Common, Yet Weird, Questions About Michigan

One of the more interesting things about having access to search marketing tools is the ability to get data on what people search for on search engines. One tool I often use is SEMrush, which allows you to look up questions about a topic and give you an estimate of how often that question gets asked each month. I figured it would be interesting to see what sorts of questions people had about Michigan, and of course, there were some odd ones.

The usual suspects

The *most* popular questions were the sorts of things you’d probably expect for not just Michigan, but any state. Things like:

  • What time is it in Michigan?
  • What time zone is Michigan?
  • How deep is Lake Michigan?
  • What channel is the Michigan game on?
  • Who won the Michigan game?

Nothing terribly surprising here, just a lot of questions about the sorts of things you’d expect from someone unfamiliar with the state or looking to visit or contact someone in Michigan. But, as I sifted through the list, the questions got a little more bizarre, or at least more interesting to me.

Now for the weird ones

I’ve lived most of my life in Michigan, so maybe I’m the wrong person to judge what a weird question is about the state. But I’ll gladly take your input on whether or not these are truly weird or not…

Is weed legal in Michigan? The answer is that yes, recreational adult use of marijuana has been legal in the state since 2018 and there are stores all over if you want to purchase marijuana products. It’s 2022, so maybe this isn’t that strange of a question. But, two things made this one stick out to me. First, it gets searched on average 12,100 times per month. That’s a lot. Second, who is searching it this much? If you live in Michigan, you better already know the answer to this. So, assuming it’s not locals, this means there are a ton of people visiting Michigan who either want to buy weed or bring their stash with them. Maybe we’re the next Colorado?

Where is the state of Michigan? I would hope that people asking this are from outside the United States. The state kind of sticks out on a map.

Is Lake Michigan salt water? No, Lake Michigan is not salt water. It’s one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes, actually. Big lakes are not oceans. Oddly, when most people I meet from either coast see a great lake for the first time they tend to say something along the lines of, “It looks like an ocean. You can’t even see the other side!”

Is Michigan in the midwest? Of course it is! Perhaps I’ve spent too much time in the midwest, but I’m always surprised by how people not from the midwest don’t seem to know what constitutes the midwest. To me, I draw the border from Ohio down to Missouri and up to Minnesota. If you want to give the benefit of the doubt, I’ll let you go one state further west and you can toss in Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas…but that’s pushing it.

Are there sharks in Lake Michigan? One of the reasons I knew social media would be the end of the world was when I saw people sharing memes about the “whales of Lake Michigan” and people being shocked that there were whales in the Great Lakes. Of course, there are no whales and there are also no sharks. A bull shark could theoretically live in a fresh water lake for a short period, but wouldn’t be able to survive a midwestern winter.

Are there moose in Michigan? There are moose to be found in Michigan, mostly in the Upper Peninsula. The town of Newberry is known as the “Moose Capital of Michigan.” It’s estimated there are over 700 moose in the U.P.

What is Michigan famous for? I’m glad I’m not actually employed by the state of Michigan, because I would have to have some sort of official answer for this. Since this is a completely subjective list, I’ll go with:

  • Motown
  • The auto industry
  • The Great Lakes
  • Detroit style pizza
  • Coneys
  • Beer

Is Michigan legit? This might be my favorite question of all. The Oxford dictionary defines legit as “conforming to the rules; legal.” Therefore I think the answer is yes? Michigan appears to conform to enough rules to maintain statehood, so I would say yes, Michigan is legit.

Can you swim in Lake Michigan? Yes, you can swim in Lake Michigan but it can be dangerous. Many people underestimate the riptides and currents in Lake Michigan and it claims lives every year unfortunately. There have been about 30 drownings per year since 2020.

What does Michigan mean? Like many of the cities across the state, Michigan’s name is derived from Native American origins. Michigan was the French translation of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning “large water” or “large lake.”