Moving to Michigan: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Move to Michigan and experience the magic of four seasons in one day! Ok, so this one may only be mostly true. Just like moving to any other state, there are pros and cons of moving to or living in Michigan, and while we may be partial, we believe the Great Lakes State has plenty more positives to outweigh the negatives.

Facts & History

Michigan, located in the upper midwestern region of the United States, is home to two distinct peninsulas and boasts an impressive 3,200 miles of freshwater coastline. Surrounded by the Great Lakes, which account for roughly 21% of the world's freshwater, Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the country. With a population of just over 10 million, it is the 10th most populous state in the United States, and at 97,000 square miles, it is the 11th largest by land area.

The state capital, Lansing, is home to a prestigious Big 10 university and a thriving economy. The Metro Detroit area, in particular, has seen substantial growth in recent years, with a population of 3.8 million residents. This growth can be attributed to the city's history as a major player in the industrial revolution. Detroit's location on the Great Lakes waterway made it an ideal location for shipping manufactured goods to the rest of the world, and it eventually became known as the "Motor City" in the early 1900s, with the Big Three automobile companies all calling it home.

Enjoy All 4 Seasons

Michigan is a state that experiences all four seasons in full force. While this can provide residents with a variety of outdoor activities and scenic views throughout the year, it also has its pros and cons.

One of the biggest pros of Michigan's four seasons is the diversity of recreational opportunities it offers. Summer brings warm weather and lake activities along with amazing music & festivals, fall brings beautiful foliage, cider mills and apple picking, winter brings snow sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling the over 6,500 miles of trails, while spring brings fishing at the over 10,000 inland lakes, hiking, biking, and much more. This variety allows residents and visitors alike to enjoy different outdoor activities throughout the year.

Another pro is the change of scenery that comes with each season. From the lush greens of summer to the vibrant oranges and yellows of fall, Michigan's natural beauty is on full display throughout the year.

On the other hand, one of the cons of Michigan's four seasons is the harsh winters. Temperatures can drop well below freezing, and snowfall can make travel difficult at times. This can be a major inconvenience for residents, especially those who have to commute to work or school.

Another con is the unpredictability of Michigan's weather. One day it could be warm and sunny, and the next it could be cold and snowy. This can make it difficult to plan outdoor activities or events. It’s a long running joke that you can experience all four seasons in just one day in Michigan. Actually, that may have some truth to it.

Overall, while Michigan's four seasons can bring a variety of pros and cons, it's undeniable that the state's natural beauty and recreational opportunities are some of the best in the country.

     

Winter

Continuing on with the weather, winter in Michigan is largely considered to be a Con for some Michiganders while others truly enjoy it - or at the least have learned to tolerate it. Michigan is known for its cold and snowy winters, and much of the state receives an average of around 70 inches of snowfall per year. However, the amount of snowfall can vary depending on the location within the state. The western and northern parts of the state tend to receive the most snowfall, with some areas receiving over 150 and up to 180 inches per year. While the southern and eastern parts of the state receive less snowfall, generally around 50 inches per year.

In addition to the average snowfall, Michigan also experiences something called "lake-effect snow." This occurs when cold air blows over the relatively warmer waters of the Great Lakes, picking up moisture and creating heavy bands of snowfall. These lake-effect snow bands can produce large amounts of snowfall in a short period of time. The lake-effect snow is particularly heavy in the western and northern parts of the state and areas near Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior are most affected.

Road Construction

Another Con is Michigan’s unspoken fifth season - Road Construction Season, which pretty much seems to be year-round. Michigan has a high volume of road construction for a few reasons. One of the main factors is the harsh winter weather. Michigan's harsh winters take a toll on roads, causing potholes and other damage that needs to be repaired. The freeze-thaw cycles, snow, and salt also cause damage to the concrete and asphalt, leading to the need for frequent repairs and maintenance. Additionally, the heavy snowfall and ice can cause damage to bridges and overpasses, requiring additional repairs and maintenance.

Speaking of tolls, Michigan has no toll roads to contribute to funding, which in combination with having a lower road budget than other states makes it very difficult to keep up the maintenance of outdated roads of the state's infrastructure. A large number of roads and bridges in Michigan were built decades ago, so over time they have become worn and outdated and require frequent repair to meet current safety and traffic standards. With a lower budget for repairs and replacement, it’s simply just more difficult to keep up with the continued worsening of the roads.

Excellent Food Scene

One of Michigan’s greatest and possibly most underrated Pros is the amazing cuisine found throughout the state. This is largely in part to the diverse ethnicities who brought their favorite recipes when immigrating to the mitten. Here you’ll find a wide variety of ethnic restaurants, offering the flavors of Italian, Mexican, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and many other foods from around the world.

Of course Michigan also has a number of foods that were created here and have become staples for many Michiganders. One of the most iconic foods in Michigan is the Coney dog, which originated in Detroit. A Coney dog is a hot dog topped with chili, onions, and mustard. This classic dish can be found at many restaurants and stands throughout the state, and it's a must-have for any Michigan food lover. The only argument remaining is where to get the BEST Coney dog, which usually comes down to Lafayette Coney Island and neighboring American Coney Island located in downtown Detroit. Another Michigan favorite is Detroit-style pizza. This unique pizza is characterized by its square shape, crispy crust, and toppings that go all the way to the edge and it is typically made in a square pan with a crispy crust, topped with cheese and tomato sauce.

Michigan is also home to a variety of other delicious foods made with locally sourced ingredients. For example, the state's orchards and vineyards produce a wide variety of fruits and wines that are used in many dishes. The Great Lakes provide an abundance of fresh seafood, and the state's farmers grow a wide variety of produce that can be found in farmers markets and road-side stands throughout the state. Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Vernors, Better Made Potato Chips, and that delicious sweet treat, Mackinac Island Fudge. Additionally, Michigan's thriving craft beer scene has also resulted in a number of excellent locally made brews.

       

Cost of Living

Another valuable Pro is that Michigan is often considered to be one of the more affordable states to live in. According to data from World Population Review, Michigan ranks as the 15th least expensive state in terms of cost of living, and has a median household income that is slightly below the national average. This means that residents' dollars go further here in Michigan than in 35 other states.

The real estate market in Michigan is also relatively affordable compared to other parts of the country. According to Zillow, the average home price in the United States in 2022 was $357,000, while in Michigan it is $236,000. However, when comparing homes in proximity to major metropolitan areas, the difference in price is even more significant. For example, the average home within a 45-minute drive of cities like Washington D.C., Dallas, or Boston is around $503,000, while the same proximity to downtown Detroit is $298,000.

This difference in price means that residents of Michigan can get more for their money. For example, $500,000 in Los Angeles or Boston would get you a much smaller home than $500,000 in Novi, Rochester or Grosse Pointe near Detroit. This disparity in home prices between Metro Detroit and other major metro areas is quite substantial, making it an excellent option for those looking for more affordable housing options, yet still desirable, place to live while having access to the amenities and opportunities of a major metropolitan area.

Sports

Rounding out our list is yet another Pro, being that we have phenomenal sports here in Michigan. College and professional sports are a big deal to Michiganders, with a strong tradition of competitive athletics at both the college and professional level. We are home to several major colleges, including the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, which are two of the most successful college sports programs in the country, and their rivalry is one of the most intense in all of college sports. The annual football game between the two teams, known as the "The Big Game" is a major event that draws thousands of fans to the stadium and millions of viewers on television.

Professional sports are also a major part of the culture here in Michigan and one of only 13 U.S. Metropolitan areas with professional sports teams competing in the four major leagues. These include the Detroit Lions (NFL), Detroit Pistons (NBA), Detroit Red Wings (NHL), and Detroit Tigers (MLB). Most of our teams have a long history of success, with the Red Wings winning several Stanley Cups, the Pistons winning multiple NBA championships, and the Tigers winning the World Series. We won’t talk about the Lions, but we still love them regardless. 

There is no doubt that our teams have a passionate and dedicated fan base, which is evident in the way that we come together to support them. From tailgating before football games to wearing team colors on game day, we take our sports seriously and are always ready to show support to our favorite team. This strong sense of community and camaraderie is one of the things that makes Michigan's sports culture so special and unique.

Michigan offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and economic opportunities. With its Great Lakes coastline, diverse landscapes, and abundance of outdoor recreational activities, Michigan residents enjoy a high quality of life with a rich culture & diverse population and our strong economy provides residents with ample job opportunities. Furthermore, Michigan's real estate market is relatively affordable compared to other parts of the country, allowing residents to get more for their money when it comes to housing. We also have a great education system and world-class universities. While the harsh winter weather can be a drawback, the state's strong sense of community, friendly people and abundance of recreational activities more than make up for it. Overall, Michigan is just a fantastic place that we like to call “home”.

     

Posted by Michael Perna on
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