Moving from California to Michigan

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Moving From California to Michigan

Making a move from California to Michigan represents a significant change, but the rewards are many for those willing to do it, the rewards are many. While geographically distant, the two states do share some similarities - abundant coastline, high-quality outdoor recreation, and tremendous state pride. Read on to learn more about the logistics and rationale for making the move.

Moving from California to Michigan

Benefits of Moving From California to Michigan

Michigan may not top many people’s list of dream destinations, but that is starting to change as Americans wake up to the tremendous opportunities available. From the rugged coastline of Lake Superior and the Porcupine Mountains to artsy communities like Marquette, Michigan has a lot to offer.

Cost of Living

Few states fare better than Michigan in terms of cost of living. According to US News & World Report, Michigan ranks 5th among all states in terms of affordability. While some Californians may do a little collar-tugging when seeing median income figures just over $30,000, they would do well to remember that a dollar goes much further. Prospective homeowners are looking at a median home price of around $175,000, compared to more than $600,000 for California.

Home prices represent the biggest difference - almost 25% below the national average. Groceries, transportation, and utilities all come with lower price tags in Michigan as well. Especially when compared to California, movers will find significant savings in their day to day lives with a relocation.

Where Michigan really stands out is the affordability of its major metropolitan areas. Compared to Los Angeles or San Francisco, Michigan’s big cities offer unparalleled opportunities for affordable homeownership while still providing the finer things like high-end restaurants, theaters, museums, and sports teams.

Economic Opportunity

Michigan enjoys a storied history of good-paying, blue-collar jobs. The birthplace of the assembly line, manufacturing continues to be a significant driver of Michigan’s economic sector. For those with a more entrepreneurial spirit, Michigan ranks 16th in terms of growth. The trend should continue thanks to a particularly youthful bend in the population curve.

Slowly but surely, Michigan has begun to shed its reputation as a rust belt icon in favor of a more diverse economy. While the automotive sector springs to mind when most people think of Michigan, the state enjoys a rich portfolio of different industries.

Thanks to an abundance of public lands and waters, the tourism industry brings in over $17 billion each year, with the ecologically fascinating Upper Peninsula providing a nationwide draw. The other side of the Mackinac bridge plays host to significant agricultural and forestry resources in the rural areas, while the urban areas have sizable manufacturing and shipping industries.

In other words, from high-tech jobs to community farming, opportunity abounds in Michigan for almost any profession. In 2018, Michigan ranked 19th in terms of state gross domestic product. That figure by itself would speak to a strong economy but speaks volumes more when considering the particularly diverse nature by which it achieved that rank.

Outdoor Recreation

No Sierras? No problem. Michigan is a wonderland of outdoor recreation, with a surprisingly diverse suite of opportunities. Californians concerned about leaving the beaches behind might be shocked to know Michigan boasts the second most coastline of any state behind Alaska, albeit entirely freshwater.

With world-class angling in fly-fishable trout streams to the deep waters of the Great Lakes, fantastic hiking and mountain biking - especially in the Upper Peninsula - Michigan can accommodate the interests of virtually any outdoor enthusiast. Stunning scenery, including Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, provide great backdrops for unforgettable adventures. The state is most known for its winter recreation. Michigan is one of only three states with an extensive system of interconnected snowmobile trails, over 6300 miles of which loop through national and state forests and private lands. Michigan is home to arguably the best skiing in the Midwest thanks to over 300” of snow in the Upper Peninsula and resorts like Mount Bohemia.

Quality of Life

Michigan enjoys excellent rankings in some of the essential quality of life measures. Ranking 16th in terms of healthcare quality, and 15th in terms of access, Michigan has an excellent medical infrastructure for Californians considering relocation.

While Michigan sits in the middle of the road in terms of public K-12 education, and higher educational offerings leave a little to be desired, the state does play host to some remarkable institutions. For example, The Interlochen Center for the Arts draws people from all over the world with a lengthy list of notable alumni.

Culturally, Michigan is a remarkably diverse state. Populations in big cities enjoy high minority populations, including many thriving immigrant communities. Rural areas skew more heavily towards Caucasian demographics. The state has a number of critically acclaimed arts centers and museums and an incredibly popular sports community, both collegiate and professional.

Cost of Moving From California to Michigan

The average cost of a move from California to Michigan is $4,357.64. The cost of moving from can vary greatly depending on the number of belongings, distance, packing and unpacking, special items and much more, so your best bet for determining the true cost is to fill out the Instaquote above.

Cost to Move to Michigan from California

Most Popular Cities in Michigan


With a population of over 700,000, Detroit is the most populous city in Michigan. Detroit has a remarkable history of arts and culture, birthing many of the country’s most famous musical acts. Despite a somewhat checkered reputation, CNN ranked downtown Detroit as one of the best neighborhoods in which to retire among major metropolitan areas.

Grand Rapids

Michigan’s second most populous city, Grand Rapids has over 188,000 residents as of the 2010 census. The “Beer City” Ale Trail boasts over 80 craft breweries, among the highest density found anywhere on earth. Grand Rapids also has a wonderful history in the arts. La Grande Vitesse , an abstract sculpture by Alexander Calder, has the distinction of being the first public art installation funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ann Arbor

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor has all the perks of a college town, along with some excellent incentives to raise a family. The city has grown an estimated 7% in population since the 2010 census. The Museum of Natural History and the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum both provide fantastic opportunities to learn and have fun all year long.


Lansing, the state capital, serves as a cultural, governmental, and educational hub of Michigan. Medical, veterinary, nursing, and law schools make Lansing a destination for a variety of professional aspirations. General Motors also has offices and a high-tech production facility, making Lansing a great place to find work.


The quirky town of Marquette has a population of 22,000. It is a significant adventure destination for recreationists from all over the country. Sitting on the shore of Lake Superior, the incredible scenery of the Northwoods surrounds Marquette. It boasts an array of art galleries, restaurants, and breweries in which to wind down after a day hiking or biking the rugged trails surrounding this picturesque little city.

How to Move from California to Michigan

A cross country move brings enough challenges and stressors. Moving should not be one of them. When you decide to make a significant life change like relocating across the country, you need a trustworthy moving company like Allied Van Lines. In the past 15 years, Allied has completed more than 750,000 moves to help families find their new home. With that kind of experience, you can rest easy knowing your belongings will arrive safely when you do. That means one less thing to worry about, so you can focus on starting your new life in Michigan.

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