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The 20 Worst Places to Live in Michigan

Highland Park

There are significant differences between the various cities and towns of Michigan, and each has pros and cons. While some places can offer an amazing lifestyle, there are other locations that are considered undesirable. Many factors can contribute to a place being labeled as undesirable, although high crime rates are often a significant factor. Other factors to consider are below-average education, high unemployment rates, a lack of demand in the housing market, and limited entertainment and leisure options. When a location ranks poorly in these areas, they are then labeled as the worst areas in which to live. If you are choosing where to live in Michigan, here are the 20 worst places to live in Michigan to help you decide which locations you should avoid.

Battle Creek

20. Battle Creek

Just making it onto the list of the worst places to live in Michigan is Battle Creek, and the main reason for this location’s ranking is that it is the 15th most dangerous place to live in the state. However, if you can overlook the high crime rate and lack of safety, then there are many plus points about this location, and many residents enjoy the lifestyle that this Calhoun County city offers. There are 51,475 residents in this city, so it has a dense suburban fee. Some of the positive features of the location include above-average schools, a decent nightlife, community diversity, reasonable employment opportunities, strong transport links, and a vast array of activities for residents to enjoy in their free time.


19. Muskegon

Muskegon is a city in Muskegon County that is home to 37,969 people. Like most locations, there are pros and cons to living in Muskegon. One of the greatest problems that make Muskegon an undesirable area is the high number of property crimes, as it has the 15th highest rate of property crimes in the state. Other issues include poorly rated schools, a lack of family-oriented activities, and a weak job market. On the other hand, the community is diverse, there is a vibrant nightlife, and residents have access to outdoor spaces near their homes. Therefore, it is a location that will suit some people, while others will consider it an undesirable area.


18. Albion

Albion is a small town in Calhoun County with a population of 8,324 people, and it offers residents a sparse suburban feel. There are lots of leisure and entertainment options in the area, and the community is diverse. However, Albion is the 13th most dangerous place to live in Michigan, and this makes it an undesirable place to live. Another area of concern is education, as the public schools are significantly below par, which is an issue for families considering moving to the area.

Harper Woods

17. Harper Woods

Harper Woods is a suburb of Detroit in Wayne County, and it is home to 13,959 people. Property crime is a problem in Harper Woods, as it has the seventh-most property crimes in Michigan. A lack of diversity in the job market is a further issue in this location. On the other hand, there are also some good points about Harper Woods, which mean it can offer some people a good lifestyle. For example, the public schools are highly-rated, the community is diverse, and there is a good selection of activities for the residents to enjoy in their free time.


16. Ypsilanti

According to Niche, Ypsilanti is a suburb of Detroit in Washtenaw County, and it has a population of 20,939 residents. Ypsilanti has earned its unfortunate position on this list primarily because of the high crime rates. Overall, it is the 10th most dangerous place to live in Michigan. However, poorly performing schools and a lack of family-oriented activities have also contributed to Ypsilanti’s inclusion on the list. On the other hand, it is a good place to live if you enjoy a busy lifestyle, as it has a bustling nightlife and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in this area.

Three Rivers

15. Three Rivers

Three Rivers is the seventh most dangerous place to live in Michigan, and this is the primary reason that this town in St. Joseph County is in the 20 worst places to live in the state. Another issue worth noting is the schools, as they are below average. Although the schools are not great and crime is an issue, Three Rivers also has some positive features. These include good commutability, a diverse community, and many activities to enjoy for people of all ages.

Lansing Township

14. Lansing Township

Although Lansing Township has some positive points, crime is a big issue in this area. It has the second-highest property crime rate in Michigan, although violent crime is less of an issue as Lansing Township does not rank in the top 20 for this type of crime. Lansing Township is located in Ingham County, and it has a population of 8,126 people. One of the plus points of living in this area is that Lansing Township has plenty of things to see and do, says Trip Advisor. Some of these include Potter Park Zoo, Michigan State Capitol, Michigan History Center, Impression 5 Science Center, and Hawk Island Park.


13. Jackson

Jackson’s biggest issue is the high crime rates, as it has the fifth-most property crimes and the ninth-most violent crimes in Michigan. Therefore, it is the fifth-most dangerous place to live in the state overall. The underfunded schools in Jackson also perform poorly in the rankings. However, Jackson does not rank higher on the list as there are many positive features of this location, including community diversity, plenty of activities to enjoy, and good transport links to the surrounding area.


12. Kalamazoo

The fourth-most dangerous place to live in Michigan is Kalamazoo, as it has the fifth-most property crimes and the ninth-highest violent crime rate. If it was not for the many positive features of this city in Kalamazoo County, it would rank much higher on the list. Some of its good points include above-average schools, a wide range of leisure activities for people of all ages, and good transport links.

Benton Township

11. Benton Township

It is surprising that Benton Township does not appear higher on this list, as it is the most dangerous place to live in Michigan, according to FBI data. It has the highest property crime rate and the third-most violent crime in the state. It is only because of some of Benton Township’s positive features that it does not rank higher. Benton Township is a civil township in northern lower Michigan with a population of 14,372 residents.


10. Flint

Although Flint does not rank in the top 20 most dangerous cities in Michigan overall, it does have a very high violent crime rate, as it has the seventh-most violent crime in the state. It is the best place to find a cheap home in Michigan, as it has the lowest median home value at $28,700. However, this is not necessarily a positive point, as it is a sign of a lack of demand for housing. Another indicator of the poor economy in Flint is the unemployment rate, which at 20.9 percent is the third-highest in Michigan.

Muskegon Heights

9. Muskegon Heights

Muskegon Heights is the second-most dangerous place to live in Michigan, which is the primary reason why it is in the top ten worst places to live in the state. Violent crimes are the most significant problem, as Muskegon Heights has more violent crimes than anywhere else in the state. It also has the fourth-highest property crime rate in the state. The economy is also weak in Muskegon Heights, as it has the sixth-worst unemployment rate of 16.7 percent and the sixth lowest median home value at $42,700.


8. Pontiac

Pontiac is a town in Oakland County with a population of 60,116. The unemployment rate of 13.3 percent is the ninth-worst in Michigan, and it is a sign of Pontiac’s poor economy. The median home values are also the 12th worst in the state at $62,900. Another issue in Pontiac is the high rate of violent crime, as this city has the eighth-most violent crimes anywhere in the state.


7. Dowagiac

Dowagiac is a town in Cass County with a population of 5,779 people. It has the 17th most property crimes, although it does not rank in the top 20 for violent crimes. Sadly, the high property crime rates are not the only problem in the area. Employment opportunities in Dowagiac are poor, and 12.2 percent of the population are out of work. Both median household incomes and median home values are low in Dowagiac. A further problem is the public schools, as these are below average.


6. Ecorse

Despite not being in the 20 most dangerous places to live in Michigan, Ecorse has many problems that make it an undesirable location. It has the eighth-highest unemployment rate at 13.4 percent, and the median household income is below average. The lack of demand for housing also reflects the area’s undesirability, and the median home value is just $40,500. Ecorse is not a good option for families, as the schools are significantly below average and there is a lack of family-oriented activities to enjoy.

Benton Harbor

5. Benton Harbor

Another significant issue in Benton Harbor is crime, as it is the eighth-most dangerous place to live in Michigan. The unemployment rate is high at 17.1 percent, which is the fifth-worst unemployment rate in the state. Those who work are not much better off, as the median household income is barely above the poverty line.


4. Detroit

It will come as no surprise to many people to see Detroit so high on the list, as it has the third-most crimes in Michigan. Detroit has the fourth-highest violent crime rate and the eighth-most property crimes. It has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the state, and those in work have some of the lowest median household incomes. A high proportion of the 677,155 people who live in this city are living on or below the poverty line.

River Rouge

3. River Rouge

Violent crime is a significant issue in River Rouge, as it has the 14th highest violent crime rate in Michigan. It also has the second-worst unemployment rate and the third-lowest median home value. Therefore, both crime and economic issues contribute to River Rouge’s position on the list. River Rouge is in Wayne County, and it is home to 7,536 people.


2. Lapeer

Although the crime rates are not that high in Lapeer, it is a location with many other issues that have led to it being the second-worst place to live in Michigan. Lapeer has some of the highest home values in the state, and it puts owning property out of reach for many of the area’s residents. This location has the 13th highest unemployment rate in Michigan, and those in work have low incomes. Another reason this location ranks so high on the list is that public schools in the area are below par.

Highland Park

1. Highland Park

According to Road Snacks, the worst place to live in Michigan is Highland Park, and there are many reasons that this location ranks in the top position. Highland Park is the ninth-most dangerous place to live in Michigan. Unfortunately, crime is not the only issue in this city. Violent crimes are significantly higher than property crimes, as Highland Park has the second-highest violent crime rate in the state, while its property crime rate does not rank in the top 20 in Michigan. Highland Park has a population of 10,915, and it is surrounded by Detroit. Unfortunately, the government will not absorb Highland Park into Detroit due to the high crime rates. Not only is crime high, but Highland Park also had the highest unemployment rate in Michigan and the second-worst median home value.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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