36 Michigan Facts: Interesting Facts About Michigan

Last updated on December 30th, 2018

Michigan is the 10th most populous and the 11th most extensive of the United States. It lies in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state attained statehood on January 26, 1837, becoming the 26th state to join the union. It has five (5) bordering states including Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota (water border). See the full list of states and their borders here. Michigan (nicknamed: Great Lake State) has 83 counties. The state’s capital is Lancing.

Facts about Michigan

1. Michigan is the only state in the U.S which consists of two peninsulas – the Lower (mainly an industrial area) and Upper Peninsulas (sparsely populated but mineral-rich).[1,5]

2. Michigan has an estimated 65,000 inland lakes and ponds. This puts any person in the state within a distance of six miles from a natural water source.[1]

Flag of Michigan

Michigan flag. Michigan fact file

3. According to the Guinness World Records, Michigan is also home to the world’s tallest identical twins Michael and James Lanier (USA) (b. 27 November 1969) from Troy, Michigan, both stand 2.235m (7ft 3in). Their sister Jennifer is 1.57 m (5 ft 2 in) tall.[23]

4. The state is also home to the headquarters of three major automobile manufacturing companies (General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC, and Ford Motor Co.) in the world.[1]

5. Michigan has one of the world’s longest suspension bridges the Mackinac Bridge. It is five miles long and connects the Upper Peninsula to the other parts of the state.[2]

The Mackinac Bridge, Michigan.
The Mackinac Bridge, Michigan. Image via – Flickr

6. The first factory to assemble cars on a moving assembly line – the Highland Park Ford plant – is in Michigan. In 1978, it became a National Historic Landmark. This place was the second production facility for Henry Ford’s famous Model T. The famous Henry Ford Museum is also situated in the state.[3,4]

7. Michigan also has the nation’s longest freshwater coastline (3,288 miles), and second-longest coastline of any U.S. state, after Alaska.[9]

8. The name of the state is derived from the word michigama (a Chippewa word), meaning “large lake.”[5]

9. Michigan has its border with four (Superior, Huron, Michigan, and Erie) of the five Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario).[5]

10. The state is also home to Kellogg Company, the world’s leading ready-to-eat cereal producer.[5]

Michigan on map

11. Agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism are the major revenue generating industries of the state.[5]

12. The completion of the first railroad in Michigan took place in 1836 and the first air passenger service was flagged off in the state in 1926.[5]

13. Michigan is also known as “Motor City” because it is a hub for car manufacturing since the early 1900s.[6]

14. Mount Arvon, the state’s highest point lies in the Upper Peninsula. More than 40% of the state is covered in water, which is more than any other state.[6]

15. The state is also home to 360 bird species including the rare Kirtland’s warbler.[6]

State Quarter

Michigan State Quarter

16. Michigan also has a mail delivery boat—J.W. Westcott II–which delivers mails to ships while they are waterborne. It is the only floating ZIP code in the United States. It is addressed “Vessel Name, Marine Post Office, Detroit, Michigan, 48222.”[7]

17. The state is also home to the world’s largest cement manufacturing plant. The Huron Portland Cement Company started producing cement in Alpena in 1908.[8]

18. Grand Rapids, the second largest city in Michigan after Lancing, was rated as one of the 20 best livable cities in the U.S.[9]

19. The state is also the birthplace of “Motown Records”, which is one of the most successful soul music companies.[9]

The state coat of arms

State coat of arms

20. With over 150, Michigan has the most lighthouses of any U.S. state.[10]

21. In 1846, Michigan became the first English speaking government to abolish the death penalty for all ordinary crimes.[11]

22. Michigan and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that offer 10 cents back for recycling a can.[12]

23. Traverse City, a city in Michigan, is known as “the cherry capital of the world.”[13]

24. The Ambassador Bridge, which is a suspension bridge, connects Detroit, Michigan, U.S. and Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The bridge is economically important as it is the busiest international border crossing in North America in terms of trade volume.[14]

The Ambassador Bridge
The Ambassador Bridge, one of the links from Windsor Canada to Detroit, Michigan. Image via – Flickr

25. Michigan also has the world’s largest limestone quarry located near Rogers City. It is operated by Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company.[15]

26. Michigan is the 16th largest chemical producing state in the U.S., generating $2.5 billion in annual payroll. Every light car produced in the U.S. contains more than $3,500 of chemical products.[16] 

27. Apples are the largest and most valuable fruit crop in Michigan. The state has 11.3 million apple trees. Michigan is the third largest apple producing state in the U.S.[17]

28. The Detroit Zoo in Detroit, Michigan hosts more than 1.5 million visitors annually. This makes it Michigan’s largest paid family attraction. It is home to more than 2,000 animals of 230 species. Moreover, it was the first zoo in the United States to use barless exhibits extensively.[18]

29. The world’s largest specimen of float copper was discovered in 1997 on the Quincy Mine claims near Hancock, Northern Michigan by the two landholders when they were searching their property with a metal detector. The specimen was approximately 14 feet long and 12 feet wide, with thickness up to 17 inches. The specimen is estimated to be worth at least $100,000.[27]

30. The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is regarded as among the top six museums in the United States. The museum has over 100 galleries. It is also amongst the most visited art museums in the world.[19]

31. Michigan State University in Lancing, Michigan is one of the top 30 public universities in the United States. It was founded in 1855 and today it is one of the largest universities in the United States. It is the top most university in the nation for undergraduate program in supply chain.[20,21]

32. Michigan has the world’s largest weather vane. It is 48 feet tall with an arrow 26 feet long.[22]

33. Harriet Quimby, born in Arcadia, Michigan was the first woman to gain a pilot’s license in the United States. In 1912, she became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.[28]

34. Interestingly, the state is also credited with building the world’s largest snowball measuring 10.04 m in circumference. It was built by the students from ASME Michigan Technical University in Houghton, Michigan on March 29, 2013.[24]

35. Did you know that the largest sandwich ever made in the world was prepared by Wild Woody’s Chill and Grill, Roseville, Michigan, on 17 March 2005? Now, are you interested in knowing how big it was? Here are its other dimensions: it was 0.44 m thick, 3.6 m long and 3.6 m wide. And it weighed 2467.5 kg.[25]

36. Comparatively, Michigan has more surface area than Illinois (one of its bordering states) but has less population.[26]

Michigan State – Quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationMI
State CapitalLansing
Largest cityDetroit
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 96,716 sq miles; Land Only: 56,804 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2017 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodJanuary 26, 1837
State rank by population10th
State rank by date of formation26th
State rank by area11th
Number of Counties83
DemonymMichigander, Michiganian, Yooper (for residents of the Upper Peninsula)
Bordering StatesIllinois, Indiana, Minnesota (water border), Ohio, Wisconsin
Official LanguageNone
Highest PointMount Arvon
1,979 ft (603 m)
Lowest pointLake Erie
571 ft (174 m)
Length 456 miles (734 km)
Width386 miles (621 km)
National ParksIsle Royale National Park
GovernorRick Snyder
Electoral Votes16
State MottoSi quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you)
State NicknameWolverine State
% Water41.5
Nobel Prize WinnersSamuel C.C. Ting (Physics, 1976)
Robert J. Shiller (Economic Sciences, 2013)
Eric Betzig (Chemistry, 2014)
Ralph Bunche (Peace, 1950)
Glenn T. Seaborg (Chemistry, 1951)
Thomas H. Weller (Physiology or Medicine, 1954)
Alfred D. Hershey (Physiology or Medicine, 1969)
Famous PeopleJerome Bettis (Pro Footbal Player)
John Smoltz (Baseball Player)
Magic Johnson (Basketball Player)
Mike Modano (Ice Hockey Player)
Kate Upton (Actress)
Stevie Wonder (Singer)

State GemChlorastrolite

State SoilKalkaska sand

State FlagThe Flag of the State of Michigan

Flag of Michigan.svg

State sealThe Great Seal of the State of Michigan

Seal of Michigan.svg

State Coat of Arms

Coat of arms of Michigan.svg

State Quarter

Michigan quarter

State FishBrook trout

Old colored print of brook trout

State WildflowerDwarf lake iris

Dwarf Lake Iris.jpg

State BirdAmerican robin


State FlowerApple blossom

Flowering crabapple in Washington DC.jpg

State Game MammalWhite-tailed deer

Where is Mummy?
State ReptilePainted turtle

An adult specimen pointed straight with its head raised and facing towards its left

State TreeWhite pine

Pinus strobus Syvania.jpg


Mammut americanum.jpg

Longitude82° 7' W to 90° 25' W
Latitude41° 41' N to 48° 18' N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone, Central Time Zone
Area Codes231, 248, 269, 278, 313, 517, 586, 616, 679, 734, 810, 906, 947, 989
Data SourceWikipedia, 1Keydata, State Symbol USA
Table Last UpateApril 2, 2018