Central Michigan

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This article is about the geographic region. For the university, see Central Michigan University. For the university's athletic program, see Central Michigan Chippewas.
Central Michigan
Lower Peninsula of Michigan
Country United States
State Michigan
The Central Michigan and Mid Michigan describe the same general region of Michigan.

Central Michigan, often called Mid Michigan, is a region in the Lower Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. As its name implies, it is the central area of the Lower Peninsula. Lower Michigan is said to resemble a mitten, and Central Michigan corresponds roughly to the palm. The region consists mainly of farmland and some cities of moderate size, stretching from Michigan's eastern shoreline along Lake Huron into the fertile rolling plains of the Michigan Basin.


For the most part Central Michigan and Mid Michigan are synonymous with each other, representing generally the same geographic area of Michigan. However, some definitions of Central Michigan and Mid Michigan can vary significantly, depending on one's point of reference.

  • The Flint area is included in Mid Michigan, and can also be considered a part of Metro Detroit.

Other Definitions[edit]

Central or Mid Michigan can also include areas that are referred to as Southern Michigan. This is loosely defined and can refer to a region in the south-central portion of the state characterized by the Irish Hills. The region includes the Adrian, Jackson, and Hillsdale areas which are also considered a part of Southeast Michigan.

Portions of Central or Mid Michigan can overlap with portions of Western Michigan. For example, areas of Montcalm County could fall into both regions, with the west side of the county such as Greenville aligning with West Michigan, and eastern portions identifying more with Central Michigan.

Also, some areas may overlap with what is known as Northern Michigan. These areas, such as Clare, Gladwin, and Arenac County are along the border of the two regions and can be considered parts of both, depending on your frame of reference.

Portions of Metro Detroit can overlap with Central Michigan, especially the counties of Genessee, Lapeer, Livingston and St. Clair are statistically included in Metro Detroit however geographically lie in Mid Michigan.


Straw bales in an area field.
The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.

Central Michigan's economy is primarily agricultural, and some automobile manufacturing.


Major crops grown in this region include corn, sugar beets, and soy beans. The Michigan Sugar Company, which is a cooperative owned by 1,250 farmers, operates factories in Bay City, Caro, Croswell, and Sebewaing.[1]


General Motors operates the Flint Truck Assembly factory in Flint and Powertrain plants in Flint, Bay City, Saginaw, and Delhi Township, Michigan. Until 2004, Mid-Michigan (specifically Lansing) was also known for being the location of the main Oldsmobile plant for General Motors. The world headquarters of Nexteer Automotive, a car parts supplier, is located in Saginaw. S.C. Johnson and Son has a manufacturing facility in Bay City making Ziploc products.

The Dow Chemical Company and Dow Corning have their world headquarters based in Midland.


Since Lansing is the State Capitol, the number one employer in the Greater Lansing area is the State of Michigan.

International Trade Corridor[edit]

The I-69 International Trade Corridor is a strategic commercial gateway between the Midwestern United States and Ontario, Canada, with multi-modal transportation infrastructure that offers a wide range of distribution options.The I-69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation (NMDC) offers economic incentives to growing businesses, both existing and new, that utilize two or more forms of transportation to move their products and are located within the territory of the NMDC. The I-69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation is the largest in the state of Michigan with 35 municipal partners.[2]

Constituent counties of the trade corridor are: Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, and St. Clair Counties.[3]

Central Michigan is mostly rural with population swells in the Tri-Cities, Flint, and Lansing areas.


See also: List of Michigan state parks and geography of Michigan.

The region includes many rivers including the Grand River, Red Cedar River, Saginaw River, Tittabawassee River, Shiawassee River and Flint River. A drainage divide occurs in Central Michigan, causing the Grand River to flow west into Lake Michigan and the Saginaw River to empty into the Saginaw Bay. The terrain has rolling hills and plains with fertile soil. Agriculture dominates in the rural areas, where corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and hey are grown. The region has mostly small towns with a few cities of notable size. Most of the area is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing or Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw. [4]

Principal Cities[edit]

See also: Michigan Municipalities by Population

Bay City, looking East from Veterans Memorial Park
Downtown Flint looking northwest, taken from the former Genesse Towers.
Port Huron's Blue Water Bridges, an important international crossing.

Central Michigan has several cities of regional and geographic importance:

Counties included[edit]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Beaumont Tower on Michigan State's campus.

Major educational institutions in Central Michigan, See Also: Southern Michigan for colleges not listed.



The Lansing State Journal is the sole daily newspaper published in metropolitan Lansing, and is owned by Gannett, which also owns the daily Port Huron Times Herald and USA Today. The Flint Journal[5] is available in the Flint and Lapeer areas and is published four times a week. Editions of the Bay City Times,[6] Midland Daily News and Saginaw News[7] are available in the greater Tri-Cities area. The Times and the Saginaw News published three times a week, while the Midland Daily News publishes daily. The Great Lakes Bay Edition, a joint publication between the Saginaw News and the Bay City Times, focuses on those two cities, as well as Midland, and publishes once a week. The Hearst Corporation owns the Midland Daily News and the Huron Daily Tribune. Mount Pleasant is served by a daily newspaper called The Morning Sun.[8]

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News are available throughout the area.


The region is served by multiple radio stations. For a complete listing of stations, see one of the following markets:

Broadcast television[edit]

Television in the Central Michigan area varies from market to market. Availability of stations depend on reception of aerial signals, as well as availability on cable and satellite in a particular area. In some areas of the region, broadcasts from all three markets can be received over the air.


Durand Union Station, the crossroads for Michigan's railroads.


Scheduled airline service is offered from Lansing Capital Region International Airport.[9] Airline service is also available from MBS International Airport[10] near Midland, Michigan and Flint Bishop International Airport.[11] Other portions are proximate to Gerald R. Ford International Airport, east of Grand Rapids, Michigan,[12] and Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport near Kalamazoo, Michigan.[13]


Passenger rail is provided by Amtrak and has stations in East Lansing, Durand, Flint, Lapeer, and Port Huron on its Blue Water line.

Major highways[edit]

Major trunkline routes throughout the Mid-Michigan area:

  • I-69 from Port Huron to Fort Wayne, Indiana, connecting Flint and Lansing.
  • I-75 is a major artery connecting the Tri Cities with Flint and Detroit.
  • I-475 business route to downtown Saginaw.
  • I-675 business route to downtown Saginaw.
  • I-94 from Port Huron to Chicago via Detroit, Jackson, and Battle Creek.
  • I-96 from Grand Rapids to Detroit via Lansing.
  • I-496 (R.E. Olds Freeway) in the Lansing area.
  • US 10 an east-west route between Luddington and Bay City, connecting multiple communities in between.
  • US 12 also known as Michigan Avenue and Chicago Road
  • US 23
  • US 127 comes from the south, through Lansing, and ends its 758-mile-long (1,220 km) journey at Grayling. It directly connects Northern Michigan (and the Mackinac Bridge via I-75) to Lansing, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee (all the way down to Chattanooga US 127 is the direct link between the state capital in Lansing and the Ingham County seat in Mason.
  • M-13 runs roughly the same route as I-75 in the Genesee County/Shiawassee County border, the Saginaw County/Genesee County border then into Bay County
  • M-15 runs north and south through Genesee County and Tuscola County and terminates in Bay City.
  • M-20 is an east-west highway connection Mt. Pleasant with Midland
  • M-21 runs east and west, roughly the same route as I-69 in Genesee County and is a direct east-west route connecting St. Johns and Owosso.
  • M-24 runs north and south in Lapeer County and Tuscola County.
  • M-25 is a highway of an arc-like shape closely following the outline of the Thumb along the Lake Huron/Saginaw Bay shoreline between Port Huron and Bay City.[14] It is generally a scenic drive.
  • M-43 is a highway in southwestern and central Michigan from South Haven to Webberville. is east-west surface route nearly bisects the Lower Peninsula of Michigan latitudinally.
  • M-46— a cross peninsular road, running across the entire mitten including the thumb—from Port Sanilac on the Lake Huron shore; through Saginaw near Saginaw Bay; and then on to Muskegon on the Lake Michigan shore. This east-west surface route nearly bisects the Lower Peninsula of Michigan latitudinally.
  • M-52 is a north-south highway connecting Webberville, Perry, Owosso and St. Charles.
  • M-53 (Van Dyke Road) is a gateway route to The Thumb of Michigan, carrying vacationers to the resorts and cottages on Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron in the vicinity of Caseville and Port Austin. It goes up the middle of the Thumb, and directly connects in Macomb County, Michigan to the M-53 expressway.
  • M-54 Dort Highway, a main road leading into Flint running roughly the same route as I-475, then follows I-75 to Birch Run

Notable people[edit]

More comprehensive lists are available at individual cities, villages, etc.


Tri-Cities and Flint[edit]

  • Madonna - singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman (Born in Bay City, MI)
  • Michael Moore - filmmaker, screenwriter, author, journalist, actor, and left-wing political activist

See also[edit]


External links[edit]