What Is the Capital of Michigan?

The Michigan state capitol in Lansing, Michigan.
The Michigan state capitol in Lansing, Michigan.

Lansing is the state capital of Michigan. It is the only unique state capital in the country which does not also serve as a county seat. Ingham County has its capital at Mason. Most of Lansing's territory lies in Ingham Country with some of its portions in Clinton and Eaton Counties.


In 1790, the explorer Hugh Heward sighted the region that is now Lansing while canoeing the Grand River. Two brothers who had their origins in New York are credited with facilitating the settlement of a population of New Yorkers from Lansing village after the brothers scammed them into buying fictitious plots. The community gave the name Lansing Township to the area after their home village. In 1847, the state of Michigan began looking for a new capital. The Township of Lansing was chosen amid political wrangling, and it subsequently developed into the state government's capital. The Olds Motor Vehicle Company, which commenced its operations in Lansing in August 1897, facilitated the growth of the city as an industrial powerhouse. Over the next decades, Lansing morphed into an industrial hub for the production of automobiles and associated parts as well as other industries.


Lansing occupies a central position in a region of Michigan called Central Michigan. The United States Census Bureau establishes Lansing's area at 36.68 square miles of which 0.63 square milesis water, and 36.05 square miles is land. These measurements include the four 415 Agreements made with Delta Township from 2000 and the two 425 Agreements reached with Meridian Township. From 2010, Lansing has made two more Agreements with the Dewitt and Alaiedon Townships. The city lies in the south-central portion of Michigan's Lower Peninsula at the meeting point of the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers. The Grand River cuts through downtown Lansing while its tributaries namely the Red Cedar River and Sycamore Creek also flow through the city. The northeastern part of the city is home to Lake Lansing and Park Lake.


The 2010 census reported a population of 114,297 in Lansing, down from the 119,128 residents identified in 2000. The city had 26,234 families and 48,450 households in 2010 while its population density was 3,174.0 per square mile. The city's population by race was White (61.2%); African American (23.7%); Native American (0.8%); Asian (3.7%); and Pacific Islander (0.04%). About 6.2% of the population identified with two or more races while 4.3% of the population was from other races. Lansing's median age was 32.2 years in 2010.


The State government of Michigan, with 14,249 employees, is the largest employer in Lansing. Michigan State University and Sparrow Health System follow with 11,100 and 10,858 employees respectively. Government is Lansing’s top employer followed by trade, transportation, and utilities, and finance. The main industries in the Lansing metropolitan area include government, automobile, healthcare, insurance, and education. Such educational institutions as Lansing Community College are also major employers.

Lansing hosts the headquarters of the Auto-Owners Insurance Company, Accident Fund, Jackson National Life, and Michigan Millers Insurance Company. Lansing is also home to several technology firms in the fields of biotechnology and information technology.


Michigan State University has the biggest land campus in the US. The campus also has many nationally and internationally popular academic as well as research oriented programs. The State of Michigan has 14 degree-granting schools including a law school and three medical schools. Other notable institutions of tertiary education include Western Michigan University, Great Lakes Christian College, and Lansing Community College.


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