The 10 Best College Towns In Michigan For 2022


Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2022. This is our fifth time ranking the best college towns in Michigan.
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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and Michigan is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in Michigan are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in Michigan for 2022.

The 10 Best College Towns In Michigan For 2022

  1. Ann Arbor, MI
  2. Big Rapids, MI
  3. Mount Pleasant, MI
  4. East Lansing, MI
  5. Ypsilanti, MI
  6. Rochester Hills, MI
  7. Dearborn, MI
  8. Houghton, MI
  9. Howell, MI
  10. Marquette, MI

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Ann Arbor, Big Rapids and Mount Pleasant - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Ann Arbor ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Finally, if you live in Southfield, MI - it's officially the worst college town in Michigan. Sorry, Southfield!

Read on to find out more or for more on Michigan check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In Michigan For 2022

Ann Arbor, MI
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 121,093
% Undergrad Pop.: 20.6% (9th best)
Median Rent: $1,299 (26th best)
Unemployment Rate: 354.9% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 12th best
More on Ann Arbor: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Washtenaw Community College, Concordia University-Ann Arbor

Big Rapids, MI
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 10,358
% Undergrad Pop.: 89.2% (best)
Median Rent: $675 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 777.9% (20th best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Big Rapids: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Ferris State University

Mount Pleasant, MI
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 25,290
% Undergrad Pop.: 73.6% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $759 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 932.8% (24th best)
Crime Rank: 9th best
More on Mount Pleasant: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Central Michigan University, M J Murphy Beauty College of Mount Pleasant, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College

East Lansing, MI
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 48,437
% Undergrad Pop.: 70.9% (5th best)
Median Rent: $969 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 715.3% (17th best)
Crime Rank: 14th best
More on East Lansing: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Michigan State University, Douglas J Aveda Institute, Michigan State University-College of Law

Ypsilanti, MI
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 20,792
% Undergrad Pop.: 87.5% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $872 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 858.1% (23rd best)
Crime Rank: 25th best
More on Ypsilanti: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Eastern Michigan University

Rochester Hills, MI
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 74,340
% Undergrad Pop.: 17.2% (11th best)
Median Rent: $1,311 (27th best)
Unemployment Rate: 358.6% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: best
More on Rochester Hills: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Oakland University, Rochester College

Dearborn, MI
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 94,328
% Undergrad Pop.: 7.0% (16th best)
Median Rent: $1,019 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 658.2% (12th best)
Crime Rank: 18th best
More on Dearborn: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Henry Ford College, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Everest Institute-Dearborn

Houghton, MI
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 7,805
% Undergrad Pop.: 72.6% (4th best)
Median Rent: $667 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 744.8% (19th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Houghton: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Michigan Technological University

Howell, MI
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 9,610
% Undergrad Pop.: 3.5% (20th best)
Median Rent: $922 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 266.9% (best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Howell: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Cleary University, Cleary University

Marquette, MI
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 20,631
% Undergrad Pop.: 36.7% (7th best)
Median Rent: $820 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 687.0% (15th best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Marquette: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Northern Michigan University

How'd we figure out the best college towns in Michigan?

To crunch our data on Michigan's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 25 places in Michigan with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In Michigan For 2022".

And it looks like Ann Arbor placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in Michigan, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

If you're curious, these are the worst college towns in Michigan, starting with the absolute worst, Southfield:

  1. Southfield
  2. Novi
  3. Alma
  4. Oak Park
  5. Albion
  6. Allendale
  7. Lansing
  8. Wyoming
  9. Holland
  10. Detroit

For more reading, check out:

25 Best College Towns In Michigan

Rank City Population
1 Ann Arbor, MI 121093
2 Big Rapids, MI 10358
3 Mount Pleasant, MI 25290
4 East Lansing, MI 48437
5 Ypsilanti, MI 20792
6 Rochester Hills, MI 74340
7 Dearborn, MI 94328
8 Houghton, MI 7805
9 Howell, MI 9610
10 Marquette, MI 20631
11 Livonia, MI 93970
12 Adrian, MI 20550
13 Flint, MI 95999
14 Kalamazoo, MI 76106
15 Grand Rapids, MI 199417
16 Detroit, MI 672351
17 Holland, MI 33329
18 Wyoming, MI 75999
19 Lansing, MI 117488
20 Allendale, MI 23696
21 Albion, MI 8380
22 Oak Park, MI 29446
23 Alma, MI 8918
24 Novi, MI 60439
25 Southfield, MI 72966

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?