Michigan might be best known as the car production capital of the world.
But this northern state offers plenty more for its residents including a wealth of art and music ranging from Motown classics, natural beauty in the Upper Peninsula and water recreational opportunities on the Great Lakes.
In order, here are the five most affordable places to live in Michigan, based on special scorecard developed by Livability.com. In this methodology, it’s not just the cheapest cities in the state that get top billing. Instead a high quality of life was compared to other cities’ averages in cost of living in key components in other data including transportation, housing, food and utilities.
Named one of the 100 Best Places to Live in 2016, Midland has an outstanding educational system, coupled with an outstanding arts scene, and shopping and dinning opportunities in the downtown area.
Midland is rich with parks and green spaces including the Pere Marquette Rail Trail. Kids also have a great time communing with the outdoors at the Chippewa Nature Center.
Sports lovers can find golf, hockey, BMX bike racing, gymnastics, tennis and even curling here.
Dow Chemical Company was founded in Midland and the company has contributed to the community’s growth including the 100-acre Dow Gardens, the architecturally rich Alden B. Dow Home and Studio and the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library.
The median home price in Midland is a decent $137,900, with median household income at $50,433.
If quizzed, many people would be surprised to learn that Lansing is the capital of Michigan rather than the more well-known Detroit.
In fact, Lansing is only the fifth largest city in the state, even though it houses the state’s governmental offices.
For residents, median home price is a highly affordable $79,600, and median household income at $35,675.
In addition to being the seat of state government, Lansing is also the home of Michigan State University, a top public research institution.
You can stroll a more than 20-miles of Lansing on the River Trail, which has a trailhead at Potter Park Zoo, which features 500 animals representing about 160 different species on 20-acres of land.
Instead of the state famous for cowboys and open spaces, Wyoming, the west Michigan city, has a sharp focus on affordable living without skimping on the amenities.
A short drive to Grand Rapids, Wyoming offers smaller town living with close proximity to larger city features for those who require them.
Book lovers delight in the well-loved Kent District Library. City residents feel the love is mutual with about 75 percent of the population having a library card.
Wyoming has more than 600-acres of parkland in its holdings for residents’ use. A free Concerts in the Park series is held each summer.
The median home price in Wyoming is $98,900, while the median household income is $46,672.
As its name suggests, Holland residents really celebrate the city’s Dutch history, whether taking part in the Tulip Time Festival each May, visiting De Zwann, “the only authentic Dutch windmill in operation in the United States,” at Windmill Island Gardens or touring the DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory.
Since it’s situated on the shores of Lake Macatawa, near Lake Michigan, residents enjoy boating, fishing and beach-going. The city’s lighthouse, Holland Harbor Light, also known as “Big Red,” stands on the south side of Holland Channel.
Along with all the great scenery, living in Holland is quite affordable too. Median home price is $115,800 while median household income is $44,619.
1. Ann Arbor
Named one of the 100 Best Places to Live three years in a row, this college town can add another jewel to its crown: the most affordable place to live in the state.
Median household income, here, is $56,835, with a median home price at $231,700.
One factor that moves Ann Arbor up to the high point on the list is its proximity to the University of Michigan, which also drives employment and culture here. Tech companies have also sprung up around the college.
With art and film festivals, ballet and classical music and little used bookshops, there is always something of interest going on in Ann Arbor.
Shopping and dining opportunities are numerous including Zingerman’s Delicatessen, which is famous for having the best pastrami sandwich anywhere. Domino’s Pizza is also headquartered in Ann Arbor.