The 10 Best Grand Rapids Suburbs To Live For 2021


We analyzed over 22 places around Grand Rapids to identify the most in demand places to live.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best Grand Rapids suburbs.

Big city living isn't for everyone--but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There's the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There's traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing--pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you're looking at.

But that's where the suburbs come in--they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of Grand Rapids are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado...

Here are the 10 best suburbs to live around Grand Rapids for 2021:

  1. East Grand Rapids
  2. Walker
  3. Grandville
  4. Hudsonville
  5. Spring Lake
  6. Rockford
  7. Zeeland
  8. Middleville
  9. Grand Haven
  10. Kentwood

What's the best suburb of Grand Rapids? East Grand Rapids ranks as the best suburb of Grand Rapids for 2021 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of East Grand Rapids, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 Grand Rapids 'burbs better than the rest--but first, a bit about our methodology.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.

Feel free to check out some more reading about Michigan:

The 10 Best Grand Rapids Suburbs To Live For 2021

East Grand Rapids, MI

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 11,759
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $144,922
Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
Poverty Rate: 2.0%
More on East Grand Rapids: Real Estate | Data | Photos

East Grand Rapids is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Grand Rapids area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome East Grand Rapids."

Everyone here is rich; families average $144,922 a year, which is the highest in the Grand Rapids region. And only 2.5% are out of work. Homes average more than $374,000 each.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 24,816
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 5)
Median Income: $65,170
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Poverty Rate: 7.9%
More on Walker: Real Estate | Data

Walker is the second best 'burb we looked at near Grand Rapids for 2021.

It ranks 2nd for incomes in the area and only 3.42% of residents lack insurance, good for 6th best.

Grandville, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 15,942
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Income: $62,827
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
Poverty Rate: 6.7%
More on Grandville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Grandville, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Grand Rapids metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Grandville.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,366
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Income: $64,189
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Poverty Rate: 6.7%
More on Hudsonville: Real Estate | Data

Hudsonville ranks as the 4th best suburb of Grand Rapids for 2021.

You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Hudsonville and the schools are some of the best around.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,390
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $57,250
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
Poverty Rate: 7.9%
More on Spring Lake: Real Estate | Data

Coming in as the fifth best is Spring Lake.

Spring Lake gets kudos for having the 4th most expensive homes in the Grand Rapids area, where houses sell for an average of $165,500. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,254
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Median Income: $64,920
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Poverty Rate: 11.9%
More on Rockford: Real Estate | Data

Rockford is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here's why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 4.66% which is 13th best in the area.

According to online reports, Rockford is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Grand Rapids area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Zeeland, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,572
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Income: $51,549
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
Poverty Rate: 7.9%
More on Zeeland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Zeeland.

Zeeland schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it's only 20.8 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,412
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Median Income: $59,536
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 6.1%
More on Middleville: Real Estate | Data

Middleville is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 3.6% of people lack insurance, good for 7th in the area.

Grand Haven, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 10,994
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $58,307
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Poverty Rate: 8.2%
More on Grand Haven: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Grand Haven?'

Almost.

It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it's really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 51,693
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $54,197
Unemployment Rate: 3.0%
Poverty Rate: 10.9%
More on Kentwood: Real Estate | Data

And rounding out the top ten for 2021 is Kentwood.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It's far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Grand Rapids for 2021

Figuring out the best suburbs around Grand Rapids was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data for 2015-2019 to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Grand Rapids.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 22 suburbs to evaluate around Grand Rapids.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 22 in each category, where 1 was the "best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the "Best Suburb near Grand Rapids." We're lookin' at you, East Grand Rapids. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Welcome to the Best Grand Rapids 'Burbs of 2021

We said it once and we'll say it again--life in the big city isn't for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you're hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Grand Rapids, but don't want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more Michigan reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Grand Rapids Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 East Grand Rapids, MI 11,759 $144,922
2 Walker, MI 24,816 $65,170
3 Grandville, MI 15,942 $62,827
4 Hudsonville, MI 7,366 $64,189
5 Spring Lake, MI 2,390 $57,250
6 Rockford, MI 6,254 $64,920
7 Zeeland, MI 5,572 $51,549
8 Middleville, MI 3,412 $59,536
9 Grand Haven, MI 10,994 $58,307
10 Kentwood, MI 51,693 $54,197
11 Wayland, MI 4,197 $54,886
12 Holland, MI 33,402 $57,002
13 Lowell, MI 4,096 $62,278
14 Coopersville, MI 4,396 $56,594
15 Hastings, MI 7,311 $55,747
16 Wyoming, MI 75,702 $54,328
17 Sparta, MI 4,354 $44,471
18 Lake Odessa, MI 2,079 $45,038
19 Greenville, MI 8,396 $35,536
20 Ionia, MI 11,147 $48,902
21 Cedar Springs, MI 3,666 $48,898
22 Belding, MI 5,718 $41,812

How Is Your Town In ?

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.