Peninsulas of Michigan

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Upper Peninsula (top), and Lower Peninsula (bottom) of Michigan.

The Peninsulas of Michigan are a pair of fresh water peninsulas defined by several components of the Great Lakes and their connecting waterways which together compose the U.S. state of Michigan. The Upper Peninsula to the north is more rural and has a more jagged landscape than the more urban and level Lower Peninsula to the south. Separating the two parts are the Straits of Mackinac, which joins Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, and is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) wide, with a maximum depth of 295 feet (90 m).[1] Persons crossing between the two landmasses had to use ferries or travel by land through Wisconsin until 1957 when the Mackinac Bridge opened. The ferries could only operate six months of the year due to ice.[1]

Long tracts of Great Lakes shore along both peninsulas, give Michigan the largest territorial waters of any state except Alaska (which has twice as many miles of coast).

The Lower Peninsula has a population (9.6 million) that is over 30 times larger than that of the Upper Peninsula (0.3 million). The Lower Peninsula has a substantial manufacturing and technology economy, e.g. it is the center of the automotive industry in the United States. This supports high employment (the auto industry supported 532,000 jobs in 2015),[2] and large cities, e.g. Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Dearborn, all of which have populations in excess of 100,000.

The economy of the Upper Peninsula is based on forestry, mining, and tourism, none of which support large urban populations. This causes cultural differences that puts the Upper Peninsula at variance both economically and politically with the Lower Peninsula.


  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ "MICHIGAN AUTOMOTIVE NEWS These are the top 10 states for auto manufacturing in the U.S." MLive Media Group. Archived from the original on 11 April 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2018.