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By Abbey Orzech
Updated on Aug 12, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
Michigan’s cost of living is lower than the national average, making it a generally affordable place to live. However, some cities, like Ann Arbor and Novi, have costs of living considerably higher than the rest of the state.
Bountiful natural beauty along the fresh coasts of the Great Lakes, lively big cities, and intimate rural towns make Michigan a diverse state with a little something for everyone. Even better, the Mitten has a lower cost of living than the national average—although how you like to live can change those costs.
Here to highlight how much Michigan residents pay to live in their state is Jerry, the licensed broker app that works to save users the best Michigan car insurance and home insurance rates. Let’s get into it.
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How high is the cost of living in Michigan?
Michigan is one of the cheaper places to live in the United States. A cost of living index of 91.3 makes Michigan the 36th most expensive state in the country.
Every US state has a cost of living index measured in relation to the national average. The national average cost of living is always 100, meaning states with indexes higher than 100 have a higher-than-average cost of living. States with indexes lower than 100 have a lower cost of living.
For example, Hawaii is the most expensive state to live in with a cost of living index of 193.3—nearly double the national average. Mississippi is the cheapest state to live in, coming in at a modest 83.3 on the scale.
Michigan sits on the inexpensive end of the spectrum, overall but let’s examine its cost of living through real-world expenses like food, healthcare, housing, and transportation.
Food: $286 to $1,022 per month
Food is high on the list of living essentials. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about the late-night DoorDash or breakfast date restaurants here. This is the breakdown of your monthly grocery bill.
The Living Wage Calculator from MIT estimates the annual food cost for Michigan residents can range from $3,423 to $12,257. Your bill will depend on your family size, average income, and location. The average single adult would spend about $285.25 on their groceries each month, but a family of five would be looking at a monthly grocery bill of $1,021.42.
Remember that these estimated expenses only include your grocery store haul. Tack on some more money if you eat and drink out frequently!
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Healthcare: $410 per month
Healthcare in Michigan is among the cheapest in the nation at about $361 per person per month. It’s not cheap objectively, but it does beat the national average of $477 per month.
That $361 adds up to $4,332 annually for Michigan residents. Keep in mind that your exact healthcare costs depend a great deal on your age, location, smoking habits, medical conditions, and how many people are on your insurance policy.
Housing: $579 to $1,285 per month
Another high-priority life essential? Housing. The average home value in Michigan in July 2022 was $234,386, which beats the estimated national home value cost of$354,649.
Of course, your monthly housing payments will depend on what kind of home you occupy:
- Median monthly mortgage payment: $1,285
- Average studio rent: $579
- Average one-bedroom rent: $647
- Average two-bedroom rent: $815
- Average three-bedroom rent: $1,067
- Average four-bedroom rent: $1,182
Those rent prices look pretty sweet, we know, but these are simple averages of the entire state.
You may see prices like these in places like Alcona County, but if you venture downstate to Ann Arbor, Detroit, or across the state to Grand Rapids, you’ll pay one-bedroom rents closer to $1,449, $1,025, and $1,340 respectively.
Transportation: $442 to $1,308 per month
Once the hub of car manufacturing and now the hub of crazy high car insurance prices, Michigan residents pay a lot for transportation.
Single Michigan residents may pay around $442 per month for their transportation costs, while a family of five could be paying around $1,308 per month.
While Michigan car insurance rates are among the highest in the nation, let’s look at all the top contributors to your monthly fees:
- Monthly bus pass in Detroit: $70
- Average commute length in Michigan: 13 miles
- Average cost of a gallon of gas: $4.12
How much you need to live comfortably in Michigan: $34,028 to $133,685 per year
With all of the above expenses figured in, a single adult in Michigan should make at least $34,028 per year, or $16.36 an hour working full time.
For a family of five, the annual take-home should be $133,685, or $64.27 an hour.
The Michigan minimum wage as of 2022 is only $9.87 an hour—so having a minimum-wage job as your sole income will make comfortable living a challenge.
To move from simply surviving to absolutely thriving, you’ll need to make ends meet each month and have the ability to shell out for a few non-essentials. Here are some examples:
- Average cost of a date: $99.91 (US average: $116)
- Average cost of a night at the movies: $10.16 (US average: $12.09)
- Average cost of a Big Mac: $4.27 (US average: $3.99)
- Average sales tax: 6.00% (US average: 5.09%)
Key Takeaway To meet your basic needs in Michigan, you’ll need to bring home around $34,028 per year. To live comfortably or to support a family, aim to make more than that.
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The Michigan cities with the lowest cost of living
Maybe you’re looking for the lowest of the low costs of living in your ideal Michigan home. If that’s the case, you should check out these five Michigan cities that hold the lowest cost of living indexes (COLI) in this Water Winter Wonderland state:
- Albion (COLI: 74): This south-central Michigan city is a college town at heart—Albion College is a staple in this friendly and caring community with the lowest COLI in the state.
- Springfield (COLI: 74): Tied with Albion, Springfield’s low cost of living index is bolstered by West Michigan’s natural beauty and its proximity to Battle Creek.
- Jackson (COLI: 75): Jackson is the place to be for parks and recreation, people who like a little country mixed with their city, and a low cost of living.
- Ironwood (COLI: 76): Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the city of Ironwood included, has incredible outdoor attractions for all seasons.
- Benton Harbor (COLI: 76): The southwest Michigan town of Benton Harbor sits proudly near PawPaw River, Lake Michigan, breweries, dining, and shopping.
Michigan’s low cost of living index is already attractive, but if you’re looking to save even more money on basic expenses, bookmark its five cheapest towns.
How to easily find home and car insurance in Michigan
No matter where it is in the Mitten that you call home, you’ll be rolling through the streets with high car insurance costs—and you may even be overpaying for your coverage unless you compare quotes from different providers regularly.
The easiest way to save money on your car insurance is to use Jerry. We’ll do all the hard work for you to find the best Michigan car insurance deals.
Choose from competitive quotes from top insurance companies and Jerry takes care of the rest, securing your new policy and helping you cancel your old one upon request.
You can find even more savings by getting a home and auto insurance bundle!
“I was struggling to find an affordable deal in Detroit, MI because insurance here is so expensive. Working with Jerry, filling out the information is painless, and I connected with an agent to talk about specific plans. I definitely could not have found a better deal without Jerry!” —Marlin M.
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How much does it cost to live in Michigan per month?
To live comfortably, a single person in Michigan should make $2,835.67 per month.