Student Research: Assessing Socioeconomic Trends and Disparities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Screenshot 2023-06-28 at 12.20.17 AM

We occasionally publish research by NMU students, and this article is an example of this student research.
We wanted to give our readers some data on various issues related to poverty in the Upper Peninsula. These numbers change periodically, but this research is a reflection of data at the time we did this research.
Jonah Sebranek is the student researcher for this collection of data. He is an Economics major at NMU.
We hope you find this data useful and interesting.
Read the paper “Assessing Socioeconomic Trends and Disparities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: A County-by-County Analysis” here:

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David Haynes

David Haynes has served as a professor of public administration and public policy. He previously has served as President of Northern Michigan University. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.

Jonah Sebranek


  1. Cajsa Maki on June 28, 2023 at 8:22 am

    Interesting read. It would be great to have a bit more on the general UP trends vs Michigan overall.

  2. Robert Thompson on June 28, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    Well done overview of UP counties. Demonstrates again that NMU is an asset to the UP (as are the schools of higher education). Students need to do this for experience. But time to move past documenting over and over what’s in plain sight.

    Geography is destiny. The western UP is tied to Wisconsin. The physical features and resources are considerably different than the Eastern UP.

    The eastern UP is an island off Michigan connected by a four lane bridge. Prior to Michigan statehood, there was a proposal to attach the western UP to Wisconsin. Michigan did not want the eastern half but was forced to take the entirety of the UP to settle the Toledo war and gain statehood. Once the timber and mineral resources were played out, nothing was left but tourist attractions.

    A follow up to this research would be a profile of economic, social, environmental, and geographic conditions that control the future of the UP. The excessive layers of government and the number of competing governmental entities in the UP are a big part of the dealing with this looming disaster. Time to sound the alarm..

    • Mary Duerksen, M.Div., MFA on June 30, 2023 at 9:17 am

      Interesting read with a good overview of each county’s strengths and challenges. I urge the writer to continue this line of research, but hope for them to receive writing/editing assistance from the English department.

  3. Tom Ward on December 7, 2023 at 8:52 am

    “Once the timber and mineral resources were played out, nothing was left but tourist attractions.”

    ~ ~ that’s a great starting point for healthy discussion moving forward. the various local government bodies could ( will they ?) take this as a challenge to go deep within their communities and craft a vision of how to navigate the coming years.

    ~ ~ compliments to Jonah and David for bringing this data forward.

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