Is Michigan a Good Place to Live? (Pros & Cons)

Moving to a new area to retire or start a new life can be exciting but scary. That’s why asking questions like “Is Michigan a good place to live?” is crucial. Having the answers to these types of questions will ensure you move to a place where you’ll be comfortable and safe.

So, is Michigan a good place to live? Like any state, living in Michigan has pros and cons. The top pros locals claim include having beautiful landscapes, great schools, and a reasonable cost of living, while the number one complaint of most of its new residents is its high taxes.

Definitely, that information won’t be enough, so let’s get into the details of living in the state. Not only will we discuss the above-listed pros and cons, but we’ve included more. Likewise, we’ll provide you with a good list of the best and worst places to move to in Michigan to ensure you choose the right city for you.

Pros and Cons of Living in Michigan

Marquette, Michigan

Nothing beats good preparation, especially for major changes in your life, such as relocating.

With the following pros and cons of living in the State of Michigan, not only will you be prepared for the worst. It will also help you adapt to the community and environment easily and quickly once you’re there.

The Pros

It’s great to move to or even retire in Michigan because of a good number of benefits you’ll enjoy, including:

Reasonable Cost of Living

Michigan’s cost of living is relatively more affordable than the national average.

To give you a better perspective, the average monthly expenditure on groceries will range from $285.25 to $1,021.42. Of course, the number will depend on your family size, where you shop, and other factors. Some individuals and families even spend lower than the average.

In terms of bills and transportation, it’s usually on par with the rest of the states in the country. However, expect to have higher utility expenses during the winter season.

That said, healthcare access is one of the top reasons the cost of living in Michigan isn’t ranked as high. It’s one of the top choices when it comes to healthcare affordability and access in the country (US News – Health Care Access Rankings). It means that there is great insurance coverage and lower out-of-pocket expenses.

Even better, Michigan has one of the lowest median house values in the USA, even if the prices are steadily increasing. You’ll also expect that rent prices aren’t as high since it’s about 23% lower than the national average.

Several Lifestyle Options

As one of the largest states by landmass in the USA, it isn’t surprising to find big to mid-sized cities, like Detroit, perfect for working individuals. If you’re into a more laidback lifestyle and a super relaxed retirement, you’ll also find the ideal place for you and your family.

When it comes to recreational activities, Michigan also offers a lot, whether you love the outdoors or the indoors. You can kayak, hunt, ski, golf, hike, camp, visit museums and other sites, watch sports, ride a ferry, and more! You can even look forward to enjoying several fairs and festivals across the state.

Many Scenic Views and Places

From the short list of activities above, you already have an idea of some of the scenic views and places you’ll find in the state, such as beaches, lakes, parks, and mountains. Apart from those, you can also get a clear glimpse of the Northern Lights over Lake Superior.

Historic lighthouses are also common in the state; after all, it has lots of lakes, from small to large ones. Other Instagram-worthy sceneries in the state are its functional covered bridges and scenic roadways.

Great School Options

Moving to a state with a wide selection of educational institutions isn’t just ideal for those who have children.

What if you want to study again? Perhaps you’re a retiree with a grandchild who will soon go to college and want to live close to you.

Similarly, a place with schools also helps with its economic growth because of the number of students, families, and professionals it attracts. Some graduates will even choose to stay, further ensuring economic growth.

From small to big private and public educational institutions, you’ll find some of the best colleges in Michigan, whether in a small town or a big city.

Amazing Food (and Beer!)

You’ll enjoy various food choices in Michigan from different countries and cultures. From burgers and pizzas to burritos and pastries, you’ll surely find what your taste buds crave!

Some of us also drink beer, whether during special occasions and gatherings or on the weekend after a long week. You don’t have to make do with bottled or canned beer at the grocery or those typically served in most bars and restaurants.

Michigan has some of the most well-reviewed and loved locally crafted beer in the US!

The Cons

Ann Arbor, Michigan, Snowstorm

The answer to whether Michigan is a good place to live in can be a no for you because of the following concerns:

Pretty High Taxes

While the cost of living in the state is reasonable, you have to keep in mind that Michigan is one of the states with a bit high taxes. Income tax is over 4%, while property tax is around 1.6%. In terms of state sales tax, expect an additional 6% on top of the total cost of the goods purchased.

However, you don’t have to worry about local sales, estate, and retirement taxes. Also, when you plan to retire in Michigan, you’ll love that it’s a retiree-friendly state.

What does this mean? No taxes are deducted from your social security retirement benefit!

Harsh Winters

The Michigan weather is generally tolerable because the temperature ranges from 17°F (-8°C) to 82°F (27°C). It’s also mostly cloudy throughout the year, so summers aren’t as hot and humid as Florida, but only warm.

However, the winter season is a bit harsh, with an average temperature and snowfall of 27°F (-3°C) and 43 inches, respectively. Some Michigan areas can even have snowfall of up to 160 inches! Plus, not only is it snowy and freezing cold, but it’s also windy.

Make sure you have a good set of versatile winter coats (view on Amazon), socks, and shoes that you can wear from December to February.

A Swing State

When asking, “Is Michigan a good place to live in?” you must also consider how politically inclined you are. Although most of the residents, especially students, are much more accepting of different political views, there’s a disadvantage to this.

You’ll expect many political canvassers and ads, especially during the elections. Political discussions are also common. Therefore, it’s one of the things to make a note of if you’re not into politics.

5 Best Places to Live in Michigan

If you decide to move to Michigan after careful consideration, here are some of the top options:

Ann Arbor

As a top place in the US for families to live in, Ann Arbor tops our list of the best cities to live in Michigan.

The city has some well-recognized schools for kindergartens, elementary students, middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students. Another is the number of community events suitable for children and families.

However, it has the highest cost of living in the state.

That said, it’s among the state’s cities with many botanical gardens, parks, and nature reserves. It’s one of the reasons that we also consider it among the best places to retire in Michigan.


Frankenmuth, Michigan

Another excellent option for those who have children is Frankenmuth because of its top-rated high schools. It’s also among the most affordable places in Michigan, so it’s great for mid-size to big families.

Traverse City

Sitting right next to Grand Traverse Bay’s shore and with some parks close to the water, this small city is definitely one of the best places to consider when moving to the state. Not only that, but you’ll also find above-average schools where you can enroll your kids.

Traverse City also has a very low crime rate and one of the lowest costs of living and most affordable healthcare costs in the state.

Therefore, it’s a great city for families and retirees alike. As a bonus for the latter, the small city has a large population of seniors you can socialize with!


Why wouldn’t we include the state’s capital? As a large city, Lansing ranks high in terms of the number of places to visit. From museums and science centers to parks and nature areas, you’ll never run out of activities to do alone, with your partner, or with your family and friends.

However, keep in mind that with the size of the city, it has an above-average crime rate. There is also a seemingly low population of seniors, so it’s probably not one of the best places to retire in Michigan.


As a small city, Petoskey has a very low crime rate, a below-average housing price, and one of the lowest living costs in Michigan. It also has a low population, perfect for individuals, couples, families, and retirees who want to lead a very laid-back lifestyle.

You must also note that there are not many recreational activities compared to other cities in the state. You’ll mostly find waterfront parks and other outdoor recreational areas.

5 Worst Places to Live in Michigan

Now, if you don’t want to consider our list above, it’s best to avoid the following places when choosing where to move in Michigan because of the increasing crime rate:

  • Albion
  • Benton Township
  • Kalamazoo
  • Muskegon Heights
  • Flint Township

Of course, we don’t mean that you shouldn’t move to any of the cities above; after all, no city is free from crimes. So, always make sure you don’t let your guard down. No matter where you live, an anti-theft bag (view on Amazon) or pepper spray is always recommended.

Is Michigan a Good Place to Live: The Verdict

The answer truly depends on your priorities, but considering the essential ones like access to healthcare and overall cost of living, Michigan is a good place to live on your own, with a partner, or with your family.

The taxes can be a bit high but has a good balance with exemptions and cost of living. You can even choose among the best cities to live in Michigan based on your preferred lifestyle: urban, small-town, or college-town-like.

If you have health conditions triggered by coldness, moving to the state might not be a good idea. If it isn’t a top concern, remember that the winter weather in Michigan isn’t always harsh. You can take advantage of it; invest in ski gear like durable goggles (view on Amazon) and start learning and enjoying a new hobby!

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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