May 29, 2022
It is helpful to me to get these big picture perspectives on the state I am visiting. At some point I will catch up on the states I have missed.
Michigan derives it’s name from a gallicized variant of the original Ojibwe word ᒥᓯᑲᒥ(mishigami), meaning 'large water' or 'large lake'. With a population of nearly 10.1 million and a total area of nearly 97,000 sq mi, Michigan is the 10th-largest state by population, the 11th-largest by area, and the largest by area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.
Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often called "the U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge connects the peninsulas. Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake St. Clair. It also has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds. Michigan has the second-most water of any state, behind only Alaska.
The area was first occupied by a succession of Native American tribes over thousands of years. In the 17th century, French explorers claimed it as part of the New France colony, when it was largely inhabited by indigenous peoples. French and Canadian traders and settlers, Métis, and others migrated to the area, settling largely along the waterways. After France's defeat in the French and Indian War in 1762, the region came under British rule. Britain ceded the territory to the newly independent United States after Britain's defeat in the American Revolutionary War.
The area was part of the larger Northwest Territory until 1800, when western Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. Michigan Territory was formed in 1805, but some of the northern border with Canada was not agreed upon until after the War of 1812. Michigan was admitted into the Union in 1837 as the 26th state, a free one. It soon became an important center of industry and trade in the Great Lakes region, attracting immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from many European countries. Immigrants from Finland, Macedonia and the Netherlands were especially numerous.
Although Michigan has developed a diverse economy, in the early 20th century it became widely known as the center of the U.S. automotive industry, which developed as a major national economic force. It is home to the country's three major automobile companies (whose headquarters are all in Metro Detroit). Once exploited for logging and mining, today the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula is important for tourism due to the abundance of natural resources. The Lower Peninsula is a center of manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, services, and high-tech industry.
When the first European explorers arrived, the most populous tribes were Algonquian peoples, who include the Anishinaabe groups of Ojibwe, Odaawaa/Odawa (Ottawa), and the Boodewaadamii/Bodéwadmi (Potawatomi). The three nations co-existed peacefully as part of a loose confederation called the Council of Three Fires. The Ojibwe, whose numbers are estimated to have been between 25,000 and 35,000, were the largest.
The Ojibwe Indians (also known as Chippewa in the U.S.), an Anishaabe tribe, were established in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern and central Michigan. Bands also inhabited Ontarioand southern Manitoba, Canada; and northern Wisconsin, and northern and north-central Minnesota. The Ottawa Indians lived primarily south of the Straits of Mackinac in northern, western, and southern Michigan, but also in southern Ontario, northern Ohio, and eastern Wisconsin. The Potawatomi were in southern and western Michigan, in addition to northern and central Indiana, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and southern Ontario. Other Algonquian tribes in Michigan, in the south and east, were the Mascouten, the Menominee, the Miami, the Sac (or Sauk), and the Meskwaki (Fox). The Wyandot were an Iroquoian-speaking people in this area; they were historically known as the Huron by the French, and were the historical adversaries of the Iroquois Confederation.
French voyageurs and coureurs des bois explored and settled in Michigan in the 17th century. The first Europeans to reach what became Michigan were those of Étienne Brûlé's expedition in 1622. The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1668 on the site where Père Jacques Marquette established Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, as a base for Catholic missions. Missionaries in 1671–75 founded outlying stations at Saint Ignace and Marquette. Jesuit missionaries were well received by the area's Indian populations, with few difficulties or hostilities. In 1679, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle built Fort Miami at present-day St. Joseph. In 1691, the French established a trading post and Fort St. Joseph along the St. Joseph River at the present-day city of Niles.
In 1701, French explorer and army officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit or "Fort Pontchartrain on-the-Strait" on the strait, known as the Detroit River, between lakes Saint Clair and Erie. Cadillac had convinced King Louis XIV's chief minister, Louis Phélypeaux, Comte de Pontchartrain, that a permanent community there would strengthen French control over the upper Great Lakes and discourage British aspirations.
The hundred soldiers and workers who accompanied Cadillac built a fort enclosing one arpent (about 0.85 acres (3,400 m2), the equivalent of just under 200 feet (61 m) per side) and named it Fort Pontchartrain. Cadillac's wife, Marie Thérèse Guyon, soon moved to Detroit, becoming one of the first European women to settle in what was considered the wilderness of Michigan. The town quickly became a major fur-trading and shipping post. The Église de Saint-Anne (Catholic Church of Saint Anne) was founded the same year. While the original building does not survive, the congregation remains active. Cadillac later departed to serve as the French governor of Louisiana from 1710 to 1716. French attempts to consolidate the fur trade led to the Fox Wars, in which the Meskwaki (Fox) and their allies fought the French and their Native allies.
At the same time, the French strengthened Fort Michilimackinac at the Straits of Mackinac to better control their lucrative fur-trading empire. By the mid-18th century, the French also occupied forts at present-day Niles and Sault Ste. Marie, though most of the rest of the region remained unsettled by Europeans. France offered free land to attract families to Detroit, which grew to 800 people in 1765. It was the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans. French settlers also established small farms south of the Detroit River opposite the fort, near a Jesuit mission and Huron village.
From 1660 until the end of French rule, Michigan was part of the Royal Province of New France. In 1760, Montreal fell to the British forces, ending the French and Indian War (1754–1763), the North American front of the Seven Years' War in Europe. Under the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Michigan and the rest of New France east of the Mississippi River were ceded by defeated France to Great Britain. After the Quebec Act was passed in 1774, Michigan became part of the British Province of Quebec. By 1778, Detroit's population reached 2,144 and it was the third-largest city in Quebec province.
During the American Revolutionary War, Detroit was an important British supply center. Most of the inhabitants were French-Canadians or American Indians, many of whom had been allied with the French because of long trading ties. Because of imprecise cartography and unclear language defining the boundaries in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the British retained control of Detroit and Michigan after the American Revolution. When Quebec split into Lower and Upper Canada in 1791, Michigan was part of Kent County, Upper Canada. It held its first democratic elections in August 1792 to send delegates to the new provincial parliament at Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake).
Under terms negotiated in the 1794 Jay Treaty, Britain withdrew from Detroit and Michilimackinac in 1796. It retained control of territory east and south of the Detroit River, which are now included in Ontario, Canada. Questions remained over the boundary for many years, and the United States did not have uncontested control of the Upper Peninsula and Drummond Island until 1818 and 1847, respectively.
During the War of 1812, the United States forces at Fort Detroit surrendered Michigan Territory(effectively consisting of Detroit and the surrounding area) after a nearly bloodless siegein 1812. A US attempt to retake Detroit resulted in a severe American defeat in the River Raisin Massacre. This battle, still ranked as the bloodiest ever fought in the state, had the highest number of American casualties of any battle of the war.
Michigan was recaptured by the Americans in 1813 after the Battle of Lake Erie. They used Michigan as a base to launch an invasion of Canada, which culminated in the Battle of the Thames. But the more northern areas of Michigan were held by the British until the peace treaty restored the old boundaries. A number of forts, including Fort Wayne, were built by the United States in Michigan during the 19th century out of fears of renewed fighting with Britain.
The population grew slowly until the opening in 1825 of the Erie Canal through the Mohawk Valley in New York, connecting the Great Lakes to the Hudson River and New York City. The new route attracted a large influx of settlers to the Michigan territory. They worked as farmers, lumbermen, shipbuilders, and merchants, and shipped out grain, lumber, and iron ore. By the 1830s, Michigan had 80,000 residents, more than enough to apply and qualify for statehood.
A Constitutional Convention of Assent was held to lead the territory to statehood. In October 1835 the people approved the Constitution of 1835, thereby forming a state government. Congressional recognition was delayed pending resolution of a boundary dispute with Ohio known as the Toledo War. Congress awarded the "Toledo Strip" to Ohio. Michigan received the western part of the Upper Peninsula as a concession and formally entered the Union as a free state on January 26, 1837. The Upper Peninsula proved to be a rich source of lumber, iron, and copper. Michigan led the nation in lumber production from the 1850s to the 1880s. Railroads became a major engine of growth from the 1850s onward, with Detroit the chief hub.
A second wave of French-Canadian immigrants settled in Michigan during the late 19th to early 20th century, working in lumbering areas in counties on the Lake Huron side of the Lower Peninsula, such as the Saginaw Valley, Alpena, and Cheboygan counties, as well as throughout the Upper Peninsula, with large concentrations in Escanaba and the Keweenaw Peninsula. This was also a period of development of the gypsumindustry in Alabaster, Michigan, which became nationally prominent.
The first statewide meeting of the Republican Party took place July 6, 1854, in Jackson, Michigan, where the party adopted its platform. The state was predominately Republican until the 1930s, reflecting the political continuity of migrants from across the Northern Tier of New England and New York. Michigan made a significant contribution to the Union in the American Civil War and sent more than forty regiments of volunteers to the federal armies.
Michigan modernized and expanded its system of education in this period. The Michigan State Normal School, now Eastern Michigan University, was founded in 1849, for the training of teachers. It was the fourth oldest normal school in the United States and the first U.S. normal schooloutside New England. In 1899, the Michigan State Normal School became the first normal school in the nation to offer a four-year curriculum. Michigan Agricultural College (1855), now Michigan State University in East Lansing, was founded as the first agricultural college in the nation. Many private colleges were founded as well, and the smaller cities established high schools late in the century.
20th and 21st centuries
Michigan's economy underwent a transformation at the turn of the 20th century. Many individuals, including Ransom E. Olds, John and Horace Dodge, Henry Leland, David Dunbar Buick, Henry Joy, Charles King, and Henry Ford, provided the concentration of engineering know-how and technological enthusiasm to develop the automotive industry. Ford's development of the moving assembly line in Highland Parkmarked a new era in transportation. Like the steamship and railroad, mass production of automobiles was a far-reaching development. More than the forms of public transportation, the affordable automobile transformed private life. Automobile production became the major industry of Detroit and Michigan, and permanently altered the socioeconomic life of the United States and much of the world.
With the growth, the auto industry created jobs in Detroit that attracted immigrants from Europe and migrants from across the United States, including both blacks and whites from the rural South. By 1920, Detroit was the fourth-largest city in the US. Residential housing was in short supply, and it took years for the market to catch up with the population boom.
By the 1930s, so many immigrants had arrived that more than 30 languages were spoken in the public schools, and ethnic communities celebrated in annual heritage festivals. Over the years immigrants and migrants contributed greatly to Detroit's diverse urban culture, including popular music trends. The influential Motown Sound of the 1960s was led by a variety of individual singers and groups.
Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in Michigan, is also an important center of manufacturing. Since 1838, the city has been noted for its furniture industry. In the 21st century, it is home to five of the world's leading office furniture companies. Grand Rapids is home to a number of major companies including Steelcase, Amway, and Meijer. Grand Rapids is also an important center for GE Aviation Systems.
Michigan held its first United States presidential primary election in 1910. With its rapid growth in industry, it was an important center of industry-wide union organizing, such as the rise of the United Auto Workers.
In 1920 WWJ (AM) in Detroit became the first radio station in the United States to regularly broadcast commercial programs. Throughout that decade, some of the country's largest and most ornate skyscrapers were built in the city. Particularly noteworthy are the Fisher Building, Cadillac Place, and the Guardian Building, each of which has been designated as a National Historic Landmark (NHL).
In 1927 a school bombing took place in Clinton County. The Bath School disaster, perpetrated by an adult man, resulted in the deaths of 38 schoolchildren and constitutes the deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history.
Michigan converted much of its manufacturing to satisfy defense needs during World War II; it manufactured 10.9 percent of the United States military armaments produced during the war, ranking second (behind New York) among the 48 states.
Detroit continued to expand through the 1950s, at one point doubling its population in a decade. After World War II, housing was developed in suburban areas outside city cores to meet demand for residences. The federal government subsidized the construction of interstate highways, which were intended to strengthen military access, but also allowed commuters and business traffic to travel the region more easily. Since 1960, modern advances in the auto industry have led to increased automation, high-tech industry, and increased suburban growth.
Michigan is the leading auto-producing state in the US, with the industry primarily located throughout the Midwestern United States; Ontario, Canada; and the Southern United States. With almost ten million residents, Michigan is a large and influential state, ranking tenth in population among the fifty states. Detroit is the centrally located metropolitan area of the Great Lakes Megalopolis and the second-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. (after Chicago) linking the Great Lakes system.
The Metro Detroit area in Southeast Michigan is the state's largest metropolitan area (roughly 50% of the population resides there) and the eleventh largest in the United States. The Grand Rapids metropolitan area in Western Michigan is the state's fastest-growing metro area, with more than 1.3 million residents as of 2006. Metro Detroit receives more than 15 million visitors each year. Michigan has many popular tourist destinations, including areas such as Frankenmuth in The Thumb, and Traverse City on the Grand Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan. Tourists spend about $17 billion annually in Michigan supporting 193,000 jobs.
Michigan typically ranks third or fourth in overall Research & development (R&D) expenditures in the US. The state's leading research institutions include the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University, which are important partners in the state's economy and the state's University Research Corridor. Michigan's public universities attract more than $1.5 B in research and development grants each year.Agriculture also serves a significant role, making the state a leading grower of fruit in the US, including blueberries, cherries, apples, grapes, and peaches
Michigan consists of two peninsulas separated by the Straits of Mackinac. The 45th parallel north runs through the state, marked by highway signs and the Polar-Equator Trail — along a line including Mission Point Light near Traverse City, the towns of Gaylord and Alpena in the Lower Peninsula and Menominee in the Upper Peninsula. With the exception of two tiny areas drained by the Mississippi River by way of the Wisconsin River in the Upper Peninsula and by way of the Kankakee-Illinois River in the Lower Peninsula, Michigan is drained by the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence watershed and is the only state with the majority of its land thus drained. No point in the state is more than six miles (9.7 km) from a natural water source or more than 85 miles (137 km) from a Great Lakes shoreline.
The Great Lakes that border Michigan from east to west are Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. The state is bounded on the south by the states of Ohio and Indiana, sharing land and water boundaries with both. Michigan's western boundaries are almost entirely water boundaries, from south to north, with Illinois and Wisconsin in Lake Michigan; then a land boundary with Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, that is principally demarcated by the Menominee and Montreal Rivers; then water boundaries again, in Lake Superior, with Wisconsin and Minnesota to the west, capped around by the Canadian province of Ontario to the north and east.
The heavily forested Upper Peninsula is relatively mountainous in the west. The Porcupine Mountains, which are part of one of the oldest mountain chains in the world, rise to an altitude of almost 2,000 feet (610 m) above sea level and form the watershed between the streams flowing into Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The surface on either side of this range is rugged. The state's highest point, in the Huron Mountains northwest of Marquette, is Mount Arvon at 1,979 feet (603 m). The peninsula is as large as Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island combined but has fewer than 330,000 inhabitants. They are sometimes called "Yoopers" (from "U.P.'ers"), and their speech (the "Yooper dialect") has been heavily influenced by the numerous Scandinavian and Canadian immigrants who settled the area during the lumbering and mining boom of the late 19th century.
The Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, one of the 221 state game and wildlife areas in Michigan. It encompasses 7,483 acres of hunting, recreational, and protected wildlife and wetland areas at the mouth of the Huron River at Lake Erie, as well as smaller outlying areas within the Detroit River.
The Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten and many residents hold up a hand to depict where they are from. It is 277 miles (446 km) long from north to south and 195 miles (314 km) from east to west and occupies nearly two-thirds of the state's land area. The surface of the peninsula is generally level, broken by conical hills and glacial moraines usually not more than a few hundred feet tall. It is divided by a low water divide running north and south. The larger portion of the state is on the west of this and gradually slopes toward Lake Michigan. The highest point in the Lower Peninsula is either Briar Hill at 1,705 feet (520 m), or one of several points nearby in the vicinity of Cadillac. The lowest point is the surface of Lake Erie at 571 feet (174 m).
The geographic orientation of Michigan's peninsulas makes for a long distance between the ends of the state. Ironwood, in the far western Upper Peninsula, lies 630 miles (1,010 kilometers) by highway from Lambertville in the Lower Peninsula's southeastern corner. The geographic isolation of the Upper Peninsula from Michigan's political and population centers makes the region culturally and economically distinct. Frequent attempts to establish the Upper Peninsula as its own state called "Superior" have failed to gain traction.
A feature of Michigan that gives it the distinct shape of a mitten is the Thumb. This peninsula projects out into Lake Huron and the Saginaw Bay. The geography of the Thumb is mainly flat with a few rolling hills. Other peninsulas of Michigan include the Keweenaw Peninsula, making up the Copper Country region of the state. The Leelanau Peninsula lies in the Northern Lower Michigan region
Numerous lakes and marshes mark both peninsulas, and the coast is much indented. Keweenaw Bay, Whitefish Bay, and the Big and Little Bays De Noc are the principal indentations on the Upper Peninsula. The Grand and Little Traverse, Thunder, and Saginaw bays indent the Lower Peninsula. Michigan has the second longest shoreline of any state—3,288 miles (5,292 km), including 1,056 miles (1,699 km) of island shoreline.
The state has numerous large islands, the principal ones being the North Manitou and South Manitou, Beaver, and Fox groups in Lake Michigan; Isle Royale and Grande Isle in Lake Superior; Marquette, Bois Blanc, and Mackinacislands in Lake Huron; and Neebish, Sugar, and Drummond islands in St. Mary's River. Michigan has about 150 lighthouses, the most of any U.S. state. The first lighthouses in Michigan were built between 1818 and 1822. They were built to project light at night and to serve as a landmark during the day to safely guide the passenger ships and freighters traveling the Great Lakes. See Lighthouses in the United States.
The state's rivers are generally small, short and shallow, and few are navigable. The principal ones include the Detroit River, St. Marys River, and St. Clair River which connect the Great Lakes; the Au Sable, Cheboygan, and Saginaw, which flow into Lake Huron; the Ontonagon, and Tahquamenon, which flow into Lake Superior; and the St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Grand, Muskegon, Manistee, and Escanaba, which flow into Lake Michigan. The state has 11,037 inland lakes—totaling 1,305 square miles (3,380 km2) of inland water—in addition to 38,575 square miles (99,910 km2) of Great Lakes waters. No point in Michigan is more than six miles (9.7 km) from an inland lake or more than 85 miles (137 km) from one of the Great Lakes.
The state is home to several areas maintained by the National Park Service including: Isle Royale National Park, in Lake Superior, about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Other national protected areas in the state include: Keweenaw National Historical Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Huron National Forest, Manistee National Forest, Hiawatha National Forest, Ottawa National Forest and Father Marquette National Memorial. The largest section of the North Country National Scenic Trail passes through Michigan.
Michigan has a continental climate, although there are two distinct regions. The southern and central parts of the Lower Peninsula (south of Saginaw Bay and from the Grand Rapids area southward) have a warmer climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) with hot summers and cold winters. The northern part of Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula has a more severe climate (Köppen Dfb), with warm, but shorter summers and longer, cold to very cold winters. Some parts of the state average high temperatures below freezing from December through February, and into early March in the far northern parts. During the winter through the middle of February, the state is frequently subjected to heavy lake-effect snow. The state averages from 30 to 40 inches of precipitation annually; however, some areas in the northern lower peninsula and the upper peninsula average almost 160 inches (4,100 mm) of snowfall per year. Michigan's highest recorded temperature is 112 °F (44 °C) at Mio on July 13, 1936, and the coldest recorded temperature is −51 °F (−46 °C) at Vanderbilt on February 9, 1934.
The state averages 30 days of thunderstorm activity per year. These can be severe, especially in the southern part of the state. The state averages 17 tornadoes per year, which are more common in the state's extreme southern section. Portions of the southern border have been almost as vulnerable historically as states further west and in Tornado Alley. For this reason, many communities in the very southern portions of the state have tornado sirens to warn residents of approaching tornadoes. Farther north, in Central Michigan, Northern Michigan, and the Upper Peninsula, tornadoes are rare.
In 2017, 3,859,949 people in Michigan were employed at 222,553 establishments, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated Michigan's Q3 2018 gross state product to be $538 billion, ranking 14th out of the 50 states.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June 2021, the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was estimated at 6.3%.
Products and services include automobiles, food products, information technology, aerospace, military equipment, furniture, and mining of copper and iron ore.[quantify] Michigan is the third leading grower of Christmas trees with 60,520 acres (245 km2) of land dedicated to Christmas tree farming. The beverage Vernors was invented in Michigan in 1866, sharing the title of oldest soft drink with Hires Root Beer. Faygo was founded in Detroit on November 4, 1907. Two of the top four pizza chains were founded in Michigan and are headquartered there: Domino's Pizza by Tom Monaghan and Little Caesars Pizza by Mike Ilitch. Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state in U.S. in 2012.
Since 2009, GM, Ford and Chrysler have managed a significant reorganization of their benefit funds structure after a volatile stock market which followed the September 11 attacks and early 2000s recession impacted their respective U.S. pension and benefit funds (OPEB). General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler reached agreements with the United Auto Workers Union to transfer the liabilities for their respective health care and benefit funds to a 501(c)(9) Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA). Manufacturing in the state grew 6.6% from 2001 to 2006, but the high speculative price of oil became a factor for the U.S. auto industry during the economic crisis of 2008 impacting industry revenues. In 2009, GM and Chrysler emerged from Chapter 11 restructurings with financing provided in part by the U.S. and Canadian governments. GM began its initial public offering (IPO) of stock in 2010. For 2010, the Big Three domestic automakers have reported significant profits indicating the beginning of rebound.
As of 2002, Michigan ranked fourth in the U.S. in high tech employment with 568,000 high tech workers, which includes 70,000 in the automotive industry. Michigan typically ranks third or fourth in overall research and development (R&D) expenditures in the United States. Its research and development, which includes automotive, comprises a higher percentage of the state's overall gross domestic product than for any other U.S. state. The state is an important source of engineering job opportunities. The domestic auto industry accounts directly and indirectly for one of every ten jobs in the U.S.
Michigan was second in the U.S. in 2004 for new corporate facilities and expansions. From 1997 to 2004, Michigan was the only state to top the 10,000 mark for the number of major new developments; however, the effects of the late 2000s recession have slowed the state's economy. In 2008, Michigan placed third in a site selection survey among the states for luring new business which measured capital investment and new job creation per one million population. In August 2009, Michigan and Detroit's auto industry received $1.36 B in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy for the manufacture of electric vehicle technologies which is expected to generate 6,800 immediate jobs and employ 40,000 in the state by 2020. From 2007 to 2009, Michigan ranked 3rd in the U.S. for new corporate facilities and expansions.
As leading research institutions, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University are important partners in the state's economy and its University Research Corridor. Michigan's public universities attract more than $1.5 B in research and development grants each year. The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory is at Michigan State University. Michigan's workforce is well-educated and highly skilled, making it attractive to companies. It has the third highest number of engineering graduates nationally.
Detroit Metropolitan Airport is one of the nation's most recently expanded and modernized airports with six major runways, and large aircraft maintenance facilities capable of servicing and repairing a Boeing 747 and is a major hub for Delta Air Lines. Michigan's schools and colleges rank among the nation's best. The state has maintained its early commitment to public education. The state's infrastructure gives it a competitive edge; Michigan has 38 deep water ports. In 2007, Bank of America announced that it would commit $25 billion to community development in Michigan following its acquisition of LaSalle Bank in Troy.
Michigan led the nation in job creation improvement in 2010.
Michigan's personal income tax is a flat rate of 4.25%. In addition, 22 cities impose income taxes; rates are set at 1% for residents and 0.5% for non-residents in all but four cities. Michigan's state sales tax is 6%, though items such as food and medication are exempted. Property taxes are assessed on the local level, but every property owner's local assessment contributes six mills (a rate of $6 per $1000 of property value) to the statutory State Education Tax. Property taxes are appealable to local boards of review and need the approval of the local electorate to exceed millage rates prescribed by state law and local charters. In 2011, the state repealed its business tax and replaced it with a 6% corporate income tax which substantially reduced taxes on business. Article IX of the Constitution of the State of Michigan also provides limitations on how much the state can tax.
A 6% use tax is levied on goods purchased outside the state (that are brought in and used in state), at parity with the sales tax. The use tax applies to internet sales/purchases from outside Michigan and is equivalent to the sales tax.
A wide variety of commodity crops, fruits, and vegetables are grown in Michigan, making it second only to California among U.S. states in the diversity of its agriculture. The state has 54,800 farms utilizing 10,000,000 acres (40,000 km2) of land which sold $6.49 billion worth of products in 2010. The most valuable agricultural product is milk. Leading crops include corn, soybeans, flowers, wheat, sugar beets, and potatoes. Livestock in the state included 78,000 sheep, a million cattle, a million hogs, and more than three million chickens. Livestock products accounted for 38% of the value of agricultural products while crops accounted for the majority.
Michigan is a leading grower of fruit in the U.S., including blueberries, tart cherries, apples, grapes, and peaches.Plums, pears, and strawberries are also grown in Michigan. These fruits are mainly grown in West Michigan due to the moderating effect of Lake Michigan on the climate. There is also significant fruit production, especially cherries, but also grapes, apples, and other fruits, in Northwest Michigan along Lake Michigan. Michigan produces wines, beers and a multitude of processed food products. Kellogg'scereal is based in Battle Creek, Michigan and processes many locally grown foods. Thornapple Valley, Ball Park Franks, Koegel Meat Company, and Hebrew National sausage companies are all based in Michigan.
Michigan is home to very fertile land in the Saginaw Valley and Thumb areas. Products grown there include corn, sugar beets, navy beans, and soybeans. Sugar beet harvesting usually begins the first of October. It takes the sugar factories about five months to process the 3.7 million tons of sugarbeets into 485,000 tons of pure, white sugar. Michigan's largest sugar refiner, Michigan Sugar Company is the largest east of the Mississippi River and the fourth largest in the nation. Michigan sugar brand names are Pioneer Sugar and the newly incorporated Big Chief Sugar. Potatoes are grown in Northern Michigan, and corn is dominant in Central Michigan. Alfalfa, cucumbers, and asparagus are also grown.
Michigan's tourists spend $17.2 billion per year in the state, supporting 193,000 tourism jobs. Michigan's tourism website ranks among the busiest in the nation. Destinations draw vacationers, hunters, and nature enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada. Michigan is 50% forest land, much of it quite remote. The forests, lakes and thousands of miles of beaches are top attractions. Event tourism draws large numbers to occasions like the Tulip Time Festivaland the National Cherry Festival. In 2006, the Michigan State Board of Education mandated all public schools in the state hold their first day of school after Labor Day, in accordance with the new Post Labor Day School law. A survey found 70% of all tourism business comes directly from Michigan residents, and the Michigan Hotel, Motel, & Resort Association claimed the shorter summer between school years cut into the annual tourism season.
Tourism in metropolitan Detroit draws visitors to leading attractions, especially The Henry Ford, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Zoo, and to sports in Detroit. Other museums include the Detroit Historical Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, museums in the Cranbrook Educational Community, and the Arab American National Museum. The metro area offers four major casinos, MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown, Motor City, and Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada; moreover, Detroit is the largest American city and metropolitan region to offer casino resorts.
Hunting and fishing are significant industries in the state. Charter boats are based in many Great Lakes cities to fish for salmon, trout, walleye, and perch. Michigan ranks first in the nation in licensed hunters (over one million) who contribute $2 billion annually to its economy. More than three-quarters of a million hunters participate in white-tailed deer season alone. Many school districts in rural areas of Michigan cancel school on the opening day of firearm deer season, because of attendance concerns.
Michigan's Department of Natural Resources manages the largest dedicated state forest system in the nation. The forest products industry and recreational users contribute $12 billion and 200,000 associated jobs annually to the state's economy. Public hiking and hunting access has also been secured in extensive commercial forests. The state has the highest number of golf courses and registered snowmobiles in the nation.
The state has numerous historical markers, which can themselves become the center of a tour The Great Lakes Circle Tour is a designated scenic road system connecting all of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
With its position in relation to the Great Lakes and the countless ships that have foundered over the many years they have been used as a transport route for people and bulk cargo, Michigan is a world-class scuba diving destination. The Michigan Underwater Preserves are 11 underwater areas where wrecks are protected for the benefit of sport divers.