People Are Fleeing These Cities And Flocking To These In Michigan


Michigan is a state full of natural beauty, a diverse population, and a rich history. But not every one of its cities appeals to locals and visitors alike. While some cities are facing population declines, others are seeing increases in population and development. What aspects of a city influence a person’s decision to live there or not? And which Michigan cities are the most and least sought-after travel destinations?

Michigan’s Population Trends

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 10,077,331 people called Michigan home in 2020, a 0.1% increase from 2010. This growth rate, nevertheless, was below the 7.4% national average and placed the state 43rd out of 50. Furthermore, the state’s population changed in different ways. While some cities saw a decrease in population, others saw an increase.

The Census Bureau also disclosed the 2010–2019 population change estimates for cities and towns with 5,000 or more residents. These projections showed that the top five Michigan cities with the greatest population growth were:

Grand Rapids (+11,412)
Ann Arbor (+8,449)
Detroit (+6,559)
Kalamazoo (+5,544)
Novi (+5,411)

However, the following five Michigan cities saw the greatest population losses:

Flint (-10,036)
Saginaw (-5,690)
Taylor (-4,538)
Westland (-4,120)
Pontiac (-3,958)

Motives for Relocating Within or Leaving a City

People’s decisions to migrate into or out of cities can be influenced by a wide range of factors, including job prospects, cost of living, quality of life, safety, health, and social networks. Depending on the tastes and circumstances of the individual, some of these characteristics may be more significant than others. Nonetheless, the facts and studies show certain broad trends.

Financial Possibilities

A primary motivation for relocating to a city is to take advantage of enhanced economic prospects, including employment, revenue, and business expansion. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in February 2021, Michigan’s unemployment rate was 5.0%, which was less than the 6.2% national average. Cities had different rates, though; Ann Arbor had 2.9% while Flint had 9.0%.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the cities in Michigan that saw the greatest population growth also had median family incomes that were higher than the state average and poverty rates that were lower. For instance, Novi’s poverty rate was 5.4% and its median household income was $94,576, yet these figures were lower than the state averages of $59,584 and 13.0%, respectively. Conversely, Michigan’s most populous cities had lower median family incomes and higher rates of poverty than the state as a whole. In Pontiac, for example, the poverty rate was 33.4% while the median household income was $32,049.

The cities in Michigan that saw the biggest population growth also had more dynamic and diverse economies, with a range of sectors and industries providing a variety of job prospects and entrepreneurship opportunities. For instance, Grand Rapids’ robust industrial, healthcare, education, and tourist industries contributed to Forbes’ 2019 ranking of the city as the 13th best place for business and careers. Similarly, because of its high-tech, biotech, and research and development industries, Ann Arbor was listed by Forbes as the sixth-best place for business and professions in 2019.

Life Quality

A higher quality of life, which can include things like amenities, culture, recreation, environment, and community, is another justification for relocating to a city. The cities in Michigan with the largest population growth also had better quality of life scores than the state average, according to U.S. News & World Report. These rankings were based on factors including crime, health care, education, well-being, and social capital. For instance, because of its rebirth, diversity, and thriving sports and cultural sectors, Detroit was listed as the 55th greatest place to live in the United States in 2020. Similarly, because of its accessibility, quality of education, rich culture, and beautiful surroundings, Kalamazoo was named the 64th greatest location to live in the United States in 2020.

In contrast, U.S. News & World Report found that the cities in Michigan that experienced the greatest population decline also had lower quality of life scores than the state average. For example, because to its persistent water crises, violence, poverty, and health problems, Flint was ranked as the 125th best city to live in the United States in 2020. In 2020, Saginaw’s lack of amenities, violence, and declining economy contributed to its ranking as the 123rd greatest city to live in the United States.


In summary, Michigan is home to a variety of vibrant, diversified cities that, depending on a number of variables, either draw in or drive out locals and visitors. Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Kalamazoo, and Novi were the most populous cities in Michigan as they provided higher standards of living and economic prospects than the state as a whole. Flint, Saginaw, Taylor, Westland, and Pontiac saw the worst population losses in Michigan; these cities also had worse quality of life and economic prospects than the state as a whole. These patterns are a reflection of the circumstances and desires of those looking to better their life by relocating to a place that better meets their goals and requirements.

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