California is one of the most popular states in North America. The state is also home to the Hollywood industry in Los Angeles. Moving away from the glitz and glamour of California to the calm of Michigan certainly is a choice that might not have been the easiest. We are sure you must have enjoyed all the happening festivals that are part of the vibrant California culture, Coachella being one such example. The Golden State must have been a joyride in terms of living and the pleasant weather, but we are guessing that you have decided to say Ciao! to the state and move to the soothing yet vibrant Great Lake State instead! This is an equally great choice and we are here to help you prepare better.

Changing states can be a bit overwhelming especially when you’re going to spend a significant period of time there, so knowing about your new home is always a better way to go as it saves you from any unpleasant surprises. We will take you through everything you need to know about moving to Michigan, how you should prepare, and all the things that will change for you when you move away from the Golden State!


Things To Know Before Moving From California To Michigan

1. Weather

If you have lived in California, let’s just say that you have been spoiled. California literally has one of the best weather conditions wherein there is something for anyone–-ranging from warm, pleasant, and dry sunny summers to wet winters which are never too freezing. For the Californian coast, the average daily temperature levitates around 70° F but can occasionally rise up to 80° F or more on hotter summer days. However, the biggest difference between California and Michigan is Michigan’s extremely cold winters.

The weather in California is almost always pleasant and never extreme but Michigan’s weather dangles between hot and cold. Michigan summers are warm but you need to be cautious of the winters because they are cold, freezing, and snowy. The temperature in Michigan typically varies from 17° F to 82° F and is rarely below 0° F or above 90° F but it is partly cloudy throughout the year. Your Cali heart might take a while to get used to the Michigan weather but it is still manageable if you have a clear head and prior information. The best part for you is that Michigan has all four seasons for you to experience and it has one of the most beautiful fall seasons, so you will be able to have a fair share of every season!

2. Population Profile

Both California and Michigan are populous states. California is a western U.S. state which expands from the Mexican border along the Pacific for nearly 900 miles. Its current population is 39,613,493 and is the most populous state in the entire country.

Michigan has comparatively less population so it can certainly be a slightly better and breathable change that way. It is the tenth most populous state in the United States. With a population of over 10 million and an area of 96,716 sq miles (250,493 sq. km), Michigan is certainly less densely populated and has a lot of clean air to offer. The state has a majority of the White population at 78.41%, 13.79% Black or African Americans, 3.13% Asians, 0.54% Native Americans, and 0.03% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders.

3. Language And Culture

The name ‘Michigan’ is derived from ‘Mishigami’ which means ‘large water’ or ‘large lake’, which is the literal case with the state. Surrounded by lakes and water, Michigan has literally the most water, second only to Alaska. The history of California and Michigan are slightly similar because both these places used to be home to Native Americans. Michigan is a brilliant choice and is the only place that consists of two peninsulas–with the lower one shaped literally like mittens! Although Michigan might be a little less diverse as compared to multifaceted California, 91.11% of the Michigan population speaks English with Spanish being their second language (2.93%) along with some minorities that speak Arabic (1.04%) and other languages ( 4.92%) too.

The culture in Michigan is vibrant and artistic with many fairs throughout the seasons for you to enjoy. The state also has the world’s largest open art competition known as ArtPrize, so it can be an artist’s delight. The majority of Michigan’s population is of Christian faith with a growing minority of Muslim population. Michigan also has a unique identity when it comes to the food in the state. Cereal is a gift of Michigan’s city called Battle Creek and the Kellogg’s of Battle Creek got so popular that the city is now known as Cereal City. You will also experience various local cuisines like Coney Dog, Wet Burritos, Paczki, and Fudgies amongst many more.

4. Economy And Employment Opportunities

Michigan’s economy has been growing and offers loads of employment opportunities because of the state’s ties with fishing, forestry, automobile, and cultural industries. According to IBIS World, Michigan’s gross state product (GSP) in 2019 reached $473.9 billion, with a growth of 1.9% over the next five years. The top employment sectors include health care and social assistance, retail trade, professional, scientific, and technical services. The current unemployment rate across the state is 6.1%. It is easy to find a job in Michigan if you have the right skill set and talents as there are plenty of job opportunities available everywhere.

Michigan has given birth to some of the biggest global brands such as Kelloggs, Whirlpool, Ford Motor Co. Etc. Accommodation and food services along with arts, entertainment, and recreation industries contribute the most in providing employment across the Michigan state as compared to California. Though California has the highest number of employed people in the United States, it has an unemployment rate of 6.9% which is relatively higher than Michigan. Also, the overall cost of living in Michigan is 19% cheaper than in California so it’s a win-win!

5. Taxes

One of the biggest cons of living in California is its high tax rates. California has the highest rate of income tax in the country (1% – 12.3%), so moving to Michigan will certainly treat your account balance right. Though Michigan is not the cheapest option when it comes to tax and certainly falls on the higher side, the Mittens State has comparatively much lower tax rates than the Golden State.

In California, the state sales tax is 7.25% while in Michigan, it is only 6% on purchases and the local government doesn’t add any extra tax on sales. While this is the bright side, you should be aware that Michigan’s 4.25% flat-rate income tax is still higher than many other states which makes the overall family income tax bill above the national average in the state.

6. Buying A House

Let’s just begin with some good news: moving from California to Michigan is going to be an excellent idea if you plan to buy a house. As you and the whole world must be aware, the property rates in California are always sky high and compared to that, Michigan has plenty of gorgeous yet affordable housing options. The housing for Michigan is 26.5% cheaper than in California. Buying a 1-bedroom house in the downtown area in California can cost you roughly $1,859.59 but in Michigan, it might cost you just around $966.18.

7. Renting A House

Renting a house is also cheaper in Michigan as compared to California but the rental terms and prices vary from city to city. In order to afford the average monthly rent in Michigan, a household would need to earn $16.24 per hour and the typical median monthly rent in Michigan is around $844 compared to California’s exorbitant $2,568.

8. Education

While California is home to universities like the University of California, CalTech, Claremont McKenna College, and the like, Michigan has schools like Aquinas College, Michigan State University, North Central Michigan College, etc. Education is a lot cheaper in Michigan and you have to pay a lot less for childcare too. Overall childcare is 31.8% cheaper in Michigan. The state has some of the best educational institutions and universities and is certainly a brilliant choice when it comes to art and culture. Michigan University is one of the best universities globally and Ann Arbour is ranked 9 for education across the world. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is the state agency of Michigan, in the United States that oversees public school districts in the state.

9. Utility Bills

Like most of the other services, utility bills are also comparatively cheaper in Michigan. California’s monthly utility bill is approximately $125.84 as compared to Michigan which is $121.41. While electric utility bills are almost similar in both the states, roughly the monthly electricity bill in California can be around $116 while it is $100.23 in Michigan. The monthly internet bills average around $30 in Michigan while it is $40 in the Golden State, while natural gas costs are significantly higher in Michigan than California–$74 and $34 respectively. The water bills stand at only around $28 in Michigan and average around an astounding $65 in California!

10. Crime Rate

It is always wise to know where a place stands when it comes to safety before moving. Michigan is a much safer choice in terms of crime when compared to California. California has high crime rates and is still ranked 12th nationwide and was higher than the national crime rate of 379 per 100,000 residents. By comparison, Michigan’s crime rate is a lot less. In Michigan, the national crime rate is 2,489 per 100,000 residents. Out of the 50 states, 34 of them have a higher crime rate than Michigan which includes California too. You can be assured and safe in Michigan and can probably enjoy the night walks with a lot more ease than in California.

11. Getting Around

Traveling in Michigan state is very convenient and you’ll have many options to choose from. It is also nearly 14.4% cheaper than in California. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) mostly oversees all the modes of public transportation services and their website is informative and helpful. Here, we’ll take you through some of the popular modes of transportation in the state:

By Road

Buses are the most popular mode of transportation in Michigan while also being the cheaper and more convenient option. There are various kinds of buses going on fixed routes at fixed timings to make your road journey easier and there are wheelchair services available too, in the standard transit buses. There are intercity buses taking people across the cities in Michigan and also a Bus Rapid Transit System. A BRT system basically has specialized design, branding, services, and infrastructure to improve system quality and remove the typical causes of bus delay with its advanced technology. Bus Rapid Transit is an attempt to combine the capacity and speed of a light rail or metro system along with the flexibility, cost, and simplicity of a bus system, which is a wonderful, fast and convenient option for you to go around in.

A vanpool is yet another popular choice which is also a safe, budget-friendly, and convenient option. As the name suggests, it is basically a pre-arranged group of people traveling to the same destination in a van driven by a member of the group. They are often sponsored by an employer or are subsidized by a transportation agency or the state. In Michigan, the Michigan Department of Transportation contracts with a vendor to provide the management of the Michigan program and also provides a subsidy for the capital costs of the vans. It can save you a lot of bucks and hassle if you find the right company.

By Rail

Rails are a popular choice among locals and tourists when it comes to traveling around Michigan. Rails are operated across the state which includes light and heavy rails. Light rail is a light electric railway which is a high capacity mode of transit operating in urban areas that include streetcars, trolleys, and tramways. Heavy rails, also known as the subway, is one of the most popular and fast modes of transportation.

The railway services also include Intercity Passenger Rail for long distances and Automated Guideway Transit operating without any physical staff as it travels. These include stops in Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Las Colinas, Miami, and Morgantown. There is also a Commuter Rail service that operates between suburbs and between a city center. Those vehicles that operate to and from outer suburbs beyond 10 miles are called Suburb Rail.

By Air

If you find traveling by air more convenient, there are many airports across the state for you to board a flight from/to. Michigan has four international airports; Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), Flint – Bishop International Airport (FNT), Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR), and Kalamazoo – Battle Creek International Airport (AZO). The DTW is located in the suburb of Detroit and is the biggest airport in the state of Michigan with 24 hours taxi and shuttle services available for you to get around the state or across it. The state also has other smaller domestic airports for commercial flights. Some of these include Delta County Airport, Ford Airport, etc.

By Water

Michigan is a state surrounded by water so water transportation is a must. Ferry services are available in most of the cities for you to travel through the gorgeous Michigan waters. It can be a fun activity while also a calming experience because most of the journey is surrounded by forests. You can hop on a ferry and experience the historical Mackinac Island, hike through Beaver Island, or climb aboard the largest operating passenger steamship in the United States–the S.S. Badger–which are all remarkable places to experience and explore!


Popular Cities to Live In Michigan

Michigan is unlike any other state in the US because of its gorgeous surroundings and the fine balance of urban and rural aesthetics. It is a great place to live in and will only become a better residential spot in the future. Whether you want city life or a country one, Michigan always has an option for you. Here are the top three cities for you to pick from:

1. Detroit

Detroit is one of the most populous and largest cities in the state of Michigan. Due to its ties to the gigantic auto industries, Detroit is also known as Motor City and is the birthplace of the first mass-produced car model T by Henry Ford. The city is a hub of art and culture and has many street and global artists visiting the city throughout the year especially owing to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit.

Detroit has one of the best museums along with the Theatre Bizarre which is home to many actors and artists. The region aces when it comes to housing because it is one of the top 25 cheapest cities to live in, in the US. West Village and Gold Coast are also some pretty popular neighborhoods that you should check out because they have many wonderful living options. good education, cheap housing with possibilities to upcycle, parks, wonderful outdoors, many family-centered suburban neighborhoods, and exciting job opportunities. A cultural hub that is an amalgamation of the old and new worlds, Detroit can certainly be your pick to start a new life in!

Median Home Value: $49,200
Average Market Rent: $824/month
Median Household Income: $30,894 (After Taxes)

2. Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is one of the finest places to be in, especially when you are an artist. The University of Michigan is located in this city which is a globally recognized institution. The city is surrounded by natural charm and is also a tech hub. It has the best of both worlds, combining nature and technology along with great food. Ann Arbor has over 300 restaurants offering you a variety of food and cuisines ranging from local bistros to global food chains serving European delicacies. The city is also home to many gardens and playgrounds with affordable housing and a wonderful culture, making it a great place to raise a family.

Median Home Value: $323,400
Average Market Rent: $1,237/month
Median Household Income: $65,745 (After Taxes)

3. Lansing

Lansing is the capital city of Michigan along with being a wonderful place to live in. It is a budget-friendly choice to go for because its cost of living is 17% lower than the national average. Buying a house is comparatively cheap too because the housing cost is 47% lower than the national average, with a median home price of $100,115 and a median rent of around $850. Lansing also has great ties to the automobile industry and offers quite a lot of job opportunities in the field. With the Lansing River Trail, many local parks stretching for miles, a variety of beers, great food, one of the best schools in the state, and beautiful nature, Lansing is a fantastic place to live in.

Median Home Value: $83,500
Average Market Rent: $819/month
Median Household Income: $41,674(After Taxes)


FAQs On Moving From California To Michigan

How Much Does It Cost To Move From California To Michigan?

Moving costs vary according to the moving company you decide to hire along with the cost difference between your places and many other factors. On average, it will cost you between $1,800 – $8,000 to move from California to Michigan, depending on the size of your move. There are many reliable moving companies willing to assist you while making your move easier and more affordable. You should always check whether they are licensed, bonded, and insured before getting the quote and finalizing the company that will help you start your new life.

Is It Cheaper To Live In Michigan Or California?

California is a great state but is certainly not a cheap place to live in. Housing, education, and even taxes are high in the Golden State, compared to which Michigan certainly is an affordable option. Except for the harsh winters of Michigan, there is rarely anything that makes it less of an option compared to California. The housing is affordable, the living cost is low and it also offers art and culture along with great job opportunities. Michigan is not only cheaper but also has better air, less traffic, and low crime rates making it a safer option to raise a family in.

Why Are Californians Moving To Michigan?

The biggest difference between California and Michigan is the affordability aspect. California is great but pricey whereas Michigan is great yet affordable which explains why many Californians are moving to Michigan. Michigan has all that California has to offer; nature, the coastline plus the calm! The state gives you variety and opportunities for a balanced life where your finances can be managed better. California is also extremely crowded as compared to Michigan so people who enjoy less traffic, art, and natural calm are moving away from the Golden State to the Lake State where they have all the museums and art openings accessible to them in a comparatively quaint setting.

See Also: Moving From California To Vermont | Best Out of State Moving Companies in the USA