Worst Small Towns In Michigan For 2020


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in MI are the pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst small places to live in Michigan.

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Most Americans have never been to Michigan. However, as the people who live there know, Michigan is an awesome state.

But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Michigan has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Wolverine State. Don't shoot the messenger, this is all using data.

After analyzing more than 243 of Michigan's smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Michigan where you'd never want to live:

So what is the worst small town to call home in michigan for 2020? According to the most recent census data, Skidway Lake is the worst small town to live in Michigan.

Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Michigan has its stuff figured out.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.

And if you already know about the small towns, check out the best places to live in Michigan or the worst places to live in Michigan.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

The 10 Worst Small Towns In Michigan For 2020

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 3,426
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $47,700 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.3% (22nd worst)
More on Skidway Lake:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,681
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $55,600 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.8% (6th worst)
More on St. Helen:  Data

Benton Heights, MI

Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 4,263
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $52,400 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (26th worst)
More on Benton Heights:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,848
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $66,600 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.1% (9th worst)
More on Mio:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,184
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $60,900 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 38.8% (1st worst)
More on Baldwin:  Data

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,693
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $66,300 (22nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (11th worst)
More on Rogers City:  Data

Manistique, MI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,941
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $59,100 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.6% (19th worst)
More on Manistique:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,671
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $68,500 (27th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.3% (3rd worst)
More on Cassopolis:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,108
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $78,600 (64th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (98th worst)
More on Lakeview:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,245
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $67,900 (26th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (209th worst)
More on White Cloud:  Data

How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?

In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Michigan, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn't a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we determined the worst small towns to live in Michigan for 2020

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the Census's 2014-2018 American Community Survey, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Low housing costs (meaning there's no demand)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • Education (Number of high school dropouts)
  • High Crime

We looked at cities with populations between 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which, there were a lot - 243 to be exact.

Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

There You Have It - The Worst Small Towns In Michigan

If you're analyzing teeny places in the Wolverine State with the worst economic situations, where there's high crime and there's not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

If you're curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in Michigan, according to science:

  1. Lake Orion (Pop. 3,131)
  2. Pleasant Ridge (Pop. 2,389)
  3. Village of Grosse Pointe Shores (Pop. 2,860)

For more Michigan reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Michigan

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Skidway Lake 3,426 12.3% $47,700
2 St. Helen 2,681 15.8% $55,600
3 Benton Heights 4,263 11.9% $52,400
4 Mio 1,848 14.1% $66,600
5 Baldwin 1,184 38.8% $60,900
6 Rogers City 2,693 13.8% $66,300
7 Manistique 2,941 12.6% $59,100
8 Cassopolis 1,671 18.3% $68,500
9 Lakeview 1,108 7.2% $78,600
10 White Cloud 1,245 3.3% $67,900
11 Brownlee Park 1,480 4.9% $40,700
12 Harrison 2,159 8.8% $81,900
13 Roscommon 1,101 18.1% $61,900
14 Evart 1,587 12.8% $66,900
15 Hartford 2,605 13.4% $69,200
16 Grayling 1,846 8.9% $70,500
17 Nashville 1,728 9.2% $72,900
18 Coleman 1,406 7.1% $69,800
19 Houghton Lake 3,544 13.4% $87,600
20 Constantine 2,021 11.5% $75,000
21 Marlette 1,874 10.6% $70,300
22 Baraga 2,306 9.8% $83,700
23 Mount Morris 2,887 21.6% $49,400
24 Reed City 2,625 7.4% $67,300
25 Morenci 2,501 9.7% $75,300
26 Crystal Falls 1,701 6.5% $59,000
27 Bangor 1,773 6.6% $72,100
28 Iron River 2,856 6.7% $53,600
29 Standish 1,529 7.7% $76,700
30 Hart 2,303 10.8% $84,600
31 Ironwood 4,999 7.3% $49,500
32 Munising 2,242 12.9% $89,400
33 Lewiston 1,177 16.6% $95,500
34 K. I. Sawyer 3,094 13.3% $40,200
35 Kalkaska 2,217 7.3% $83,500
36 Manton 1,171 5.6% $81,000
37 Sandusky 2,545 10.2% $79,000
38 Harbor Beach 1,943 9.6% $72,900
39 Ontonagon 1,551 6.6% $61,400
40 Newaygo 1,928 8.5% $70,100
41 Sand Lake 1,553 10.6% $93,400
42 Kent City 1,059 13.3% $102,300
43 Edmore 1,297 8.5% $83,200
44 Galesburg 2,120 8.8% $69,200
45 Cheboygan 4,726 8.7% $81,800
46 Colon 1,243 11.6% $86,100
47 Brown City 1,192 9.0% $74,500
48 Capac 1,928 11.4% $80,500
49 Croswell 2,543 7.3% $76,000
50 West Branch 2,256 5.9% $78,100
51 East Jordan 2,341 5.2% $77,100
52 Beaverton 1,438 8.2% $73,100
53 Decatur 2,001 8.1% $80,600
54 Vassar 2,586 15.0% $82,700
55 Stanton 1,391 3.5% $77,100
56 Shelby 2,220 6.3% $87,800
57 Fennville 1,949 8.2% $79,900
58 Rapid City 1,465 6.1% $118,000
59 Imlay City 3,581 8.8% $102,700
60 Carson City 1,097 6.3% $82,000
61 Clio 2,524 9.4% $80,200
62 Reading 1,090 7.3% $71,300
63 Bronson 2,378 4.9% $78,800
64 Gladwin 2,883 7.8% $92,200
65 Pinconning 1,424 5.0% $65,900
66 Howard City 1,643 4.1% $75,900
67 Durand 3,317 6.0% $66,100
68 Mancelona 1,486 3.5% $71,200
69 Berrien Springs 1,590 9.3% $113,000
70 Lake Linden 1,078 7.1% $72,200
71 St. Ignace 2,257 10.4% $118,900
72 Level Park-Oak Park 3,769 11.9% $102,600
73 Mattawan 2,333 7.3% $107,300
74 Litchfield 1,291 7.1% $85,700
75 Quincy 1,454 6.0% $78,700
76 Au Sable 1,324 6.0% $74,700
77 Wakefield 1,537 2.3% $57,300
78 Indian River 1,879 10.5% $179,100
79 Union City 1,683 9.3% $72,400
80 Edwardsburg 1,200 6.6% $65,400
81 Corunna 3,374 6.2% $89,700
82 West Monroe 3,339 7.9% $47,700
83 Cedar Springs 3,651 12.3% $109,600
84 Scottville 1,235 3.4% $75,900
85 Tawas City 1,795 9.1% $93,700
86 Bessemer 1,890 3.1% $52,700
87 Gaylord 3,667 0.0% $95,500
88 Homer 1,799 7.9% $77,800
89 Montrose 1,540 8.8% $81,000
90 Millington 1,014 4.4% $77,400
91 Luna Pier 1,236 12.3% $119,000
92 Prudenville 1,951 9.1% $131,900
93 Newberry 1,352 3.6% $51,000
94 Clare 3,045 9.2% $108,100
95 Yale 2,010 7.2% $81,300
96 Breckenridge 1,243 6.1% $71,900
97 Paw Paw Lake 3,605 11.9% $122,900
98 Lawton 1,613 4.9% $101,000
99 Sebewaing 1,510 9.7% $69,600
100 Lake Michigan Beach 1,234 7.6% $131,300

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