About the Area

Our home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a source of tremendous natural and community resources. The Houghton/Hancock area, which marks the population center of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, offers a high quality of living for people of diverse backgrounds and interests.

We are located in the Houghton/Hancock area of Michigan’s ruggedly beautiful Upper Peninsula. This scenic place near Lake Superior is home to Michigan Technological University and Finlandia University. Our warm, family-oriented community offers excellent schools, a thriving arts scene and year-round outdoor recreation.

Facts at-a-glance: The Copper Country

We primarily serve the area of Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula known as the Copper Country, which encompasses Houghton County, Keweenaw County, Baraga County and Ontonagon County.

Take a look at our facts-at-a-glance about the four-county community we call home:

Population: 53,461 people 
Land area: 3,768 square miles 
Average temperatures in January: 8 degrees Fahrenheit to 20 degrees Fahrenheit 
Average temperatures in July: 55 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit 
Average yearly snowfall: 180 to 250 inches 
Highest elevation: 1,979 feet at Mount Arvon 
Length of Quincy Mine shaft: 9,260 feet deep 
Clearance of Portage Lake Lift Bridge (the widest double-decked vertical lift bridge in the world): 100 feet 
Biggest annual event: Winter Carnival at Michigan Technological University 
Largest employers: Michigan Technological University (approximately 1,500 employees) and Portage Health (approximately 700 employees)

About our people

Our community brings together small-town values and cosmopolitan diversity. On our streets and in our homes and businesses, you’ll encounter some of the friendliest, most open-minded folks you’ve ever met.

Among the first settlers of the Houghton/Hancock area were many people of Finnish descent. Today, that heritage proudly continues alongside an array of traditions brought here by residents from all over the world.

Our area’s ample professional and recreational opportunities, along with our internationally known universities, attract residents with diverse backgrounds, experiences and ideas.

Who is a Yooper?

The folks who live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or U.P., are affectionately known as Yoopers (derived from “U.P.-ers”).

If you’re looking for a Yooper, use your ears. Many U.P. residents speak in a distinctive dialect that’s native to this part of the state. Here are a handful of common Yooper terms you’ll hear up here.

Yooperisms

Ya – The U.P. way to say yes. 
Pasty (pronounced pass-tee) – A meat or vegetable turnover originally introduced to the U.P. by Cornish miners. Which shop sells the best pasties inspires fierce debate among locals. 
Eh (rhymes with “day”) – Ubiquitous term used at the end of sentences to add emphasis or solicit agreement. Example: “That place on the corner makes the best pasties, eh?” 
Troll – A person who lives in the Lower Peninsula, or L.P., the portion of Michigan below the Mackinac Bridge. The Mackinac connects the L.P. and the U.P., and, as the saying goes, “Only trolls live under the bridge.” 
Choppers – Long-sleeved mittens, sometimes with removable finger flaps. During U.P. winters, mittens are worn by adults as well as by children. 
Chook – A knit winter hat, perhaps the only cold-weather accessory more essential than your choppers.

Demographics

We primarily serve residents of four counties -- Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon counties – and that’s where most of our staff lives, as well. Here’s a look at some key demographics for each county.

Houghton County

Total population: 35, 334 
Population centers: City of Houghton, population 7,010; City of Hancock, population 4,223 
Median household income: $31,467

Keweenaw County

Total population: 2,183 
Population centers: Allouez Township, population 1,559; Eagle Harbor Township, population 286 
Median Household Income: $21,391

Baraga County

Total population: 8,742 
Population centers: Baraga Township, population 3,639; L’Anse Township, population 3,815 
Median household income: $33,827

Ontonagon County

Total Population: 7,202 
Population centers: Ontonagon Township, population 2,831; Ontonagon Village, population 1,676 
Median Household Income: $32,463

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Safety

Our community prides itself on being a safe place for everyone. Our local law enforcement agencies maintain a vigilant and friendly presence in the area. 
Data from the Michigan State Police Uniform Crime Report confirms that crime rates in the Upper Peninsula are lower than in the rest of the state. 
Michigan Technological University is committed to the safety of our area, as well. The university’s Department of Public Safety operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
Thanks to community-wide efforts to promote safety, the city of Houghton was named the safest college town in Michigan and the eighth safest in the nation (out of 467) by “The Student Guide to Personal Safety.”