The Wolverine state – the 10th most populated state in the U.S with a population of just over 10 million, is the country’s automotive capital. For the uninitiated, Michigan has two parts. To be more accurate, it is divided into the upper peninsula and the lower peninsula, connected by Mackinac Bridge.
The state in recent years has been very attractive to people looking to relocate and settle down. In this guide, we will arm you with all the facts and numbers you need to know, when moving to Michigan, so let’s get started!
What Should I Know Before Moving To Michigan?
For starters, Michigan gets its name from the Indian word Michigama, which means ‘large lake’. This is not surprising as the state is home to the Great lakes like Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior. All of these lakes make for some great sandy shores and beaches, while also offering a variety of recreational opportunities. One thing you should definitely not forget when you’re in Michigan – if you are lucky and the sky is clear with the conditions just right, you can spot the northern lights, the Aurora Borealis, over Lake Superior.
The upper peninsula is renowned for its stunning scenery while the lower peninsula is famously shaped like a mitten, and the people of Michigan love it. You know what else they love? Sports! The folk in Michigan are a bunch of sports fanatics. We do not know how else to describe them. Just dont wear red on a major game day.
Here is a fun fact – Michigan is a swing state. So be ready for an overload of political campaigns and advertisements during election time. But on the bright side, there is a certain feeling to knowing that you are a state with the power to make or break someone’s election run. The fashion trend in the state is “layers” because you won’t survive with just one layer of clothing most times of the year. What we mean is, frigidity is never far from Michigan.
Crime Rate In Michigan
The state of Michigan is not a stranger to crime of any kind. Crime in general has dropped in Michigan over the years, but in some areas it is still above the national average. The violent crime rate in the state is above the national average, at a rate of 4.4 incidents per 1000 people. This means that you have a 1 in 228 chance of being a victim of violent crime.
Though the violent crime is higher than the national average, interestingly enough, the property crime in the state is lower than the national average and sits at 15.9 incidents per 1000 people. This gives you a 1 in 63 chance of being a victim to property crime.
The climate of Michigan can be generalized and said to be a humid continental climate. The state gets around 34 inches of rain, on average, per year distributed through the seasons.
The start of March brings with it the first hint of warmth and the promise of spring. The atmosphere is cold and damp throughout the month with frequent drizzles and now barely melting. The weak sunshine does shed light on the shoots and buds of plants poking their head above ground. It is in April that we see the first signs of warmth in the state, with the flora and fauna bringing life to the landscape.
From March to May, the temperatures rise through the months in anticipation of summer, with highs ranging from 35°F the early days to 71°F in the later days of the season. The nights see the low temperatures below freezing at 10°F in March to a much milder coolness of 48°F in later evenings of May. As the frost melts away throughout the season, hunting season opens up along with the beautiful skies. Love fishing? The rivers are abundant with fishes during this time.
From June to August, the days grow longer and the sun shines brighter to emphasize the warmth of the summer season. July is the hottest month of the season with temperatures reaching highs of 76°F to 85°F. In the southeast regions of the state, the temperatures can also reach as high as 95°F. The nights are relatively pleasant during the summer season.
The season is great for boating and spending time at the lake, camping and hiking and staying up in lodges in the mountains. There is one other thing that Michigan summer is good for – an excuse to wear sweatshirts. It is a rare opportunity as you find yourself wearing multiple layers through most of the year. But in July, you can wear a sweatshirt and enjoy the warmth of the sun.
In the later month of August, the days begin to shorten again and the warmth starts to dissipate as the season edges closer to its end.
September brings autumn to Michigan through to November with it finding its peak in October. The weather is pleasant at the start with steady rain throughout the season. You can also expect the season to be windy, so outdoor activities like hiking become all the more enjoyable.
It is towards the end of September and the beginning of October that you truly see the beauty of autumn. The leaves start to turn and the climate seems to be just right. But this is short lived, for almost as soon as the season reaches its peak, the climate slowly starts to turn. The days get short and the skies get cloudy, especially in the Great Lake region.
Soon the days lose that mild comforting warmth and the clothes start being worn in layers. November signals that the season is in its last legs as the hunting and fishing season is over too. The temperature starts high at 65°F to 76°F in the start of autumn and this will drop as low as 36°F to 50°F towards the end of November. The nights in November drop below freezing temperatures with the arrival of the first snowfall.
The winter cold starts to nip at you in December all through February with the coldest time of the season being the month of January. During this time, temperatures can drop as low as 0°F and can at times even touch -20°F. Though the season is extremely cold in its peak, it is beautiful when you can explore in the snow.
The back country looks gorgeous with trails to bike and go snowmobiling. The arrival of winter, though cold and dark, also brings opportunities for winter recreation in the form of skiing, sledding and other winter sports. Make a hole in the ice and look for fish or find that the cold stings as you look to climb the icefalls.
If you are driving around in the winter, make sure to do so carefully as the roads get icy. Oh and also look out for wild moose crossing the roads. One more thing, the winters are scenic, especially in the northern regions, but like we said, they are famously freezing. Our advice, when you are moving, do not put the clothes you rarely wear in some cardboard box to give away. You will need it.
Is It Expensive To Live In Michigan?
Michigan has a low cost of living compared to many of the other states. The median household income in the state is $57,144 which is lower than the national median household income of $66,039. Unlike many other states, Michigan does not have a local sales tax. It has a flat sales tax rate of 6% and a property tax rate of 1.64%.
Cost Of Living In Michigan
According to Salary.com, most cities in Michigan have a significantly low cost of living compared to the national average cost of living. There are some cities in the state with a cost of living higher than the national average and we have listed these cities below.
- Ann Arbor has a cost of living 6.7% more than the national average
- Canton has a cost of living 6.5% more than the national average
- Novi has a cost of living 6.2% more than the national average
- West Bloomfield has a cost of living 0.2% more than the national average
- Westland has a cost of living 1.0% more than the national average
Similarly, we’re sharing below the cost of living index of Michigan. The cost of living index is compared to the national average which is always set at 100. Overall, Michigan has a cost of living index of 88.9 Here’s the breakdown:
- Grocery: 92
- Housing: 76
- Utility: 99.7
- Transportation: 104.3
As per Value Penguin, the cost of healthcare in Michigan has decreased by 4% from the previous year bringing the average cost of healthcare to $402 per month. A family of three in Michigan, with two adults and a child, would have to pay approximately $1,141 per month. If you are a family of four consisting of two adults and two children, you can be expected to pay roughly $1,404 a month for a health plan when moving to Michigan.
Buying A House
If you are looking to purchase a house in the state of Michigan, according to Zillow, the average cost of a home is $202,279. This is an increase of 11.5% from last year. But again, this value is just a general estimate and can vary greatly depending on which region of the state you decide to settle in.
Renting A House
Not everyone is looking to buy a home right away. Some people look to rent a home or even share rent among roommates. Homesnacks estimates that the average rent in the state is $1,150 for an average 1,169 sq ft apartment. Compared to the national average of $1,650, this is roughly 30% cheaper in Michigan.
A studio apartment will cost you around $950 a month in rent, while a 2 bedroom apartment will make your wallet $1,149 lighter. Interestingly enough though, HomeSnacks states that a 1 bedroom apartment is cheaper to rent at $894 a month, compared to the studio apartment.
Utility bills are a significant contributor to your cost of living in any state. The average cost of utilities in the U.S is $370.16. In Michigan, your electricity will cost you on average $100.23 per month while water and gas cost $70.93 and $66.83 respectively. Along with other miscellaneous bills like internet and broadband, your total monthly utility bill is estimated to be around $346.51 a month. This is cheaper than the national average for utilities.
Michigan Employment Opportunities
At one point, Michigan showed the world how to streamline automobile manufacturing, with Detroit becoming a hub for this and adopting the name “Motor City”. Michigan, however, has a reputation for being a state that has struggled in the employment sector. Recently with the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate went up again, but in recent months it has dropped from 8.2% at the end of the previous year to 5.7% this year.
The major industries in the state of Michigan are manufacturing, tourism and agriculture. Not only will you find abundant employment in the manufacturing and agricultural industries, but according to michiganbusiness.org, the state’s business friendly mentality found growth in industries like medical device technology, design and tech industry, and the service industry.
The minimum wage in the state is $9.65 which is higher than the federally mandated national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The state of Michigan is not the best when it comes to education, ranking only 33rd in the entire country. Though at one point, Michigan had a below national average graduation rate, they have turned it around in recent years. The state currently has an 81% graduation rate and their dropout rate has dropped from 8.4% to 7.8% in recent years.
As per Private School Review, the overall tuition for private schools on average is $7,133 a year with elementary school average tuition is $5,027 per year and the highschool tuition average being $10,392.
Despite their school education not being the greatest, Michigan has some of the better universities in the country. University of Michigan for example, is among the top 25 colleges in the country. It has an acceptance rate of only 25% of the applicants. With a graduation rate of 81%, the Washington Monthly ranked it the 11th best university in the midwest.
For colleges in the state, the average tuition fees for residents of the state is $7,205 and $17,743 for out-of-state students.
Getting Around Michigan
Buses are abundant in the state of Michigan. Almost every major city in the state has public bus transit for both intercity and interstate travel. Companies like Indian Trails provide great service to travel within the state. At the same time, Greyhound buses have one of the most comprehensive systems in the state. Below we have mentioned the other 5 companies that run buses in the city.
- Jefferson Lines, Tornado Bus and El Expreso Bus run buses from outside the state to Michigan with many stops within the state.
- Miller Transportation runs buses across 7 cities and towns in the state and also runs interstate routes.
- Barons Bus Lines runs one route between cities in the state.
The cheapest bus ticket available across the state is $8 while the most expensive ticket costs $171. The average price for a ticket in michigan is $43
Though Michigan has over 3,600 miles of rail corridors, and 22 train stations throughout the state, it is not known for its train service. The state has major rail companies like Amtrak that run interstate services which connect the many stations in the state. Apart from the major Amtrak line connecting 23 towns and cities within the state and 235 interstate cities, Amtrak also runs 3 additional services within the city.
- Amtrak Wolverine runs a route that connects 12 towns and cities within the state.
- Amtrak Blue Water runs a route that connects 10 towns and cities within the state.
- Amtrak Pere Marquette runs a route that connects 4 towns and cities within the state.
The cheapest ticket you can buy on a service is $6 and the most expensive is $231. The average price for a ticket is $91 on the major routes.
Michigan has a total of 15 airports for commercial passenger flights. Located in the suburb of Detroit, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is the largest airport in the state. Incidentally, it is one of the 20 busiest airports in the country. It is also the only airport in the state classified as a large hub airport. Gerald R. Ford Airport located south of Great Rapids is the second busiest airport in the state. Apart from these two there are 5 other international airports in the state.
Taxi And Cab Travel
Taxi and cab companies are plentiful in Michigan, especially in the major cities. The basic fee for a taxi ride is $2.50 and you are charged $20 per hour for waiting and standing time. On an average, cabs charge $1.25 per kilometer. With the recent laws and permits, Uber and Lyft have also expanded their presence into the state, starting with the major cities. You can also find them at the major airports, but they are not always available in the smaller cities and towns.
To get around Michigan for the most part, you will need a vehicle. The bus service is commendable and available in most cities, but in the more rural areas and northern regions, nothing beats having your own vehicle to get around
The state has 15 US highways along with 4 interstate highways and 9 auxiliary interstate highways. The longest highway in the state is the 395 mile I-75, which connects the Ohio border with the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie. Well this is all assuming that you can afford to own a car in the state. Michigan is one of the, if not the most expensive state to own a car in.
Also Read: Michigan DMV Change of Address
Best Cities To Live In Michigan
When you look to relocate, anyone would want to relocate to the best possible town or city. Below, in no specific order, are what we believe to be the best cities to live in.
The city is home to one of the best universities in the state, University of Michigan. Ann Arbor brings to life an artistic atmosphere with its motto “doing life different”. It is also host to the annual Ann Arbor Arts Fair. The city offers great job opportunities and has made many spots on various “best places to live” lists. Ann Arbor is also rated as one of the most educated and the smartest cities in the U.S. This should give you a hint as to how great the school system is over here.
Ann Arbor also promises to give you an active moving lifestyle and along with the 130 mile Huron River, it offers parks, safe neighbourhoods and a relatively low crime rate. It does not matter if you are single or a family, the city welcomes everyone who lives life on their own terms.
- Population: 329,000
- Median home value: $417,340
- Average market rent: $1,190
Also Read: 7 Best Places to Raise a Family in the U.S.
With over 900 acres of parkland, the city of Troy can be found roughly 25 miles north of Detroit. The city has many attractive traits that have satisfied its residents over the years. It boasts low crime rates, reasonably priced housing and a thriving business industry. Troy has ties in the auto and banking sector, with great job opportunities. Combine that with great schools, world class dining and many opportunities for recreational activities, and you can see why Troy is a great place to settle with family.
- Population: 84,054
- Median home value: $359,480
- Average market rent: $1,080
Garnering the name furniture city at one point in time, and with the shores of Michigan located just 30 minutes to the west, Grand Rapids can be considered one of the best places to live in the state. In fact, Business Insider ranked it 13th in the best places to live in the U.S. The Grand River runs through the city, with numerous bridges connecting the shores at different points.
Grand Rapids has a variety of parks and museums among other sites, giving the residents a plethora of recreational pastimes. Home to some of the best schools in the state and a well paying job market, especially in healthcare and manufacturing, the city is surely thriving. The low crime rate, high quality of life and reasonable housing clearly makes Grand Rapids appealing to many families.
- Population: 601,000
- Median home value: $219,176
- Average market rent: $1,100
Is Michigan A Good Place To Live?
Any resident of the state will swear by it. They won’t stop shouting love for their mitten shaped home and this is evident during any sport event. With a low cost of living, fairly good housing and if you are in the right industry, a great job market, Michigan seems to be the right place to be for over 10 million residents. Very few states offer a great stay with an amazing view, but Michigan delivers.
People who love the heat and warmth may not take a liking to the state, as a lot of the year has a cool climate with the winters being cold enough to freeze you like tuna if you don’t wear 10 layers of clothing. Even more so in the northern peninsula of the state. The state is beautiful no doubt, and there are many great cities to settle down in. Michigan’s economy is good enough to pay you well, but only if you happen to work in their major industries.
Schooling here definitely needs a lot of work, but credit where credit is due, the state is looking to improve education. But if you are looking to go to college, then Michigan should definitely be on your list. So If you have a great job opportunity or any other reason to move to the state, and education is not really a concern, then do it. Because Michigan will reward its residents with a good life.
Also See: Top Out of State Moving Companies