Which cities in Michigan are the best to live in? This is a question anyone planning to move to this Midwestern state has on their mind. This article will take you on a trip through the safest and most pleasant cities in Michigan, and the most popular ones.
Don’t get excited hearing that the “Wolverine State” is one of Michigan’s many nicknames; it has nothing to do with the X-men, but rather with the animal from the weasel family whose name many local teams, such as the University of Michigan, carry.
Our list of the safest cities in Michigan should help answer any questions you have about the state as we discuss the primary features of its cities. Whether you’re here because you plan on moving to Michigan, or you’re just curious, you will find all the relevant data below—every city on the list contains a little bit of general info, the population data, the cost of living, and the crime statistics of each Michigan city (note that home security systems may be necessary for some of them, based on these stats). Hopefully, our data will make your decision easier, or at least interest you in visiting one of the cities.
Note: The numbers listed in parenthesis are the property (P) and violent (V) crime rates per 100,000 inhabitants, and they are the basic criteria by which the cities are ranked.
What Are the Top 10 Safest Cities in Michigan?
(Property: 363; Violent: 63)
Huntington Woods is one of the places that got intertwined with Detroit and then became one of its suburbs. It is commonly referred to as the “City of Homes,” suggesting that its nature is mostly residential, with not much to do.
The City of Homes has a population of 6,340. The median income is $113,750, while the median age is 43.1 years. An average home price in Huntington Woods is $371,000. What can the safest city in Michigan offer its residents?
Cities like this one are commonly referred to as “sleeper cities,” as they are mostly used by commuters who travel to the larger city—Detroit in this case—on a daily basis. However, there are still things to do here, such as visiting the Detroit Zoo, which is mostly located in Huntington Woods.
Those looking for work will find the unemployment rate of 4.7% especially attractive. To compare and remind ourselves, the national average is 5.2%. Potentially the best place to live in Michigan, those who dislike crowds will love the City of Homes, as the population has grown by just 3% since 2000.
The most compelling argument for moving here are the crime rates that Huntington Woods experiences: just 23 property crimes (18 thefts, 2 burglaries, 3 vehicle thefts) and 4 violent crimes (3 assaults, 1 rape) were reported during 2018.
Living in Huntington Woods does come with some negatives. Urban decay, a common sight for the Detroit area, is a major complaint among the residents. The cost of living is 35.9% higher than the US average, which is expected for one of the safest cities in America.
(Property: 467; Violent: 59)
Founded in 1832 and incorporated in 1930, South Lyon is another town that Detroit grew into, making it a part of its metro area. Despite being part of the Detroit metropolitan area, South Lyon is much more isolated from the city than Huntington Woods.
You’ll find 11,722 people living in South Lyon. Their median income is $56,000 and the median age is 40.1 years, while an average home in the city is valued at $328,000. Can this city be your answer to the question, What is the best city to live in Michigan?
South Lyon is a typical suburban city, with not much to do in or around it. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this city is its Witch’s Hat Depot, a museum and a gathering place for the local Historical Society. The unemployment rate of 4.7% is shared with the previous city on the list. The population growth of 16.8% in the last 19 years is tolerable, with the city managing to stay peaceful.
The low crime rates that South Lyon has are what make it one of the best cities in Michigan for singles, young families, and those looking for a retirement spot. Last year, there were 55 property (47 thefts, 4 burglaries, 4 vehicle thefts) and 7 violent crimes (6 assaults, 1 rape) in the city.
The cost of living, which is 30% higher than the national average, is the most common complaint among South Lyon residents, in addition to the urban decay that comes with living near Detroit.
(Property: 657; Violent: 10)
The third spot holder on this list of Michigan cities is technically a village and another Detroit suburb. Beverly Hills was established in 1958, and it was never incorporated as a city, remaining Michigan’s most populous town to this day.
10,424 people live in Beverly Hills, MI. The median income is $103,000, the median age is 43.2 years, and the average property is priced at around $380,000.
Galleries, parks, and a nature preserve are located close to the village, offering entertainment and recreation to residents and visitors. What makes Beverly Hills one of the best places to live in Michigan for families is the mixture of an unemployment rate of 4.7%, public education investments that are 36.3% higher than the US average, and the low crime rates.
During 2018, 69 property crimes (64 thefts, 5 burglaries) were reported, together with 1 instance of violent crime (rape).
The cost of living, 37.7% higher than the US average, is one of the two main faults of this village. The other is the decline in infrastructure, and population, brought on by the Detroit’s economic devastation. Even though it’s one of the safest small towns in Michigan, Beverly Hills is not for those who like the rush that busy places bring
(Property: 638; Violent: 53)
Rochester Hills, the largest city by population on the list so far, was a Native American settlement until the territories were divided in 1807. Just like the previous three places on the list, Rochester is part of the Metro Detroit area.
The city has a population of 73,424, a median income of $81,000, and a median age of 41.4 years. The Rochester Hills, MI, population makes it the 13th largest city in the state. Real estate data shows that an average home in Rochester Hills is valued at $308,000.
Here’s what you can expect here: Those who like spending their time outdoors will never run out of things to do in Rochester, as the city is surrounded by trails, parks, and recreation areas. Those who seek work here should have no difficulties finding a job, as the unemployment rate sits at 3.9%.
Rochester’s biggest upside is the city’s crime rate, which is impressive considering its size. One of the safest places to live in Michigan in 2018, Rochester had 471 property (403 thefts, 50 burglaries, 18 vehicle thefts) and 39 violent crimes (23 assaults, 3 robberies, 13 rapes) during the year.
As with most safe cities, Rochester Hills is expensive to live in; the cost of living in the city is 26.2% higher than the US average.
(Property: 534; Violent: 150)
Incorporated as a city in 1940, Clawson is yet another part of the Detroit metropolitan area. The city was named after one of the early settlers, John Lawson, whose last name was, unfortunately, misspelled. It has since become one of the safest cities in Michigan.
Clawson is home to 12,015 people. The median income in the city is $54,000. The median age is 40.4 years. According to the data available, an average home in the city costs around $190,000.
What brings people to this city is the fact that it’s close to the other major cities in the region, with plenty of parks and nature around to make you feel like you’re far away from the concrete. What makes people want to move here is a mixture of the low unemployment rate (4.7%), reasonable cost of living (5% above average), and extraordinary crime rates that easily place Clawson on the list of the safest cities in America.
Clawson had 64 property (53 thefts, 8 burglaries, 3 vehicle thefts) and 18 violent crimes (13 assaults, 1 robbery, 4 rapes) reported last year.
There isn’t much to do in Clawson, which is this city’s only setback. The city definitely shouldn’t be suggested to those who need tons of amenities to keep them occupied.
(Property: 845; Violent: 38)
We’re still among Detroit’s suburbs with Farmington. As it recovers from the misfortune that the area has experienced, this city is trying hard to become one of the best places to live in Michigan, and it’s doing so by investing heavily in rebuilding its infrastructure. Restored buildings, new sidewalks, and improved lighting will welcome you to Farmington.
The city has 10,523 inhabitants. Their median income is $59,000, their median age is 39, and an average home in the city costs $213,000.
Farmington is a place filled with stunning Victorian-style homes, and the city’s historic downtown is where you’ll find plenty to do. Those planning to stay permanently will appreciate the low unemployment rate (4.7%), the reasonable cost of living (11.4% above average), and the public education system, which is among Michigan’s best.
One of the safest places to live in Michigan in recent years, Farmington residents reported 89 property crimes (71 thefts, 12 burglaries, 6 vehicle thefts), as well as 4 violent crimes (2 assaults, 1 robbery, 1 rape).
There’s not much to consider a negative to living in Farmington, except for the fact that it’s not the most interesting city due to the lack of entertainment. Young people who like to party and experience different restaurants every day will have to travel 25–30 miles, which might be a deal-breaker for some. However, for those who like their peace and quiet, it may be one of the best places to retire in Michigan.
(Property: 917; Violent: 47)
Birmingham, with more than 20 parks, is another city that belongs to Metro Detroit, and it’s also one of the most expensive cities in the area.
There are 20,857 people living in Birmingham. The median income in the city is $107,000, the median age is 40.5 years, while the average home is valued at $482,000. What amenities come with this price?
As mentioned, Birmingham, one of the best cities to live in Michigan, has over 20 parks, with tennis courts, golf courses, trails, and picnic areas available. There’s a theater, founded in 1928, as well as numerous other sources of entertainment. The unemployment rate is sitting at 4.7%, making it easier to find work than in most of the US. In case you dislike public transport and prefer walking, you’ll love it here, as the city’s motto is “a walkable community.”
Birmingham showed impressive crime statistics in 2018. The city had 194 property crimes (179 thefts, 10 burglaries, 5 vehicle thefts) and 10 violent crimes (3 assaults, 4 robberies, 3 rapes) during the year, earning it a spot on the list of answers to the question, What is the safest place to live in Michigan?
It costs a lot to live in Birmingham; the cost of living is 52.4% above the US average, making it the most expensive city on the list, so far.
(Property: 916; Violent: 91)
Officially incorporated as a city in 1921, Royal Oak is a Detroit suburb that might be one of the best contenders for the title of the “Best Place to Live near Detroit.”
Royal Oak has a population of 59,008, a median income of $65,000, and a median age of 37.7 years. 27th on the list of biggest cities in Michigan by population, the average house in this city is priced at around $238,000.
Visitors will have plenty to do in Royal Oak, and even those living here will take a long time to explore all of the city’s entertainment amenities. It shares the Detroit Zoo with Huntington Woods, the first city on our list. The downtown area has developed as an entertainment and nightlife center, so young people will love this city. Despite the fact that it is one of the largest cities in Michigan we’ve listed so far, the unemployment rate in Royal Oak is just 2.9%. The cost of living is reasonable, at 13.5% above the national average.
The low crime numbers that Royal Oak experiences are what make this city so attractive to the younger population, driving the median age down. Last year, 543 property crimes (446 thefts, 46 burglaries, 51 vehicle thefts) were reported, together with 54 violent crimes (40 assaults, 7 robberies, 7 rapes).
The Royal Oak area, like most of Detroit, has been heavily impacted by the decline in the motor industry, which the city so depended on. However, this up-and-coming city is currently one of the most affordable places to live in Michigan, and it should definitely be short-listed for those searching for a new home.
(Property: 1,125; Violent: 114)
Farmington Hills is a neighboring city to the previously mentioned Farmington, and the two are seen as the same community. One thing they share is the low crime rate, with Farmington Hills being ranked the 30th safest city in the US back in 2010. What differentiates them are the size and amenities found in Farmington Hills.
Its population is 81,330. The median income in the city is $71,000, and the median age is 42.8. You can buy a house in one of the best cities Michigan has to offer for an average of $260,000, real estate statistics show.
What brings visitors to Farmington Hills is its plethora of museums, from the only Holocaust memorial center in Michigan to the quirky Museum of Mechanics. In addition, there are parks, a historical village, and plenty of things to do to keep you occupied. The unemployment rate of 3%, above-average public school funding, and low crime rates are what keep people here.
Crime data shows that this is one of the safest big cities in Michigan, as there were 915 property (719 thefts, 119 burglaries, 77 vehicle thefts) and 93 violent crimes (61 assaults, 16 robberies, 15 rapes, 1 murder) committed in Farmington Hills last year. Even though it’s not unsafe by any means, Farmington Hills is the first city on the list with a murder reported in 2018.
Farmington Hills is 19% more expensive to live in than most of the US, which might be an issue for many who are considering moving here.
(Property: 1,206; Violent: 126)
Perhaps the most important on this list of cities in Michigan, Midland was recognized as the 4th Best Small City to raise a family in by Forbes in 2010. This stems from the fact that it’s commonly the first choice for those moving to Michigan.
Midland has a population of 42,200, a median income of $50,000, and a median age of 37.7 years. An average home in the city is worth around $129,000. What makes Midland so popular and important?
A picture-perfect family city—with enough stuff to do so you’ll never to get bored—that isn’t overcrowded and ranks high among lists of the safest cities across the US is not the easiest combination to find. Midland offers just that and plenty more. With affordable housing, numerous entertainment options, an unemployment rate of 3.4%, and some of the most impressive crime numbers in the US for a city of its size, Midland is hard not to consider for your next home.
When it comes to crime in the city, Midland had 508 property crimes (444 thefts, 54 burglaries, 10 vehicle thefts), as well as 53 violent ones (26 assaults, 1 robbery, 25 rapes, 1 murder), making it one of the safest cities in Michigan in 2018.
There’s nothing that can be taken as a negative to living in Midland. It is a city on the rise, and now’s the chance to get in, while it’s still cheap, both in terms of housing and the general cost of living (11.7% below average, for now).
The 10 Most Popular Michigan Cities Ranked by Safety
(Property: 1,516; Violent: 65)
Is Troy, Michigan, a safe city? Troy is the place to be in the Detroit Metro area when it comes to shopping and business. To answer the question, let’s list some of the titles on its resume: it was the fourth most affordable US city in 2008, the 19th safest city in the nation in 2011, and the 22nd best place to live in the US, not to mention being proclaimed the safest city in Michigan in 2011.
The city has a population of 83,280, a median income of $84,000, and a median age of 41.5 years. An average home is priced just slightly over $300,000.
Troy has a waterpark, plenty of regular parks, museums, and many other features that should spike your interest. It’s ranked well on the list of the safest cities in Michigan, which, combined with the unemployment rate of 3.9%, makes it a perfect home.
The data available on crime in Troy shows that there were 1,275 property crimes (1,114 thefts, 94 burglaries, 67 vehicle thefts) and 55 violent crimes (35 assaults, 6 robberies, 14 rapes) last year.
The only negative side worth noting is the cost of living, which is 25.4% higher than the US average.
(Property: 1,529; Violent: 115)
With multiple churches, colleges, and libraries, as well as a large hospital, Livonia is one of the centers of the Metro Detroit area. Are you still wondering, Is Michigan safe? This city convinces us that the answer is yes.
Livonia has 94,635 residents, making it one of the 10 largest cities by population in Michigan. This city’s population has a median income of $70,000, a median age of 44.8 years, while an average home costs around $200,000.
Multiple colleges, libraries, and a major hospital, as well as numerous other amenities, are what draw people to Livonia. The unemployment rate of 3% and a cost of living that is just 7.6% above average also come in handy. The Livonia, MI, crime rate is what keeps people here—it’s truly impressive for a city of close to 100,000 people.
Statistics show that Livonia residents reported 1,431 property crimes (1,137 thefts, 165 burglaries, 129 vehicle thefts) last year. When it comes to violent crime, 108 instances were reported (76 assaults, 16 robberies, 16 rapes).
Not much can be considered a bad side to living in Livonia, except for its public education, which is slightly underfunded compared to the national average. It is one of the cities in Michigan that suits most people.
(Property: 1,729; Violent: 212)
Ann Arbor is one of the rare Michigan cities that wasn’t affected by the downfall of Detroit’s industry. The city has been dependant on the University of Michigan for a long time, as it employs more than a quarter of the population.
There are 117,070 people living in Ann Arbor. The median income is $57,000, and the median age, driven down by college students, is 27.9 years. Buying a home in one of the largest Michigan cities by population typically costs around $356,000.
Ann Arbor is a fairly large city with plenty to do. You’ll find a botanical garden, a museum of art, and many other amenities that are related to the University. This is a city full of young people, but it doesn’t repel the older generations in any way. Finding a peaceful spot in the city is not hard, with plenty of parks around. Finding work is easy as well, with the unemployment rate sitting at 2.9%. The Ann Arbor crime rate is what separates it from similar cities in the US.
The property crimes reported last year amounted to 2,108 (1,731 thefts, 278 burglaries, 99 vehicle thefts), while there were 259 violent crimes during the year (149 assaults, 53 robberies, 57 rapes).
Ann Arbor’s main negative point is the fact that the job market is not diverse enough. Centered around the university and its medical center, this city’s job industry has a long way to go. There has been some improvement with high-tech companies moving to the city, which is encouraging. Otherwise, this is the best city in Michigan for young people.
(Property: 1,879; Violent: 1,568)
Once a lumber town, Saginaw is now focused on producing clean energy. It is also a town of entrepreneurs and manufacturers, with more patents per employee than other mid-sized communities, as well as a higher proportion of manufacturing jobs than most of the US.
49,347 people live in Saginaw. The median income is low, at $29,000. The median age is 35.1, and an average home price is proportional to the income, at $90,000. It is projected to become one of the best cities to live in Michigan.
Despite all the flaws you’ll see listed below, Saginaw is shaping up to become one of the most popular cities in Michigan. The city is investing in amenities that will attract more families, such as the Children’s Zoo and the Children’s Museum. Adults can find entertainment here too. For now, the city’s main upsides are the affordable housing and a cost of living that’s 15.4% lower than the national average.
With 913 registered property crimes (455 thefts, 383 burglaries, 75 vehicle thefts) and 762 violent crimes (622 assaults, 75 robberies, 50 rapes, 15 murders) last year, the Saginaw, MI, crime rate shows that this is not the most peaceful city in the state.
For now, the negatives outweigh the positives when it comes to living in Saginaw. The unemployment rate is 8.5%, and the violent crime number per 100,000 inhabitants is quadruple the US average. This is not a city for those unwilling to wait a few years until it recovers fully.
(Property: 2,771; Violent: 206)
Southfield is home to five golden skyscrapers, being one of Metro Detroit’s most sought-after business districts. More than 100 Fortune 500 companies have offices in Southfield. But according to statistics, it barely makes the list of the top 100 safest cities in Michigan.
The city has 73,156 residents. Their median income is $50,000, the median age sits at 43, while an average home in the city is valued at $162,000.
Even though it’s mostly centered around business, Southfield has a thing or two to offer its residents and visitors. Public education is well funded, and the cost of living is just 7% higher than the US average.
However, the crime numbers in the city are a slight cause for concern. The Southfield, MI, crime rate figures for 2018 show that 2,032 property crimes were committed (1,454 thefts, 315 burglaries, 263 vehicle thefts), as well as 151 violent crimes (95 assaults, 37 robberies, 18 rapes, 1 murder).
An increase in property crime should be a major concern for those moving to Southfield. The number is above both the state and the national average, while the violent crime manages to stay exemplary. The unemployment rate in the city is also above the national average of 5.2%, sitting at 6.7%.
(Property: 2,420; Violent: 273)
The 8th largest city in Michigan and home to the largest Muslim population in the US, Dearborn is also the birthplace of Henry Ford. He built the largest Ford factory here, and Dearborn was one of the cities most heavily impacted by the crash of the car industry. Luckily, the city has mostly recovered.
95,171 people live in Dearborn today. The median income in the city is $47,000, the median age is 32.8 years, and an average home price is $140,000.
What is it like to live in one of the most populated cities in Michigan? As a city of almost 100,000, Dearborn offers numerous amenities. The city has an unemployment rate of 4.5%, while the cost of living is just 3.9% higher than the national average.
Dearborn does a lot to honor Henry Ford, probably the most influential person for this region. The Henry Ford Museum, Fair Lane, and the estate of the Ford family, as well as the Automotive Hall of Fame, all stand to show how proud the city is of its car industry heritage.
The Dearborn, Michigan, crime rate for 2018 is somewhat worrying, especially when it comes to property crime. There were 2,272 property crimes (1,776 thefts, 218 burglaries, 278 vehicle thefts) and 256 violent ones (167 assaults, 51 robberies, 38 rapes) during the year.
The city is still recovering from the devastation that the region experienced, which is most evident by the high property crime rate that’s shared among the cities with a similar past experience. This represents the main downside to living in Dearborn, MI.
(Property: 2,073; Violent: 712)
Grand Rapids, the largest of the West Michigan cities and the second-largest city in the state, is also known as “Furniture City,” as five of the world’s largest office furniture producers are located here.
The city has 195,097 inhabitants, a median income of $40,000, and a median age of 30.9 years. The price of an average home listed for sale in Grand Rapids is $145,000.
Grand Rapids is a large city with plenty to see. Museums, parks, and one of the largest urban historic districts in the US make it one of the best cities to visit in Michigan, and they are available to tourists and residents at all times. The city also has an unemployment rate of 4.5% and has seen a positive job growth of 3.2% during the last year, both of which are major upsides. The cost of living in Grand Rapids is 7.3% lower than the US average, which is another major positive side to living in this city.
The crime that the city experiences, however, is slightly against its favor. During 2018, the Grand Rapids crime rate was not impressive: 4,102 property crimes were reported (2,976 thefts, 763 burglaries, 363 vehicle thefts), together with 1,408 violent crimes (904 assaults, 351 robberies, 141 rapes, 12 murders).
Grand Rapids’ main flaw is the high crime rate that the city experiences, and it is one of the major concerns preventing people from flooding into this city.
(Property: 2,528; Violent: 1,078)
Pontiac, founded in 1818, is the second European-American settlement in the Detroit area, founded right after Dearborn. It is also one of the most unsafe places on this list and one of the worst places to live in Michigan when crime is considered.
The city has a population of 59,917. The median income is $27,000, the median age is 32.6 years, while an average house in Pontiac costs $70,000, showing that this is also one of the poorest and cheapest cities on the list.
Regardless of this, Pontiac can still be a fun place. It has a Sea Life Aquarium, a LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and a ton of other activities that children and adults will love. The cost of living in one of the most dangerous cities in Michigan is 9.2% below the US average, and schools are funded more than an average school in the country, both of which fall on Pontiac’s brighter side.
It would be safe to say that Pontiac had some crime issues last year: 1,510 property crimes were reported (820 thefts, 468 burglaries, 222 vehicle thefts), together with 644 crimes that were classified as violent (482 assaults, 97 robberies, 61 rapes, 4 murders).
Along with the crimes rates, another negative feature is its unemployment rate of 10.9%. The Pontiac, Michigan, crime rate being well above the national and state averages, for both property and violent crimes, is a concern.
(Property: 2,775; Violent: 1,945)
Flint earned its nickname, “Vehicle City,” by being one of the leading cities for automotive manufacturing. Companies such as Buick and Chevrolet had their main facilities there until the recession of the early 1980s hit. Nowadays, the city is most known for its drinking water crisis, which has been ongoing since 2014.
There are 98,310 people living in Flint. The city is not exactly the first answer to the question, What is the safest place to live in Michigan? It’s characterized by a median income of slightly under $25,000, a median age of 34.3 years, and a staggeringly low average home price of $18,000.
For those who decide to visit or move to Flint, there are things to do. Moving here might save you a lot, as the cost of living is 23.9% lower than the US average and the houses are so cheap to buy. In addition, public education investments are more than 30% higher than average.
In 2018, the Flint, Michigan, crime rate wasn’t winning the city any prizes: 2,632 property (1,397 thefts, 961 burglaries, 274 vehicle thefts) and 1,879 violent crimes (1,466 assaults, 272 robberies, 104 rapes, 37 murders) were reported.
To add to the issue of a lack of drinking water, which many suspect won’t be resolved soon, Flint has an unemployment rate of 9.3% and an obvious problem with crime. The population of the city has dropped by 21.3% since 2000, and it has commonly been titled one of the worst cities in Michigan.
(Property: 4,541; Violent: 2,057)
One of the most prosperous cities on the planet just a few decades ago, Detroit has turned into a shadow of its former self. Today, it is a city with thousands of empty buildings, and urban decay is present wherever you look. Efforts are being made to restore some of the historic buildings, and some parts of Detroit are even seeing an increase in population. At the 1950 census, the city had 1.85 million residents, but things have since changed.
How many people live in Detroit? Detroit now has a population of 677,116, roughly a third of the population it had almost 70 years ago. The median income in the city is $26,000, the median age is 35.1 years, and an average house is valued at $45,000.
Regardless of the population decrease and the depression, Detroit still remains a large city with plenty to entertain you. The cost of living is 5.6% lower than the US average, and public schools in Detroit invest 48% more per student than an average American school.
Is Detroit safe? During 2018, there were 30,458 property crimes (14,045 thefts, 8,258 burglaries, 8,155 vehicle thefts), as well as 13,796 violent crimes (10,193 assaults, 2,639 robberies, 697 rapes, 267 murders) in the city.
The unemployment rate of 11.6% and the high rate of crime are the main reasons behind Detroit’s population decline, and they represent the city’s biggest negative side.
From the decayed concrete of Detroit to the state’s small, quaint suburbs, we hope that this list of the safest cities in Michigan arms those moving to this state with the knowledge necessary to make the right choice. If you’re not moving, pay it a visit and get to know the cradle of the American automotive industry and one of the former moving forces of the nation.