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Where Are Michigan Residents Moving To (2022 Report)

The United States of America is among the most mobile continents globally. However, our rates of moving have been dropping in recent decades. For instance, in 2019, a relatively lower fraction of Americans changed residence than any year before since 1947, when the Census Bureau first gathered migration statistics. And now, a recent study points out that between 2019 March and 2020 March, only 9.3% of Americans moved.

Since the economic growth and the housing boom of the mid to late 20th century, American migration has been somehow declining. During the '40s, '50s, and '60s, as much as 20 percent of American residents moved each year.

To better understand this American migration trend between cities, counties, and states, we have focused this insightful 2022 report on Michigan and where its residents are moving to, and why Michigan residents move to these cities.

Top 5 Destinations Michigan Residents Are Moving

The outflow migration of Michiganders mirrors the pattern seen in most Midwestern and Northeastern states. Most people are moving out of Michigan searching for the sun or better weather.

So, what's with this outbound percent increase positioning Michigan among the top outbound states, and where are the Michigan residents moving to?

Based on our 2021 Migration Data Study, we compiled a list of the top five destinations that Michigan residents are moving to. They include:

  • Tampa, FL
  • Chicago, IL
  • Anaheim (Orange County), CA
  • Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
  • Fort Myers, FL

1. Tampa, FL

Florida is the top destination for Michiganders moving out of the Great Lakes state. According to a 2019 survey, up to 21,668 Michigan residents moved to Florida, representing 14.2% of the residents. Most movers settle in Tampa, a flourishing city located on Tampa Bay along Florida's Gulf Coast. Tampa is known for its museums, cultural offerings, lush gardens, theme parks, historic neighborhoods, and thriving businesses.

2. Chicago, IL

Illinois emerged as another popular destination for Michiganders over the years. In the same 2019 studies, about 6.8% of residents (10,396) moved from Michigan to the northeastern city. Most people settle in Chicago understandably because it’s one of the largest cities in the country and has exciting job opportunities. Chicago also offers affordable living costs, comprehensive/reliable public transport, plenty of nature, and incredible architecture.

3. Anaheim (Orange County), CA

About 4.2% (6,406) of people moved from Michigan to California in 2019. The city also received 3.2% of all movers in the country, ranking third in that aspect behind Florida (5.8%) and Texas (4.8%). Most people moving from Michigan to California settle in Anaheim, the second-largest city in Orange County and home to the Disneyland Resort. The city is also home to many restaurants, hotels, shops, pro sports teams, stadiums, and businesses.

4. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ

Maricopa County, particularly Mesa, saw an increase in movers from Michigan. The metropolitan city is home to rich traditions, museums, art centers, theaters, and opportunities for remote workers. In 2019, 7,914 or about 5.2% of residents moved from Michigan to Arizona and the majority of the migrants settled in Mesa, which is the most populous city in the East Valley area.

5. Fort Myers, FL

Fort Myers is another Floridian city that provides a refuge for migrants from the Great Lakes state. The area has seen population growth since the last census. It continues to grow, thanks to an influx of migrants from the Midwestern states. Fort Myers is ranked among the most desirable places to live on Florida’s Gulf Coast and suits college students, workers, families, singles, and retirees.

Why Would Michigan Residents Move to These Cities?

Since 2018, Michigan has ranked high on the move-out list and has remained one of the top outbound states over the last two decades. 2020 indicated a better balance between people moving out and staying in the state, but the scale has tipped to more residents leaving. Amongst Michiganders' top reasons for relocating to other states in 2021 was the search for better jobs. Other reasons include being closer to family and retirement. Here's a look at the five reasons why Michigan residents would move to the cities mentioned above:

Housing Costs

Housing prices are pretty steep in Michigan compared to the five states where Michiganders are settling. The majority of retirees and new families are moving out of the Great Lakes state in search of more affordable housing and rentals. The average home value in Michigan exceeds $205,000, a 13% increase from 2020. High demand keeps the prices high and strict zoning laws make it harder for realtors to offer more options.

Cost of Living

In Michigan, the cost of living is relatively lower than the national average, around 11% lower. So why do most migrants report the cost of living as one of the reasons for their relocation? It has to do with the high demand, taxation laws, and zoning rules. While house prices and living costs might be lower in places like Detroit, there's a significant spike in prices in other parts of the state like Grand Rapids.

Income Taxes

Michigan levies a flat tax of 4.25%, and the 24 Michigan cities also charge local income tax in addition to the state levy. As far as state-level tax rates go, the Great Lakes state imposes slightly higher levies than most destinations Michiganders end up in following their migration. There's a 6% state tax imposed on all purchases. Property taxes are also high in Michigan, although the total tax burden ranks lower than 30 other states.

Quality of Life

Nationally, Michigan ranks among the states with the lowest cost of living, but the quality of life is better in many other regions. Michiganders who remain are attracted by the lake effect, flourishing tourism activity, and exciting activities. However, the state has various cities that appear on the list of most miserable cities to live in. A significant percentage of migrants leave the state searching for a better quality of life in states like Florida and California.

More Job Opportunities

Michigan has a lower average unemployment rate but cities like Detroit record high unemployment numbers of up to 20 percent. Many people flee the Great Lakes state to find more job opportunities elsewhere. The five destinations mentioned above offer better employment options and arrangements, including remote workers and big tech industries. The search for better employment opportunities was one of the most highlighted reasons for outbound migration in the state.

The Declining Average Annual Population Growth Rate

Michigan has seen a declining average annual population growth rate over the last few years. The declining population growth is partly attributed to increases in people migrating to other states. Fewer people are moving inbound each year, and Michigan has also recorded lower birth rates. Births have been at their lowest since 1941, and deaths are also increasing. Combined with low immigration numbers, the population growth rate is poised to continue declining across Michigan cities.

Embed the Infographic by Allied Van Lines

Where are Michigan Residents moving to infographic