Why Do So Few Michiganders Live In the Northern Part of the Mitten State?
Michigan is a divided state and not just with politics but is really one-sided regarding population. Why do so few Michiganders live in the northern part of the state?
Population of Michigan in 2023
Situated in the heart of the Great Lakes, Michigan is one of the largest states in the United States in terms of land mass and population.
The current population in 2023 for residents in Michigan is 10,030,722 making it the 11th biggest in the US by area.
Since Michigan is such a large state, why does only 20% of its population live in the northern portion?
Michigan is An 80/20 State With Population
To be a state with over 3,000 miles of coastline, 80% of its population lives in the lower half of the Lower Peninsula.
The first settlers were established in Sault Ste Marie in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and what is even more surprising is that one-third of the state's land mass only holds 3% of the population.
So do so many more Michiganders prefer the lower half of the state when deciding on where to live?
Why More Michiganders Live in the Southern Section of Lower Peninsula
The biggest reason most Michiganders live in the southern lower half of the Lower Peninsula is economic opportunity. This part of Michigan has been an industrial hub ever since the explosion of the automotive industry. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler are based in Detroit and this is where more of the job opportunities are in the state.
It was timber and the mining industry that had people moving to the Upper Peninsula in the late 1800s, but neither industry is what it once was. Tourism is part of the U.P. economy but because it is seasonal work the jobs are not enough to sustain a population year-round.
Plus the Upper Peninsula has rougher terrain, a lack of freeways, and harsher, longer winters which make it difficult for large-scale farming and settlement.
The lower half of the Lower Peninsula is also flatter and warmer which makes agriculture flourish, and there are more services available for citizens who won't have to drive as far for them. Plus the region is closer to other major markets like Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Toronto, Canada.
The breakdown above really gives you a sense of where 80% of Michiganders live in the state.
It's not a bad thing that the population of northern Michigan is light because that means its beauty has a better chance of staying intact and gives us flatlanders a wonderful place to visit.
The video above gives you a much clearer breakdown of Michigan's population but bear with the guy in the video because he makes a few mispronunciations of words like Potowatami and Mackinac as most out of staters do.
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