World Facts

The Eight US States Located in the Great Lakes Region

Eight US states border one or more of the five Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes region is centered around the five Great Lakes of North America: Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, and Lake Superior. This region includes eight US states and one Canadian province (Ontario). The Great Lakes region has a common cultural, economic, and historical identity. The eight US states that are part of this region are listed below.

8. Illinois

Illinois is one of the eight US states that border the Great Lakes. Located in the Midwestern United States, Illinois covers an area of 149,967 square km and has an estimated population of 12,802,023 people. The state shares its borders with Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan. Illinois is situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, but does not share a land boundary with the state of Michigan. Springfield is the capital of Illinois, while Chicago is its largest city.

7. Indiana

Indiana is another US state located in the Great Lakes region. The state has an area of 94,321 square km, a population of 6,633,053, and Indianapolis is its capital city. Indiana shares its borders with Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan, and borders Lake Michigan to the northwest. The state's northern shores along Lake Michigan feature sand ridges and dunes as high as 200 ft in some parts. Indiana ships more than 70 million tons of cargo annually by its many waterways. One of the most important of these waterways is the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway, which is accessible via Lake Michigan. Burns Harbor is one of the state's major ports, which is located on the shores of Lake Michigan.

6. Michigan

With an area of 250,493 square km and an estimated population of 9,962,311 people, Michigan has the world's longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision. The state consists of two peninsulas that are separated by the Straits of Mackinac, which is a 9 km channel that links the waters of Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. Michigan has shorelines along four of the five Great Lakes, the exception being Lake Ontario. Thus, the state is renowned for its recreational aquatic activities like boating. Michigan also has numerous other lakes and ponds throughout the state, so that no person in the state lives more than 9.7 km away from a natural water body. Also, the state's long borders with the Great Lakes mean that no resident of Michigan is more than 137 km away from the shoreline of a Great Lake.

5. Minnesota

Minnesota is another of the eight US states in the Great Lakes region. The state covers an area of 225,163 square km, had an estimated population of 5,576,606 in 2017, and is often nicknamed "Land of 10,000 Lakes” as numerous lakes dot its landscape. Minnesota and Michigan are separated by a water body formed by Lake Superior. The state also shares land borders with Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and an international border with Canada. The largest and deepest water body in Minnesota is located in Lake Superior.

4. New York

The state of New York covers an area of 141,300 square km and has a population of 19.85 million, making it the fourth most populated state in the United States. More than 40% of the state’s population reside in the New York metropolitan area. New York shares a border with five US states, as well as an international border with Canada. New York borders two of the five Great Lakes: Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

3. Ohio

Named after the Ohio River, Ohio is a state in the Midwestern United States, with an area of 116,096 square km and a population of 11,614,373 people. Ohio has a 502 km long coastline along Lake Erie to the north, and shares land borders with five US states. Several cargo ports are located on the state’s coastline of Lake Erie.

2. Pennsylvania

Also located in the Great Lakes region, Pennsylvania is located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The state had an estimated population of 12,805,537 in 2017. Pennsylvania covers a total area of 119,283 square km, which includes 1,940 square km of water in Lake Erie. The state has an 82 km long shoreline along Lake Erie.

1. Wisconsin

Wisconsin is another of the eight US states located in the Great Lakes region. The state shares its borders with four US states, as well as Lake Superior and Lake Michigan to the north and east, respectively. Milwaukee, which is Wisconsin’s largest city, is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The state also has the second longest shoreline along the Great Lakes, after Michigan.

More in World Facts