A lot of people have recently moved to the Great Lakes State, and the number is only expected to go up in the near future. The population is just around 10 million at present. So, should you be among the next groups moving to Michigan?
There are several reasons why people are moving to Michigan. Also called the Wolverine State, Michigan offers many attractive aspects. Those who are ready for the next step in life – be it their career, furthering their education, growing their family, or retirement – are usually tempted by the state’s affordable housing market, natural beauty, and opportunities for higher education. The job market doesn’t look too bad either, though. However, the economy is subject to the usual fluctuations.
By moving to Michigan, one may expect employment opportunities, quality education at an affordable cost, and a decent outdoor lifestyle too. Additionally, Michigan boasts several unique landmarks such as the Henry Ford Museum, Lake Superior, and the Mackinac Bridge.
So, the next question arises, “Should we be planning to move to Michigan?” Before moving to Michigan or even thinking about living in Michigan, there are a lot of factors to consider. While the stellar education and reasonable cost of living (in some parts) are great perks, there are also some weird laws, harsh winters, and housing prices to consider.
Should living in Michigan be your next goal in life? Before looking at the Michigan pros and cons, we need to understand the basic facts about this state. After that, we can work on whether Michigan is a good state to live in for us or not.
Should I Move to Michigan?
To begin, let’s discuss the kind of state Michigan is:
Michigan comprises two parts in different shapes. Open up a map of the U.S. and see what the state of Michigan looks like. It has two peninsulas, with one being more populated than the other.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is often the forgotten part of this state. It has made Michigan famous for its natural beauty, with several scenic beaches along Lake Superior.
When people usually talk about living in Michigan or moving to Michigan, they don’t include the Upper Peninsula in their discussions. This is because it is mostly known for its natural mineral-rich deposits instead of college towns or sports teams. It also has a sparse population as compared to the lower part of the state. However, there are highways, industries, and educational institutes, such as the Northern Michigan University, in this area.
The lower part of Michigan has a famous mitten-like shape. This area is where we have the popular large cities such as Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City.
Overall, this is the real part to consider for most people who plan on living in Michigan. It is often called the backbone of the automotive industry in America, with gorgeous inland lakes, outdoor recreation opportunities, and relatively low cost of living. There is also a major sports culture in the Lower Peninsula, along with an awe-inspiring rugged landscape.
With all these attractions, it is no wonder that many outdoorsy folks are open to living in Michigan. It also doesn’t hurt that the Great Lakes State offers quality education at both the university and elementary level.
What is Michigan Famous for?
Now, let’s have a quick look at the main things that Michigan State is known for throughout the U.S.:
1. Natural Beauty: Other than the national lakeshore, Michigan also has a decent number of forests. In fact, 90% of the Upper Peninsula is full of trees. With more than 4,000 forested plots, we may expect forestry to be a very important industry in Michigan.
2. Freshwater Fishing Opportunities: Along with other water activities, the national lakeshore also allows for a lot of freshwater fishing. There are many kinds of fish in the lakes according to season, including steelheads, trout, and salmon.
3. Wolverines: The title of the Wolverine state did not come about due to sightings of any such monster. It actually comes from the football team at the University of Michigan. It holds a longstanding record of the most wins in college football history.
4. The Sand Dunes: Between Ludington State Park and Muskegon, the Lake Michigan shoreline displays the amazing sand dunes of this state. They are best viewed from places such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The dune reaches a maximum height of 460 feet.
5. The Lakes: Four out of the five Great Lakes in the country border the Michigan state. This means a lot of water activities for those who enjoy rugged outdoor adventures or want to try something new. Of course, a lake house isn’t a bad investment either.
6. The Auto Industry: Detroit is usually held up as the place where the American automobile industry got its start. At one point, it was the home base of major names in the industry, including Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors. This is why any Michigan resident will also know Detroit by the name of the Motor City.
Reasons in Favor of Moving to Michigan
If living in Michigan is on your radar, you should be looking at the ups and downs of life in this state. Before you consider the top five rentals in Bloomfield Hills, MI or Grand Rapids, MI, you should check out these major reasons in favor of moving to Michigan.
1. They Have One of the Best Public School Systems
The public school system in Michigan gets a decent amount of funding, which is why one may expect quality education at almost every level. The best example is the University of Michigan, which is one of the best public universities in the nation. Another close second choice is the Michigan State University in East Lansing, which has a somewhat higher acceptance rate.
If you want your child (or yourself) to study in a top-tier university at lower-priced tuition rates, moving to Michigan might be a logical step. Residents of Michigan pay a lower tuition rate for this university, though it is still not cheap.
Other educational options
Michigan also has options for those who want to study according to their chosen vocation. If this sounds good, check out the following options:
- Michigan Technological University
- Hope College
- Kalamazoo College
- Hillsdale College
- University of Detroit Mercy
With all these options, potential young professionals are sure to find the perfect institute for their career goals. They can choose to study in the second-largest city in the Midwest (after Chicago), or somewhere smaller and quieter.
Ann Arbor is also known for its excellent education institutes and accommodation options for students. For elementary options, though, Grand Haven seems to be one of the best spots.
2. Exciting Food Options
Most people are foodies at heart; if that is true for you and your family, Michigan is one of the best states to live in. They are famous for several snacks and meals, so be sure to try out the following:
- Detroit style pizza
- Coney dogs (with special Coney sauce)
- Wet burritos
- Olive burgers
- Paczkis (donuts with a Polish origin)
- Vernor’s ginger ale
- Chapati (salad stuffed in a pita)
- Mackinac Island Fudge (worth crossing the Mackinac Bridge for!)
Other than these options, Michigan is also the home base of several well-known food brands such as Kellogg’s, Faygo, Better Made, etc. You will be able to find these brands here much more easily than anywhere else in the country. Plus, this is the best place to find their limited edition and rare items.
Other than snacks, you have several options for a nice sit-down meal in Michigan. Here are some of the best Keego Harbor restaurants for dining.
3. A Great Place for Sports
This may not be an advantage if you are not fond of sports, but we’d say it is a perk for most people. Even if you are not a huge sports fan, the feeling of community and togetherness that football brings in Michigan is amazing. There is also quite a bit of rivalry among the professional teams, like the Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers, and Michigan Wolverines.
All in all, the excitement surrounding sports never seems to die down in Michigan. Even when the teams are having a losing season, Michigan citizens are there to support them.
4. Relatively Affordable Homes
Whether you want to live near Grand River or Ludington State Park, you might get one of the best deals on housing in the country. Michigan is known for having housing prices below the national average. However, you might want to consult a financial advisor before finalizing the deal on any homes for sale or mobile homes for sale in Michigan.
Reasons for the lower prices
The reasons for the lower median home value in Michigan may include the Detroit foreclosure crisis and the decline of the population from 2000-2010. As a result, the median home value in Michigan is much lower than the U.S. national average. However, keep in mind that Michigan house prices have definitely risen over the past decade.
Precautions to take
Before signing any kind of contract, make sure to ask about homeowner’s insurance and sales tax if applicable. The median home price may be lower than the rest of the country, but you still have to be careful of scams.
5. Beaches without the Ocean
While Michigan doesn’t have the ocean, it has freshwater beaches. These sandy spots are beautiful to look at and provide a fun experience each time.
If you can find a secluded spot, the beaches can be quite relaxing too! Grand Rapids alone has more than 20 beaches, so look around for one that fits your needs.
6. Lots of Famous Landmarks
If you are in search of a great photo opportunity, Michigan has all sorts of landmarks that fit the bill. You can take your clicks there and explore as well, learning something new each time. Just a few examples are:
● The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing
● Gateway to Freedom International Memorial in Detroit
● The Guardian Building in Detroit
● The Thinker in Detroit
● The Grand Haven Lighthouse and Pier in Grand Haven
7. You Can Hope to See the Northern Lights
The northern lights are mysterious, yet beautiful bright spots in the sky that show up without warning. They are only possible in some parts of the world, with Michigan’s Lake Superior being one of them.
At this spot, there won’t be much light pollution getting in the way of this marvelous sight. If you are someone who loves natural phenomena like these, you may want to move to the state of Michigan for good.
8. Exciting Festivals Throughout the Year
Michigan is also known for having several festivals and community events in the course of the year. If you already have friends or family there, attending these festivals is an excellent bonding activity. If you are all alone, these events can be a great place to socialize and make new friends.
Here are some of the must-visit festivals that take place in various areas within Michigan:
● The Ann Arbor Film Festival in Ann Arbor
● The Wolverine Lumberjack Festival in Wolverine
● National Cherry Festival in Traverse City
Reasons for Not Moving to Michigan
Undeniably, Michigan is a place worth investing in, especially if you are interested in exploring new places within this region. However, living in Michigan is not all fun and games. At some point, you might be quite uncomfortable for some time. Below are a few reasons why some people may not want to consider living in Michigan or regret their decision:
1. It is a Swing State with a Happening Political Scene
If you are all for the political game, you might not mind living in Michigan at all. For those who prefer to stay out of it all, however, this swing state may not be a good option.
If you are in Michigan during the presidential election cycles, you would be subject to several political ads, canvassers, and a lot of protests on a daily basis. Make sure to keep this in mind when considering a move.
Ann Arbor is blue
If you support left-wing political views or prefer to stay in the middle of the road, Ann Arbor will be your perfect Michigan fit. Since it is a college town, Ann Arbor and its university of Michigan students present a left-wing vibe more than anything else.
2. The Winters Can Be Very Harsh
The winter weather in Michigan can be very hard to get through. You would have to save up money and buy a high-quality warm coat and winter boots if you don’t already own some. It gets snowy as well, though Lake Michigan has never completely frozen over. Lake Superior, which has the largest surface area of any freshwater body in the world, last completely froze in 1994.
Mackinac Island is also very quiet during the winter, as compared to the 5,000 daily visitors during the other seasons. However, you may want to find out if the lakes in Oakland County, MI have any winter activities going on.
Lots of winter activities
The upside here is that you can take part in several winter activities. Ice skating, ice-fishing, sledding, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing are just a few examples.
Grand Rapids is a great Michigan spot for making the most of the winter season. They have all sorts of planned activities for both kids and adults, including:
● Snow tubing
● Downhill skiing
● Fat tire biking
● Sledding hills
● Snowmobile trails
● Ice fishing
The snow lake effect
This effect occurs when there is cold air over a warmer water body like a Great Lake. This causes the moisture and warmth from the water to go to the lower atmosphere, building up clouds and quickly releasing snow.
With Lake Huron having the longest shoreline of the Great Lakes, one may expect the snow lake effect to be especially strong here. If you are living downwind of any Great Lake, you may expect a few inches of snow lake effect in just one hour.
3. Get Ready for High Taxes
The daily cost of living in Michigan may be lower than average, but the tax rate is quite high. Here is what you should keep in mind when considering a move:
Property Tax: At 1.64%, Michigan is #41 regarding effective real-estate tax rate.
Sales Tax: Even without any local sales taxes, the Michigan state sales tax rate is 6%. This is higher than the U.S. national average. There are no local sales taxes.
Income Tax: Michigan has a flat personal income tax system, currently at around 4.25%.
Retiree Benefits: On the upside, this is a tax-friendly state for retirees. This means that it won’t deduct taxes from any social security retirement benefits.
Important Tasks Before or After Moving to Michigan
Get a Driver’s License
After you move to Michigan, you have to get a driver’s license from the state right away. This involves visiting the Secretary of State office, presenting documentation, taking a vision test, paying fees, and a lot more hassle.
The matter of Michigan not at fault insurance and auto insurance is another story. However, it is all a part of the Michigan DMV, so make sure to follow their guidelines.
Of course, you would have to take this step no matter where you are moving. To do this in Michigan, simply go to any local post office or choose the online method at USPS.com. See that you update all your address and shipping information for subscriptions, online services, etc.
Benefit from the Job Opportunities
With so many people losing their jobs or not being able to get any, this is not the time to take any risks. Fortunately, the economy in Michigan has been steadily improving for some years now. This translates into a slight improvement in the unemployment rate for this area. It fell from 6.1% in October 2021 to 5.9% in November 2021. With several industries seeing an improvement, it is the best time to seize job opportunities while they are still available.
Getting gainful employment does not have to mean giving up on your interest. Take some time and look around at all the businesses operating in this state. The agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism sectors are all going well in Michigan, so see if any of these can be of interest.
There are other industries here that have a lot of potential as well. These include healthcare, energy, IT data, IT information, and water technology.
Of course, with so many good schools in the area, it is always possible to get the required training and become a teacher. There is a lot of focus on quality education in Michigan. So, you may expect a career in education to be a good idea as well.
Many jobs in Michigan also allow their employees to work from home or work remotely during some days of the week. Before making any life-changing decisions, consider contacting Michigan-based friends or colleagues about any job information they might have.
If you already have a freelancing career or home-based business, Michigan should be a great place to live in. You will be able to find many new clients who are interested in unique offerings. Remember, working from home will allow you to stay flexible – you can enjoy those sandy beaches on your own terms!
Michigan’s population has seen a steady increase in the past decade. It may not be booming at the moment, but the state is a pretty decent place to live. It may not be for everyone, though; take a look at your priorities and requirements before moving to Michigan or any other place. The living cost might be lower than the national average, but there are compromises to keep in mind as well.
Looking at a site such as Pure Michigan should help us understand what the landscape looks like in this state. Before making any final decisions, however, an in-person visit is always necessary.
Of course, there is a wealth of choice when it comes to choosing a specific area when living in Michigan. To start with, you should check out why Keego Harbor, Michigan is such a great place to live in.