Moving to Michigan: All You Need to Know

Whether you’re standing in front of Lake Michigan or on your way to a football game in Ann Arbor, you can understand why so many people are moving to Michigan. The state is surrounded by the Great Lakes and offers the perfect balance of small towns, big cities, and outdoor adventure.

When moving to Michigan, you can expect an affordable cost of living and the chance to experience nature’s best with majestic lakes, rivers, beaches, and forests.

With a population of 9.9 million and plenty of space, Michigan lets you enjoy the great outdoors while also having easy access to job opportunities found in the city. 

But before you choose your new address in Michigan, you should find out what it’s like to live in the Great Lake State. We’ve put together everything you need to know about the climate, taxes, education, and more so you can make an informed decision about moving to Michigan.

Michigan Climate

Michigan has a continental climate, but the temperatures vary between the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula.

Northern Michigan is known as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This part has colder weather, characterized by long, frigid winters and short, warm summers. The Lower Peninsula or Lower Michigan is the southern part of the state. Winters in the south are cold and snowy, while the summers are pleasant.

In general, you will see all four seasons in Michigan. Summer temperatures hover around 83°F in July, and the state experiences 170 sunny days each year. You may experience temperatures as low as 13°F in the winter.

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Snow is also a common feature of everyday life in the state. Michigan winters can be intense, especially in the northern half of the state, with an average snowfall of 64 inches each year. Residents are also used to rainy days, with average rainfall at 34 inches per year.

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Although Michigan doesn’t experience a lot of natural disasters, flooding, earthquakes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes can occur. The state has taken the necessary precautions for any natural disaster, so if you end up moving to Michigan, you don’t have to worry about major problems. Just be prepared to shovel snow!

Taxes in Michigan

When you move to Michigan, you’ll want to consider how your tax situation will change. In general, the taxes you have to consider in the Wolverine State are your state income tax, sales tax, and property tax.

The income tax in Michigan is 4.25%. The state has a flat personal income tax system, so if you’re making the Michigan median income of $57,144, you will pay $2,205 annually in income taxes. In addition to that, the sales tax in Michigan is 6%. While high, the upside is that there are no local sales taxes.

If you want to buy property in Michigan, you will have to pay a 1.64% property tax. This tax rate is much higher than the national average, 1.07%. So if your home is valued at $154,900, the Michigan median value, your annual property tax will be $2,264.

Michigan Cost of Living

Moving can be pretty expensive as you have to think about paying a moving company and all the other expenses that come with transporting your belongings and starting fresh. But once you settle, you’ll realize that what matters most is the cost of living in your new home.

In the U.S., the cost of living is measured using a living index of 100, which signifies the national average. If a state’s living index is below 100, it’s cheaper to live there than the average, and vice versa.

Moving to Michigan, you can expect a living index of 89.6. Essentially, a Michigan resident will have a more affordable life than a resident of more high-priced states, such as California and New Jersey. Groceries, healthcare, and housing are all cheaper, but utilities and transportation are a bit more expensive.

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The median cost of a home in Michigan is $154,900, while rent is $871. With affordable housing, moving to Michigan can be a great decision for families and anyone nearing retirement. The housing market is reasonable enough for most people to find a property within their budget. 

One expense that is higher in Michigan is transportation. In the cost of living index, the cost of transportation includes the average cost of gasoline, vehicle registration, auto insurance, including the mandatory Michigan No-Fault insurance, and maintenance costs. All of these can add up.

When you initially move, you will also have to pay for a Michigan driver’s license by visiting the Michigan DMV and getting the proper documentation for an out-of-state vehicle.

But all in all, when compared to other states, living in Michigan is relatively affordable. The cheapest places to live in Michigan are Ishpeming, Iron Mountain, Center Line, Springfield, and Wyandotte.

Employment in Michigan

Living in Michigan also comes with plenty of job opportunities. Currently, the unemployment rate in Michigan is 6.10%, and the median income is $57,144 per year

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The top industries in the state are cybersecurity, healthcare, defense, and aerospace, with the top employers being:

  • University of Michigan Health System
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Microsoft
  • Ford Motor
  • FedEx

And if you can’t find a job in these industries, you can always look at a local supermarket, local post office, or cafes and shops. Overall, the job market is healthy in Michigan

Michigan Healthcare

In terms of healthcare, Michigan is ranked as #35 out of all 50 states. Michigan residents have access to affordable healthcare, but the quality of care is lower than what you’ll find in other states. For public health, in general, Michigan is #39. The 36% obesity rate could contribute to that ranking.

If you’re living in Michigan, you also have to think about the type of health insurance you want to purchase. Only 8.3% of the residents don’t have insurance in this state.

Michigan’s average monthly premiums vary depending on the type of plan, your age, pre-existing health conditions, and many other factors. But in general, the cheapest plan for a 40-year-old is $295 per month, while the Gold and Platinum plans are $500 and $594 respectively for the same person.

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As a Michigan resident, you can also enroll in federal programs, such as Medicaid. Michigan expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but if your annual income is higher than the federal poverty level, you have to contribute 2% of that income to a health savings account.

For example, the federal poverty level for a 2-person household is $17,420, so if your income is above that threshold, you need to contribute to your health savings.

Michigan Education

Although there are some great educational institutions in Michigan, there’s room for improvement. Michigan has an overall education ranking of 38, with its higher education ranking at #42 and the pre-K to 12th-grade education ranking at #32.

All this doesn’t mean you won’t find excellent school districts and universities, but you will have to plan your move to Michigan more carefully if you have school-aged or college-aged children.

Some of the best public school districts in Michigan are:

  • Novi Community School District (Novi)
  • Troy School District (Troy)
  • Bloomfield Hills Schools (Bloomfield Hills)
  • Grosse Pointe Public Schools (Grosse Pointe)
  • Northville Public Schools (Northville)

In addition to the public school districts, Michigan is also home to some excellent universities, such as:

  • The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing)
  • Michigan Technological University (Houghton)
  • Calvin University (Grand Rapids)
  • Hope College (Holland)

If education is an essential aspect of living in Michigan, then you should consider moving to the highest-ranked school districts or close to the top public colleges.

Notable Highlights

Michigan is surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, and so it offers residents the opportunity to experience rugged outdoor adventures and beautiful sights.

Some of the best tourist destinations in Michigan include Mackinac Island and the Mackinac Island Bridge, Isle Royale National Park, the Michigan History Center, Michigan State Capitol, and the Fisher Building. While you’re visiting these sights, don’t forget to try some Coney dogs, the famous Michigan hot dogs.

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Michigan also has an abundance of national parks and beautiful sandy beaches. You should visit the Presque Isle Park, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and the impressive dunes of Silver Lake Sand Dunes and Sand Point Beach.

Besides visiting breathtaking natural sights, Great Lakes state residents love their sports, so you should get familiar with the Michigan football team, the Michigan Wolverines.

Best Places to Live in Michigan

Now that you know what living in Michigan is like, it’s time to explore where in Michigan you might want to live. Here are the top five places to live in Michigan.


With a population of only 7,900, Houghton is the fifth-largest city in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but it’s still a small town. Settlers from England and Finland populated Houghton first and made it into a beautiful, charming little town. It has Finish saunas and high education quality, both for children and college-aged students.

There are also plenty of outdoor activities, such as biking, skiing, hiking, snowmobiling, and more. So if you’re looking to live in one of the top 100 towns in the country, Houghton is the perfect place for you.


Located close to Lake Superior, Marquette is a city of 21,000 people. It’s considered a fantastic college town and a great place to raise a family. Many modern amenities and activities, especially for nature lovers, offer you an active lifestyle.

There are also several festivals each year, including the Marquette Blueberry Festival, where you can try out everything from blueberry pizza to blueberry beer.

Recently, Marquette has also become a rising tech hub, attracting many entrepreneurs and new businesses. This has boosted the economy, so it’s even easier to find a good job.

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Traverse City

Similar to Marquette, Traverse City is located along Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. Known as the country’s largest producer of tart cherries, it’s a charming tourist destination.

Its population of 15,500 and the many tourists enjoy the annual National Cherry Festival, the beautiful lakeshore and beaches, the green hiking trails, and more. The public schools are also well-rated, so Traverse City is an excellent choice if you want a lifestyle where you get to meet many new people and set down roots.

Ann Arbor

As one of the largest cities in Michigan and the second-best city to live in America, Ann Arbor is a unique and beautiful place. Home to 120,000 people and the best public university in Michigan, the University of Michigan, the city is one of the best college towns in the country. The median home value in this city is $378,600.

There are many fun things to do, with parks, art and history museums, and outdoor recreation. You will also find many hockey and football fans here, so if you’re looking for a lively and liberal place to settle down, Ann Arbor should be at the top of your list.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in the state, with 198,000 people. It’s considered one of the best places to live in Michigan because of its energetic atmosphere, with many restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and parks.

Young professionals and families move to Grand Rapids because of the abundance of job opportunities, excellent public education, and fun activities.

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Filled with natural beauty, Michigan is a wonderful state to move to for people of all ages. An affordable cost of living, increasing job opportunities, and many outdoor recreation activities are only some of the many Michigan pros, so if you are looking for a new adventure, Michigan is the place for you.

But moving can be a hassle, especially when you have to ship all your belongings across the state or across the country. You also have to think about transporting your car. You can’t move to Michigan without a car since you’ll miss out on all the natural beauty and because many areas don’t have adequate public transportation. Instead, let us handle shipping your car to Michigan. Looking to ship to other states? Check out our list of states that we can easily ship your car to.

To give yourself peace of mind, consider hiring Guardian Auto Transport to ship your car. Guardian is the best car shipping company in the country, and they’ve transported thousands of vehicles for individuals and renowned companies, including Tesla.
Get your free quote today and start packing for your new life in Michigan.

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