SHOCKER: This Is Michigan’s Least Affordable Small City
All in all, Michigan's a fairly affordable place to live.
According to Ramsey Solutions, "the cost of living in Michigan is 8% lower than the national average, making it a more affordable place to live than many other states."
The cost of living in Grand Rapids is 3% lower than the national average. It's 12% lower than average in Benton Harbor, and 19% lower than average in Kalamazoo, according to the 2023 Cost of Living Index published by the Council for Community and Economic Research.
Michigan's Least Affordable Small City
But what about the places that are the least affordable?
WalletHub recently crunched the numbers to determine America's Best (and Worst) Small Cities to Live In for 2023 - small cities being those with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 residents.
One of the main criteria of that study was the affordability of each small city. Factors considered included:
- each city's median household income;
- its cost of living;
- its rate of homeownership;
- overall housing costs (determined by the city's median home price or gross rent divided by its median annual household income;
- and the percentage of households with severe housing cost burden.
Among the 39 small cities in Michigan that were ranked in this study, East Lansing rated as the singular least affordable small city in Michigan.
Really? East Lansing be less affordable than suburbs of Detroit or Grand Rapids? According to this study, yes.
Could East Lansing's home ownership rate be the reason the city tanks in affordability? According to Data USA, the home ownership rate in East Lansing is 38.6% - well below Michigan's average home ownership rate of 71.3%. No facts to back this up - but we're thinking it could be East Lansing's relatively high transient student population thanks to Michigan State University.
These Are the Least Affordable Small Cities in Michigan
Gallery Credit: JR