(For the down low on the U.P. of Eminem’s homeland)
We have Michigan and its ingenious citizen Henry Ford to thank for those gas-guzzling machines we drive to work every morning. We also have Michigan and it’s Motown Records to thank for Stevie Wonder. For a state with such an innovative past, it’s no wonder the people there have found ways to flourish despite economic hardships.
Pure Michigan, as we see on TV every day, has so much more to offer its citizens than just cars and more cars. While it may have been hit harder by the recession than some others, it’s been slowly crawl back to economic security.
If you’re considering a move to this bustling Great Lakes state, make sure to consider all the pieces, both the good and the bad. Lucky for you, we helped narrow down some of the more important parts. Take notice, especially of the weird laws the state has (since that’s obviously the most important). Find out more by contacting an insurance agent in your area.
Michigan, particularly Detroit, was hit hard during the economic crisis of 2008. Truth be told, it was already struggling before the crisis hit the rest of the nation. Over the entire decade from 2000 to 2009 the state lost 805,900 jobs, or 1 in every 6. In 2009, its unemployment rate peaked at 13.7%.
One of the most important reasons that the state struggled to gain traction after the recession was its lack of diversity in the job market. The state lost 219,000 jobs in the transportation and manufacturing industry, an industry that accounted for two-thirds of the state’s jobs then. In 2014, the auto industry represented only 1 in 24.5 jobs. The diversification of the state’s job market helped bring Michigan back from the brink.
Current research ranks the state 23rd overall for best states for jobs and economic opportunities. This is a major increase from previous rankings, and today the unemployment rate is closer to the national average at 4.7%. Overall, trade, transportation and utilities have the largest workforces (794,200 jobs), with General Motors and Ford Motor Company employing many of them. Education and health services come in a close second.
Tourism is also a leading lady in Michigan’s newly emerging economy. In 2016, the state had 119 million visitors, who contributed more than $23 billion. Tourism supported more than 221,000 jobs throughout the state that year. Additionally, the minimum wage is at a healthy $9.25 an hour, and recent statistics ranked it 4th for affordability overall, and 8th for affordable cost of living. Not too shabby, Michigan.
For the first year since 2001, more people moved to Michigan in 2017 than moved out. A total net migration of 10,481 helped solidify the 0.3% population growth experienced by the state. That’s six straight years that the state has seen positive population growth.
With an ever-expanding waistband, the state of Michigan still manages to maintain affordable housing. Research ranked housing affordability 5th in the nation. Multiple gatherings of data conclude the median home value is $138,747, while the median rent price is $1,050. Prices are expected to go up over the next year by 3.2%.
While the majority of homes in the state were built between 1950 and 1959, there is still new construction to be found. New homes are mostly focused around the southern half of the state. Coastal areas are popular, and Grand Rapids and the eastern section around Detroit are the areas seeing the most.
People and Culture
Michigan is a state built on innovation and downright stubbornness. Both are what has brought it back from an almost soul-crushing defeat. Some would call Detroit filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation a defeat. Others saw it as an opportunity for renewal. Out of their metaphorical death grew a stronger and more accepting community.
Michigan’s people are feisty and creative, it would seem. They would have to be to survive one of the biggest challenges the state had ever seen (and the severe winter weather). Despite the harsh realities that face many Wolverines up in their northern state, most will still open their arms wide for any newcomers (and they’ll be the first to help you dig your car out).
Particularly in Detroit, where music, community, and resiliency often go hand in hand, the people are welcoming and ready to show you what’s great about their city. While it was crumbling around them, they stood up with pride and figured out how they could make the best of their situation. Like the Wolverines before them, they used ingenuity to foster growth and renewal, focusing on building up their communities from the inside.
They’re survivors in Michigan, whether it’s Detroit or the Upper Peninsula, or all the tiny towns in between. They’ve been dealt harsh blows, but keep coming back with a vengeance. We can appreciate them for that, and more. While there are different types of people doing many different things all over the state (academics, musicians, fishermen, tour guides, car factory workers, etc.), they all have one thing in common, they’re Wolverines. The name alone makes us want to move there.
Must-Sees in Michigan
Michiganders claim that their state is one of the most scenic in the nation. With over 3,288 miles of freshwater coastline (the second-longest coastline of any U.S. state behind Alaska) split between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, the Wolverine State has something very special going for it.
Here are a few must-sees every Wolverine would advise putting on your to-do list:
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: A local favorite situated on Lake Michigan, this perfect vacation spot offers pristine beaches, inland lakes and plenty of lush forests to explore. Stop by the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center for maps to guide you while hiking, biking, kayaking or clambering up the towering sand dunes.
- Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation: This one pretty much speaks for itself. For any car or history buffs out there, this one’s for you. Learn about the history of the automobile and other quintessential American inventions while looking through the unbelievable personal collections of Henry Ford’s estate. You can even check out the limo JFK was in when he was assassinated.
- Detroit: The whole city deserves a shout-out. Once a struggling shell of its formerly bustling self, it’s quickly becoming one of the most innovative and progressive cities in the nation, working to secure a future for its loyal residents. Activities to do here include visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts, exploring the city’s rich music history at the Motown Museum, and lazily strolling down the Detroit Riverfront, taking in the stunning views of the skyline.
- Upper Peninsula: With only 3% of the state’s population and 29% of its land area, this forested gem is more wild than tame. But that’s ok with the Yoopers that call it home. It has over 300 waterfalls and national parks, and offers visitors a chance to see the Northern Lights. Remember to consider the long, harsh winters when planning your family outing here. The land and wildlife are unforgiving, but worth the risks.
- The lakes: Michigan’s coast borders four of the five Great Lakes (all but Lake Ontario). There are thousands of miles of coastline to explore, and national parks and sleepy lakeside villages to discover.
Pros and Cons of Living in Michigan
For a state with such a troubled recent history, it’s important to consider the good with the bad. Here are some pros and cons if you should decide to move to the Wolverine State.
Pros of living in Michigan:
- Low cost of living: The average monthly utility bill in the state is $94.52. That’s 17% below the U.S. average of $114.09.
- Grand Rapids: It’s the second largest city in the state, with around 200,000 people, and it’s rated one of the top 20 places to live in the U.S. It has not only a welcoming small-town artsy vibe mixed with a strong sense of community, but also affordable housing, a growing job market, and plenty of recreational activities. It makes sense that young professionals and families are so attracted to this charming city (and did we mention a craft brewery scene that rivals the best in the nation?)
- Some of the best institutions of higher education: Michigan is home to top universities, including the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which was named in the top ten law schools in the nation, Michigan State University, and Central Michigan University.
Cons of living in Michigan:
- Expensive education: Stellar education is definitely available, but it also comes at a cost. The state’s average student debt at graduation is ranked 38th in the country, while tuition cost is ranked 44th. The average cost of in-state tuition for the 2017-2018 school year is $6,585.
- Winter weather: The winters in Michigan may be cold and snowy like many states, but it’s the utter lack of sunshine that has most people feeling the winter blues. If you’re planning on going to the Upper Peninsula, forget about anything even resembling warm weather for at least six months of the year. With average snowfall of over 200 inches, you better break out those snowshoes and hunker down for the long haul
- Economy: While the economy has been looking up the last few years, it’s still something to keep an eye on if planning a move. Some cities are doing better than others, so if you’re thinking about moving to Michigan in the near future, make sure to research which cities have the best job security and economic opportunities. Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor are two that should be on your list.
Every state has them, and we’re guessing most people ignore them. But it’s probably still a good idea to be a tad familiar with them, just in case you run across that one police officer who takes their job very seriously.
Here are the weirdest laws in Michigan that we thought prudent to inform you of:
- Persons may not be drunk on trains. Twenty-year-olds all over the state are lamenting their weekend plans in their studio apartments.
- Any person 12 years and older can have a license for a handgun so long as that person has not been convicted of a felony. Ok, so this one may not be actual “haha” funny like the others, but it’s still a head turner.
- No man may seduce and corrupt an unmarried girl, or else he risks five years in prison. Five years for picking a chick up at the bar will make you rethink all those cheesy pick-up lines. Men, you better stay old school and woo her first.
- Cars may not be sold on Sunday. Just in case you were really set on buying a new car this weekend. Make sure it’s a Saturday.
- A woman isn’t allowed to cut her own hair without her husband’s permission. Does this mean there is a waiver involved? Or do all the women just lie?
- In Detroit, willfully destroying your old radio is prohibited. They take music very seriously here.
- It is illegal to let your pig run free in Detroit unless it has a ring in its nose. Ring those pigs people, or they’ll put you in the pen.
Welcome to Michigan
Pure Michigan is right. The state offers so much to any casual visitor, and even more for someone looking at a permanent move. If you’re in the market for a move to the Wolverine State, consider all of the pros and cons. With a recovering economy and job market, it’s slowly transforming into a place people want to stay and raise families. With some luck, and ingenuity, it’ll stay that way. Find out more by contacting an insurance agent in your area.