The 10 Best Counties To Live In Michigan For 2021


Using science and data, we can tell you which counties in Michigan have the most for people looking to make the move to Michigan.

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Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is Michigan a good place?

The answer is unequivocally yes… if you know where to locate the best places to live in Michigan.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help you identify the best counties to live in the Wolverine State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn’t our first rodeo — we’ve been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.

So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best part of Michigan, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 83 counties in the state.

After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in Wolverine State for 2021.

Leelanau County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in Michigan. And you might want to avoid Oscoda County if you can — at least according to the data.

So if you’re thinking of making the move Michigan, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in Michigan and the cheapest places to live in Michigan.

The Best Counties To Live In Michigan For 2021

1. Leelanau County

Traverse City, MI

Biggest Place: Traverse City

Population: 21,652
Median Income: $65,249 (6th best)
Median Home Price: $268,400.0 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (19th best)
More on Leelanau County: PhotosData

2. Livingston County

Brighton, MI

Biggest Place: Fenton

Population: 189,754
Median Income: $84,221 (best)
Median Home Price: $247,100.0 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (4th best)
More on Livingston County: PhotosData

3. Ottawa County

Coopersville, MI

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Holland

Population: 286,558
Median Income: $69,314 (5th best)
Median Home Price: $191,800.0 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (3rd best)
More on Ottawa County: PhotosData

4. Midland County

Midland, MI

Biggest Place: Midland

Population: 83,355
Median Income: $62,625 (14th best)
Median Home Price: $141,700.0 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (3best)
More on Midland County: PhotosData

5. Grand Traverse County

Traverse City, MI

Biggest Place: Traverse City

Population: 92,181
Median Income: $63,575 (9th best)
Median Home Price: $212,500.0 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (12th best)
More on Grand Traverse County: PhotosData

6. Benzie County

Biggest Place: Frankfort

Population: 17,615
Median Income: $57,974 (16th best)
Median Home Price: $185,500.0 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (18th best)
More on Benzie County: Data

7. Antrim County

Biggest Place: Mancelona

Population: 23,206
Median Income: $56,165 (20th best)
Median Home Price: $160,500.0 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (6th best)
More on Antrim County: Data

8. Monroe County

Dundee, MI

Biggest Place: Monroe

Population: 149,727
Median Income: $62,203 (15th best)
Median Home Price: $161,700.0 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (25th best)
More on Monroe County: PhotosData

9. Barry County

Hastings, MI

Biggest Place: Hastings

Population: 60,540
Median Income: $64,490 (7th best)
Median Home Price: $158,400.0 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (26th best)
More on Barry County: PhotosData

10. Oakland County

Auburn Hills, MI

Biggest Place: Troy

Population: 1,253,185
Median Income: $79,698 (2nd best)
Median Home Price: $242,700.0 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (11th best)
More on Oakland County: PhotosData

How do you determine which Michigan county is the best?

To give you the best county in Michigan, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what’s a “best county” and what isn’t. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you’d make at a bar using facts, don’t take this analysis to court.

With that in mind, we went to two of the best sources of data on the internet; the American Community Survey data and FBI Crime data for the most recent time period.

We paid particular attention to:

  • Violent Crime Rates
  • Property Crime Rates
  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Adult Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We then ranked each county in Michigan across each of the criteria from one to 83, with one being the best.

Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the “Best County To Live In Michigan”.

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the Wolverine State.

Read on to see why Leelanau County is the best county, while Oscoda County is probably in contention for being the worst county in Michigan.

There You Have It – The Best Counties In Michigan To Call Home For 2018

It turns out living in Michigan can vary from one part of the state to the next — who woulda thought?

But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that’s why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.

Here’s a look at the worst counties in Michigan according to the data:

  1. Oscoda County
  2. Lake County
  3. Montmorency County

For more Michigan reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Counties In Michigan

County Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Leelanau County 1 21,652 $65,249 $268,400.0
Livingston County 2 189,754 $84,221 $247,100.0
Ottawa County 3 286,558 $69,314 $191,800.0
Midland County 4 83,355 $62,625 $141,700.0
Grand Traverse County 5 92,181 $63,575 $212,500.0
Benzie County 6 17,615 $57,974 $185,500.0
Antrim County 7 23,206 $56,165 $160,500.0
Monroe County 8 149,727 $62,203 $161,700.0
Barry County 9 60,540 $64,490 $158,400.0
Oakland County 10 1,253,185 $79,698 $242,700.0
Emmet County 11 33,104 $55,829 $186,900.0
Clinton County 12 78,389 $70,390 $172,800.0
Eaton County 13 109,456 $64,348 $155,000.0
Washtenaw County 14 367,000 $72,586 $263,600.0
Marquette County 15 66,686 $53,970 $153,400.0
Charlevoix County 16 26,188 $55,760 $166,300.0
Dickinson County 17 25,439 $51,645 $101,800.0
Allegan County 18 116,143 $62,965 $165,400.0
Macomb County 19 870,325 $62,855 $166,800.0
Kent County 20 648,121 $63,053 $173,700.0
Shiawassee County 21 68,340 $56,032 $122,300.0
Ionia County 22 64,300 $57,043 $131,800.0
Lapeer County 23 88,038 $62,641 $168,800.0
Lenawee County 24 98,381 $55,450 $139,400.0
Mason County 25 28,954 $51,725 $141,400.0
St. Clair County 26 159,247 $56,951 $154,300.0
Delta County 27 36,026 $47,434 $114,300.0
Manistee County 28 24,457 $50,055 $125,400.0
Menominee County 29 23,074 $46,828 $101,600.0
Ingham County 30 290,587 $52,872 $135,600.0
Kalamazoo County 31 262,745 $56,511 $159,300.0
Huron County 32 31,349 $48,289 $103,900.0
Gratiot County 33 40,916 $47,848 $95,400.0
Keweenaw County 34 2,111 $50,292 $121,100.0
Hillsdale County 35 45,757 $49,622 $120,100.0
Alger County 36 9,151 $45,570 $136,200.0
Bay County 37 104,104 $48,819 $102,000.0
Jackson County 38 158,636 $53,658 $131,600.0
Otsego County 39 24,490 $54,332 $139,500.0
Tuscola County 40 52,939 $49,988 $104,000.0
Cass County 41 51,523 $55,107 $142,800.0
Houghton County 42 36,070 $43,183 $108,700.0
Montcalm County 43 63,413 $49,448 $113,900.0
Muskegon County 44 173,297 $50,854 $117,900.0
Alpena County 45 28,520 $43,363 $96,500.0
Newaygo County 46 48,366 $50,326 $121,300.0
Berrien County 47 154,133 $50,795 $150,700.0
Calhoun County 48 134,212 $48,607 $110,000.0
Branch County 49 43,513 $51,947 $109,800.0
Mecosta County 50 43,251 $45,018 $121,400.0
Iron County 51 11,152 $41,599 $77,700.0
Cheboygan County 52 25,418 $48,044 $130,900.0
St. Joseph County 53 60,836 $52,086 $122,300.0
Chippewa County 54 37,629 $46,486 $119,100.0
Isabella County 55 70,688 $45,116 $134,900.0
Van Buren County 56 75,358 $54,485 $139,400.0
Crawford County 57 13,892 $47,977 $105,000.0
Gogebic County 58 15,061 $38,839 $67,100.0
Baraga County 59 8,421 $46,065 $102,200.0
Saginaw County 60 191,821 $48,000 $101,300.0
Arenac County 61 15,070 $42,290 $94,400.0
Schoolcraft County 62 8,048 $45,500 $109,900.0
Kalkaska County 63 17,585 $46,898 $115,900.0
Sanilac County 64 41,295 $47,672 $111,200.0
Wexford County 65 33,256 $47,193 $108,300.0
Genesee County 66 407,875 $48,588 $111,100.0
Missaukee County 67 15,028 $47,194 $118,700.0
Mackinac County 68 10,780 $47,938 $136,600.0
Presque Isle County 69 12,714 $47,948 $105,400.0
Ogemaw County 70 20,898 $40,373 $98,200.0
Oceana County 71 26,416 $50,104 $118,800.0
Alcona County 72 10,353 $40,484 $112,000.0
Ontonagon County 73 5,877 $41,546 $70,000.0
Gladwin County 74 25,279 $44,619 $110,000.0
Luce County 75 6,338 $45,469 $87,200.0
Osceola County 76 23,290 $44,032 $98,500.0
Iosco County 77 25,197 $43,678 $92,600.0
Wayne County 78 1,757,299 $47,301 $113,000.0
Roscommon County 79 23,851 $42,054 $108,200.0
Clare County 80 30,651 $39,565 $91,100.0
Montmorency County 81 9,265 $41,772 $102,700.0
Lake County 82 11,852 $37,320 $88,000.0
Oscoda County 83 8,248 $42,335 $90,500.0
Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best counties to live in Michigan.

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.