportation equipment was still the most important industry in Michigan; 28 percent of all U.S. automobiles were still being produced in the state, but the unemployment rate was decreasing steadily.

Despite the economic ups and downs that the state had experienced, it remained a favorable location for workers. Strong labor unions, which count over 24 percent of all workers and 34 percent of factory workers as members, have kept wages and benefits high. The per capita income in 1996 was nearly $25,000, ranking Michigan sixteenth among all states. Next to manufacturing, agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, ranking 20th in the nation in income. Attractions such as the Great Lakes, inland lakes and forests, and historic sites such as Dearborn's Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village also make tourism very important to the economy of Michigan.

See also: Automobile Industry, Chrysler Corporation, William Durant, Erie Canal, Henry Ford, General Motors, Model T


Bald, F.C. Michigan in Four Centuries, rev. ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1961.

Catton, Bruce. Michigan: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1976.

Dunbar, Willis F., and George S. May. Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State, 3rd rev. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995.

Fuller, George N., ed. Michigan: A Centennial History of the State. 5 vols. Chicago: Lewis, 1939.

Rubenstein, Bruce A. Michigan, A History of the Great Lakes State. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1995.

it is not possible to tell the story of [michigan] without putting the internal combustion engine, the rubber tire, and the white desert-ribbons of the concrete highway on to the center of the stage.

bruce catton, michigan: a bicentennial history, 1976

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Michigan." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . 12 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Michigan." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . (July 12, 2018).

"Michigan." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Retrieved July 12, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


Michigan •deafen •griffon, stiffen •antiphon •hyphen, siphon •often, soften •orphan • ibuprofen •roughen, toughen •colophon •dragon, flagon, lagan, pendragon, wagon •snapdragon • bandwagon • jargon •Megan •Copenhagen, pagan, Reagan •Nijmegen •Antiguan, Egan, Keegan, Regan, vegan •Wigan • cardigan • Milligan • polygon •hooligan • mulligan • ptarmigan •Branigan • Oregon • Michigan •Rattigan •tigon, trigon •toboggan •Glamorgan, gorgon, Morgan, morgen, organ •Brogan, hogan, Logan, slogan •Cadogan • decagon •Aragon, paragon, tarragon •hexagon • pentagon • heptagon •octagon • Bergen • Spitsbergen

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Michigan." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . 12 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Michigan." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . (July 12, 2018).

"Michigan." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 12, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.