These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Michigan For 2018


We used science and data to determine which cities in the Wolverine need a little TLC right about now.

Join RoadSnacks
This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.
Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

Thrillist just ranked Michigan as the best state in the nation, which should really come as no surprise to anyone. With its four legitimate seasons, natural wonders, regional diversity and seemingly endless waterfront, it’s no wonder that Michigan would top all 49 of the lesser states on any list you might want to throw together.

All the same, anyone familiar with Michigan knows there are places that need some real TLC right now. And it’s not just Detroit. In fact, there are cities that might need a hug even more than Detroit. Here are the 10 cities in the Great Lakes State who have it a little rough right now.

  1. Highland Park (Photos)
  2. Detroit (Photos)
  3. River Rouge (Photos)
  4. Benton Harbor (Photos)
  5. Hamtramck (Photos)
  6. Flint (Photos)
  7. Muskegon Heights
  8. Inkster (Photos)
  9. Ecorse (Photos)
  10. Pontiac (Photos)

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.

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

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

How we determined the worst places to live in Michigan for 2018

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,100 people were considered — leaving 145 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 145 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one ‘Worst Place To Live Score’.

Finally, we ranked every city on the ‘Worst Place To Live Score’ with the lowest score being the worst city in Michigan — Highland Park. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Michigan.

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

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

1. Highland Park

Highland Park, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,978
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $32,600 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 28.9% (1st worst)
Highland Park is entirely surrounded by Detroit, and it is so bad that Detroit’s government won’t even consider absorbing Highland Park into the larger city due to the fact that all of Detroit’s unflattering crime and unemployment statistics would instantly be made worse. If you live in Detroit and you’re passing through Highland Park, give a friendly wave and a smile. You need each other’s support right about now.

Highland Park ranks 1st in all of Michigan in unemployment, 15th in overall crime, 3rd from the bottom in adult drop out rates, and it has the 1st worst average income level in the state. In fact, the only thing saving Highland Park is a middle of the road population density, so there’s at least something to do while you look for a job.

2. Detroit

Detroit, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 683,443
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $41,000 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 22.1% (5th worst)
Detroit is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $41,000. That means it ranks as the 6th lowest in Michigan.

You can make a case that based on the fact that Detroit has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the 3rd worst in the state, it’s one of the worst places you can live in Michigan.

3. River Rouge

River Rouge, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,609
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $35,600 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 23.3% (3rd worst)
If, by some reason, you were driving through River Rouge, after stopping to ask for directions, you may have noticed that things aren’t so peachy keen here.

It’s tough out there for people to stay afloat when their income levels are so low ($27,463) and they can’t get good jobs (23.3% unemployment rate).

River Rouge ranks as the 3rd wost place in Michigan.

4. Benton Harbor

Benton Harbor, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,988
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Values: $49,200 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 23.0% (4th worst)
Here in Benton Harbor, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in Michigan. That’s not a good combination.

Located in Berrien County, you have a 1 in 22.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Benton Harbor city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (23.0%). That’s good for the 4th highest unemployment rate in Michigan.

5. Hamtramck

Hamtramck, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 21,985
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Values: $47,300 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.1% (17th worst)
Hamtramck’s situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.

Hamtramck has the 19th worst crime index of any place in Michigan, and has the 4th lowest income.

6. Flint

Flint, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 98,918
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Values: $30,000 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 23.7% (2nd worst)
Flint needs some tough love.

Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Flint. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Flint. Of the 145 cities considered in this ranking, Flint had the least to be proud of across the board.

Not only does Flint have Michigan’s 1st lowest home value rank, but it also had the 2nd and 10th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of ‘Worst City in Michigan.’

If you know anyone in Flint, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.

7. Muskegon Heights


Population: 10,792
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Home Values: $42,500 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.9% (7th worst)
Muskegon Heights needs some tough love.

Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Muskegon Heights. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Muskegon Heights. Of the 145 cities considered in this ranking, Muskegon Heights had the least to be proud of across the board.

Not only does Muskegon Heights have Michigan’s 7th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 7th and 2nd highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of ‘Worst City in Michigan.’

If you know anyone in Muskegon Heights, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.

8. Inkster

Inkster, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,738
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Values: $45,000 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.2% (15th worst)
Inkster takes the 8th worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons — below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.

But what gives Inkster its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 20th worst in the whole state.

9. Ecorse

Ecorse, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,270
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Home Values: $39,600 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.4% (6th worst)
Ecorse is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we’re aware that it’s beautiful and ‘fun’. But that ignores important things like jobs and income.

Ecorse residents earn the 9th-lowest salaries in the state. At $26,496 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $39,600, which means there isn’t a lot of demand.

Crime is the 9th highest in Michigan per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 6th highest in the state, at 21.4%.

10. Pontiac

Pontiac, Michigan

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 59,920
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Values: $53,700 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.1% (12th worst)
There would be a temptation to put Pontiac on this list simply because the Silverdome, with its deflated roof and gutted interior, is one of the biggest eyesores in the state. It’s hard to think of it as the site where 93,000 fans once gathered to watch Wrestlemania III.

An eyesore that definitely landed Pontiac on this list of worst cities is the city’s unemployment rank, which was second from the bottom, incomes and home values in Michigan’s lowest 20 percent, and a crime rate in the top 20 percent. With statistics like that, we couldn’t keep Pontiac off this list even if the Silverdome’s ruins were made of actual silver.

The people of Pontiac are undoubtedly trying to pull themselves up from their bootstraps and could use a kind thought right about now.

Wrapping Up The Worst In Michigan

If you’re looking at areas in Michigan with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Highland Park ranks as the worst city to live in Michigan for 2018.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Michigan:

  1. East Grand Rapids (Pop. 11,297)
  2. Huntington Woods (Pop. 6,330)
  3. Birmingham (Pop. 20,653)

For more Michigan reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Michigan

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Highland Park 1 1 10,978 28.9% $32,600
Detroit 2 2 683,443 22.1% $41,000
River Rouge 3 3 7,609 23.3% $35,600
Benton Harbor 4 5 9,988 23.0% $49,200
Hamtramck 5 4 21,985 14.1% $47,300
Flint 6 7 98,918 23.7% $30,000
Muskegon Heights 7 9 10,792 20.9% $42,500
Inkster 8 8 24,738 14.2% $45,000
Ecorse 9 6 9,270 21.4% $39,600
Pontiac 10 10 59,920 16.1% $53,700
Lapeer 11 13 8,795 15.9% $85,500
Dowagiac 12 17 5,863 18.6% $67,600
Muskegon 13 15 38,086 17.0% $64,000
Jackson 14 14 33,165 13.7% $62,000
Springfield 15 11 5,218 11.7% $58,200
Romulus 16 12 23,457 13.0% $72,800
Albion 17 19 8,293 11.8% $56,900
Saginaw 18 16 49,892 17.7% $40,600
Niles 19 22 11,379 9.5% $76,300
Greenville 20 18 8,429 10.7% $84,600
Port Huron 21 29 29,388 14.5% $74,100
Ionia 22 24 11,396 16.4% $82,500
Lincoln Park 23 30 37,155 11.3% $60,500
Harper Woods 24 35 13,895 14.0% $66,200
Mount Clemens 25 20 16,390 11.9% $81,600
Escanaba 26 28 12,455 8.5% $82,100
Melvindale 27 31 10,437 9.5% $57,600
Sturgis 28 38 10,921 9.0% $80,800
Battle Creek 29 26 51,763 9.8% $80,600
Lansing 30 39 114,773 11.6% $75,500
Belding 31 27 5,766 11.1% $77,700
Taylor 32 23 61,716 11.6% $75,600
Wayne 33 33 17,143 6.7% $65,900
Roseville 34 32 47,606 9.8% $66,100
Owosso 35 37 14,738 10.6% $76,100
Eastpointe 36 36 32,648 11.6% $59,700
Coldwater 37 48 10,834 5.7% $76,100
Burton 38 34 28,995 11.5% $75,100
Sault Ste. Marie 39 53 13,941 8.7% $82,500
Three Rivers 40 21 7,743 7.5% $77,600
Hazel Park 41 24 16,587 8.3% $51,200
Center Line 42 41 8,313 8.6% $59,800
Kalamazoo 43 45 75,885 9.4% $96,600
Cadillac 44 67 10,380 10.0% $73,800
Adrian 45 44 20,800 11.1% $69,300
Warren 46 43 135,069 10.3% $93,400
Ironwood 47 42 5,089 12.3% $54,100
Ypsilanti 48 40 20,577 10.9% $130,000
Big Rapids 49 49 10,495 14.1% $88,400
Alpena 50 47 10,213 9.0% $76,500
Dearborn 51 46 95,520 9.0% $112,200
Menominee 52 50 8,378 9.6% $73,200
Dearborn Heights 53 52 56,329 8.7% $84,900
Grand Rapids 54 51 193,887 8.5% $113,600
Charlotte 55 70 9,043 8.1% $105,400
Ludington 56 54 8,051 14.2% $111,200
Madison Heights 57 58 30,168 6.5% $84,000
Alma 58 62 9,222 11.7% $79,700
Wyoming 59 66 74,692 6.1% $100,600
Holly 60 58 6,171 7.9% $84,300
Fenton 61 55 11,471 7.4% $108,500
Eaton Rapids 62 57 5,212 6.1% $95,400
Manistee 63 84 6,100 10.8% $95,900
Westland 64 64 82,218 7.6% $96,700
Hillsdale 65 56 8,203 10.5% $81,800
Hastings 66 60 7,312 6.6% $94,700
Oak Park 67 61 29,751 8.5% $82,500
Auburn Hills 68 75 22,342 7.5% $121,000
Southfield 69 71 73,055 9.8% $113,100
St. Louis 70 68 7,302 8.5% $73,900
Ishpeming 71 73 6,509 5.7% $80,500
Swartz Creek 72 63 5,617 7.0% $108,200
Monroe 73 69 20,243 9.4% $105,700
Allegan 74 65 5,051 6.6% $86,900
Southgate 75 77 29,355 7.8% $87,900
Mount Pleasant 76 80 25,896 11.4% $128,800
Holland 77 78 33,581 6.0% $121,900
Richmond 78 72 5,844 6.8% $133,800
Kentwood 79 79 50,761 5.7% $132,000
Howell 80 74 9,507 5.6% $144,300
Hudsonville 81 81 7,278 9.3% $134,500
Ferndale 82 75 20,167 6.0% $111,000
Grand Haven 83 89 10,853 7.7% $121,400
Flat Rock 84 90 9,836 7.8% $115,100
Norton Shores 85 91 24,091 7.0% $114,100
Riverview 86 106 12,208 5.8% $123,200
Wyandotte 87 83 25,225 8.8% $86,200
Kingsford 88 95 5,086 6.0% $83,800
Fraser 89 96 14,620 6.1% $121,000
Marquette 90 87 21,282 7.8% $166,300
Iron Mountain 91 99 7,535 5.2% $75,100
Houghton 92 108 7,924 5.7% $138,500
Grandville 93 93 15,842 3.3% $139,000
East Lansing 94 112 48,395 10.1% $176,500
Zeeland 95 104 5,595 4.3% $123,100
St. Clair 96 85 5,395 7.1% $138,900
Marshall 97 94 7,046 5.0% $109,000
Wixom 98 92 13,733 4.5% $205,900
Tecumseh 99 87 8,370 4.3% $112,600
Flushing 100 102 8,129 10.6% $115,000

Like RoadSnacks on Facebook:

 Rankings, Worst 

Facebook Discussion

comments

28 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Michigan For 2018

  1. I am from Escanaba. I live in Las Vegas now but still have friends and family in Esky. This article is complete BS. The crime rate in Escanaba fits in a small column in the police blogger in the news paper. Two murders in 4 years is nothing compared to where I live now. The crime here daily would take up several pages of the newspaper. There are some beautiful buildings in downtown Esky and to take a picture of one of the worst buildings is just wrong. Escanaba depends a lot on tourism so saying it is one of the worst cities in Michigan is not helping anything. And why is Detroit not on this list?

    1. You haven’t been back lately , call the hospital with all the crack an meth babies. The jail is so full their releasing criminals every day . Wake up , the old u.p. is gone!

  2. Not only did the author not know where Escanaba is, they apparently don’t know that Beecher is NOT a city. The Beecher district is in FLINT, so basically the first two worst cities to live in are Flint and Flint.

    1. Please do not ever consider moving to Escanaba or any place in the Yoop!! It is awful up here! The snow….. I have to get work by sled dog! No indoor plumbing and the worst is firing up the propane phone!

      1. That’s what i would expect yoopers to say they don’t really like visitors….its funny all them ppl above saying dont come to escanaba

    1. I wonder if the “reporters” who wrote this article have ever visited Lapeer. If they had, they would notice a vibrant, growing, beautiful city. I have lived in Lapeer my entire 47 years, and I have never been a victim of a crime. In addition to that, they may be grouping the county in with their “facts” on crime and unemployment. It is true that Lapeer County has a higher unemployment rate, but the county is made up of numerous rural communities. Lapeer city itself is absolutely a perfect place to raise a family. I don’t know why I let these idiotic biops make me mad, but this one hits home, literally.

  3. The lakefront property in Muskegon is absolutely beautiful and far from the horrible area that skews the numbers for his statistics.

  4. LOL this article is truly a joke and completely false…..for several reasons! Any one can pull up a photo that looks like a run down , pre-demo building and pull up some statistics …. but that doesn’t mean squat to what the rest of the town looks like, thrives on, or has to offer in regards to safety, scenery, family values,actually knowing your neighbors and feeling safe in your homes or walking down the street! Escanaba has the most beautiful park and marina and the small town mentality that’s evaporating out of this crazy fast paced “lost” world. Just Ask Gust Asp – is a Landmark!! Its the place I use to buy penny candy! The memories so many of us share going back there whether its been being born and raised there, left and come back to visit, summer camping, hunting trips….etc…..The best place to be from! Gods Country!

    1. I agree, until you have been visited the area you have no clue what the area has to offer, the beauty is breath taking, the air is so fresh. LOVE it up their.

  5. Escanaba being on the list and not Detroit just made this entire article non-creditable. This cannot be serious journalism.

  6. This is bs I moved to Lapeer from clinton township I have never felt more safe then here and detroit is not even on here someone should sue him for slander causing out homes value down. He is an ass come here and check it out I dare him to !!!!!!

  7. I totally disagree with the choice of Greenville. Greenville has excellent schools that have excellent educators, miles of trails to walk or bicycle, the crime rate in the city is not high, what has been factored in the crime rate of Montcalm County and the same is true of the low income. The picture chosen does not represent Greenville. Greenville has a large medical community, an excellent hospital and medical staff is top notch. Likewise the Public Safety Department is top notch and they are not dodging bullets as this piece seems to imply. The festival referred to is one that celebrates the heritage of the city which is Danish and of which Greenville is very proud.

    The person writing this article has obviously not visited or researched the cities that he is writing about. Better look in your own backyard before you reach out to destroy other communities. Get your facts correct before you make yourself look like an idiot.

    1. Greenville has the worst public safety dept. I have ever experienced, when the police officers hang out in the local bars on weekends, in a town with a population of 8500 that’s a serious problem!

  8. I think Gelding and Orleans should both be on the list cause neither city has any place to go for any age. Both are low jobs and many homes up for sell. And drugs.

  9. The lack of legitamacy in this article is obvious just because Detroit is not even on it. Plus, the fact that u included quality of school tells me this is inaccurate. Michigans system for grading school districts is a complete joke. Whoever wrote this a

  10. I totally agree with most of the others posters about Escanaba should NOT be on this list. I have lived most of my life here in the good ole UP of Michigan and I have traveled the world being military. The only thing I ever found disagreeable about Esky is the streets and drivers more so than streets. Other than that it is one of the nicest friendliest places to live here in the UP.
    I am a YOOPER and I am PROUD!!!
    The writer should go and do some real research on these cities instead of just writing crap for his report.
    Oh and by the way Detroit most definitely should have been on this list.

  11. I wonder if the “reporters” who wrote this article have ever visited Lapeer. If they had, they would notice a vibrant, growing, beautiful city. I have lived in Lapeer my entire 47 years, and I have never been a victim of a crime. In addition to that, they may be grouping the county in with their “facts” on crime and unemployment. It is true that Lapeer County has a higher unemployment rate, but the county is made up of numerous rural communities. Lapeer city itself is absolutely a perfect place to raise a family. I don’t know why I let these idiotic biops make me mad, but this one hits home, literally.

  12. I have to say Escanaba being on this list is complete BS. I’m from Ishpeming, proudly, but our community is far worse than Escanaba and can think of dozens of communities across Michigan and the UP that are worse.

    Escanaba is a leader in the UP in technological manufacturing, one of the more beautiful shorelines in the UP and a sense of community as well. Escanaba has a top notch school system, several local golf courses, amazing restaurants and shops and a unique charm.

    I would suggest traveling to Escanaba before you even consider putting this community on the list.

  13. I have one thing to say, and I know the other Hooper’s may disown me…
    Yeah, Ishpeming is bad….Esky isn’t great……but u forgot K.I. Sawyer!!!!

  14. Alpena should be #1. rudest people you will ever meet starting with the hospital. Half of the time it smells. Tried to find an upscale place to have dinner and there are none.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *