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10 Of The Worst Cities To Live In Michigan

By Edited Apr 23, 2014 0 20

If you’re considering a move there are some places you should avoid like the worst cities in Michigan. Because there are numerous wonderful spots in the mitten to live that offer employment and safety for your family why choose any of the following impoverished cities? A little research and effort at the outset of your move may save you and your family a lot of heartache and grief.  With all the closings in the automobile industry Michigan has certainly been hit very hard during these economically rough times so careful planning is a must when making a move in this state.


Ranking in many lists as the city with the highest crime, or the most dangerous city is Detroit. With a long history of violence it has only gotten worse with its 13 percent unemployment rate, making it one of the worst cities in Michigan to live as well as that of America. Take a drive through the Motorcity and you’ll see why it’s one of the worst cities in Michigan to live. It doesn’t take much to see that it is a graveyard and considered the poorest city in the nation. And due to its absurdly high murder rate it is considered one of the least safe.


Another one with a high rate of unemployment at 12 percent it is a contender for the worst cities in Michigan. It has faced factory closings along with the rest of Michigan and because of this it experiences high rates of poverty which lead to its high rates of crime making it one of the worst cities in Michigan to live. It’s one of the big three that are found on national lists of problem areas; Detroit, Flint and Saginaw.


 A city built around a prison and living with an almost 13 percent unemployment rate doesn’t hold much in the way of promise for those looking to relocate and certainly puts it near the top of the worst cities in Michigan. Take that into with the juvenile crime rate and small gangs popping up and it becomes now wonder that it’s one of the worst cities in Michigan to live. Look a little west to this city for some lovely areas to live in Michigan.

Battle Creek 

Another city that was hit with the automobile industry problems and now experiences a 13 percent unemployment rate hits this list of the worst cities in Michigan. The youth here do poorly on state testing because of minimal funding and businesses are closing daily securing its place as one of the worst cities in Michigan to live.


A drive through Flint creates the view of a dirty city. There are many people who have to accept government assistance here just to make it by. It has more than 35 percent of its population living below the nationally defined poverty level of $20,650 when the rest of the state teeters at the 14 percent mark, making it one of the worst cities within Michigan. It has gained nationally recognition for its crime rate which is another reason it is one of the worst cities in Michigan to live.


Though there is a thriving university here, Kalamazoo is one of the worst cities withinin Michigan to live. There is a definite drug problem with the youth in this large town. The crime rates in this city are on the rise making it one of the worst cities in Michigan to live. And because of this the real estate market is still plummeting.

Big Rapids

What makes Big Rapids one of the worst cities in Michigan is its poverty level. This is one of the worst cities in Michigan to live because it also houses one of the poorest economies in the state. While facing this problem it also deals with a high crime and drug rates. Combine that with schools that do poor on state testing and it’s a wise idea to avoid moving here.

Benton Harbor

Near the lovely city of St. Joseph it doesn’t offer nearly the potential for job market or safety. 16.5 out of every 100 people who live in Benton Harbor will experience a serious crime enacted against them, making this one of the worst cities in Michigan to live. It is also home to some of the largest percentages of child poverty and families receiving governmental assistance securing its place on the list of the worst cities in Michigan.


With a correctional facility and some of the worst crime and highest rates of poverty, Muskegon is one of the worst cities in Michigan. Though a day trip can be worth seeing Michigan Adventure, make sure to lock your car and keep your valuables near you. Housing values show now hope of climbing, another reason this spot is on the list of the worst cities in Michigan to live.


Some speculate it’s because this city is near Detroit suburbs as a reason that it’s on lists of the worst cities in Michigan. There is juvenile crime within the schools and it’s hard to pick the best one for your child to go to here. The city also has a very poor economy with lay-offs happening often and crime rates climbing. If this is an area you’re looking to move to, avoid this particular city as it’s one of the worst cities in Michigan to live, and look to some of the nicer choices that are nearby.

This list may make Michigan seem like it’s in an economic slump without any hope of return, but this isn’t the case. There are many nice towns and great cities in Michigan that have small thriving economies that are weathering the financial storm. It’s important to consider all the options if looking to make a move anywhere, especially in a time when jobs seem scarce and the cost of living is high. Be prepared and do your homework because with the proper amount of reading and planning you can keep yourself and your family from living in any of the worst cities in Michigan.



Apr 10, 2014 12:25pm
Soooo... let me get this straight Ypsilanti makes the list because this city is near Detroit suburbs....

Ok first off its called Metro Detroit... Secondly Ypsi-Tucky (Ypsilanti) is good 30-45 mins away from down town Detroit. There are also many little cities in between them.. Not sure if you heard of them but Canton, Livonia, Westland, Dearborn and there are still more....

Ohhhh and how is Jackson and Battle Creek worse then Flint! Seriously what make believe world did you pull your facts from. You know data with numbers not just thrown together numbers...

Apr 10, 2014 12:35pm
This article is incredibly poorly written and is supported by no facts or citations. If you're going to provide crime statistics or income levels, you should provide the citations for the sources from which you obtained your information. Also, you might note that this article is purely based upon your opinions and not based upon actual statistics, facts, or analysis. Go back to being a wife and mother, author. Writing is not your forte.
Apr 10, 2014 1:09pm
This is easily the worst article I've ever read. No facts, no citations, riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, and overall based on ignorance. Congrats, you were published in Highlights as an 8 year old. Unfortunetly, your writing ability never improved past disposable waiting room magazines. This article makes me think less of this website as a whole, and more importantly, you as a person.
Apr 10, 2014 5:26pm
Haha! Big Rapids! That is too funny! All I can say is I loved my time living there and raising my young children there before my husband went back into the military and we HAD to leave. You are living in a college town, which presents it's own challenges, but this town does not even compare to some of the other cities on this list. It's a GREAT place to live!
Apr 10, 2014 5:54pm
"...with the proper amount of reading and planning you can keep yourself and your family from living in any of the worst cities in Michigan." - Yeah, but definitely not by reading this article. This is an absolute joke. I've visited almost every city on this list and I live in Big Rapids. Poor economy? Except for the 14,000 college students that blow half their student loans on alcohol and food at the dozens of thriving restaurants in the city. On top of that, the basic factory jobs, of which there are many, pay higher than the poverty level and Ferris State, where even the lowest paid janitors make more than the poverty level, employs hundreds of people.

High crime rate? Let's see some stats for that. I don't know if I've ever heard of a murder in Big Rapids in the past ten years and even break-ins and other low profile crime isn't that common. Poor school testing? The entire state is one of the lowest in the nation, so that isn't much of a factor for making a decision. That's also only accounting for the public school, I'm sure, and doesn't look at the Michigan State funded and operated charter academy that does much better than any public school in the area.

Again, this is a joke. The author should consider finding a different day job that doesn't waste everyone's time and, hopefully, doesn't require any basic grammar or spelling tests to get hired.
Apr 10, 2014 7:09pm
Seriously, this is a terrible article in many ways.
1) It's written like a 5 yo wrote it, the grammar is terrible which leaves little credibility.
2) The 'facts' used in the article are basically made up. They are so vague and show no proof that they hold no merit. I would love to see these unemployment numbers cited as to where they came from.
3) They can't even use the nicknames of the towns correctly, proving they know very little about Michigan and have done no real research.
I've lived in several of these towns for years and most of the information provided is WRONG. It's really sad that some website allows people to write 'articles' with no citation, no proof, and no expertise. Clearly this article and site deserve as much respect as their credentials provide.
Don't believe anything written in it!
I'd also like to note that I only joined this site to post this comment to hopefully make some people realize this article is completely made up. I will be deleting my account shortly.
Apr 10, 2014 7:17pm
I also LOVE that you say 'do your homework' at the end of the article!!! Try doing this yourself!!!
Apr 11, 2014 5:17am
This article is a joke. I live in Big Rapids and what you have written is untrue. Like everyone else has said, you provide no facts or citations to back up anything you've written. Have you even been to any of these places you've listed? I bet not. So, "be prepared and do your homework" before writing your next article.

Like Jason_W714 said, I think it's ridiculous to have to create an account just to comment. But I said my piece and hopefully this article will be blown up with unhappy readers.
Apr 11, 2014 5:54am
Ok, Muskegon may not be that fantastic, but you still have to do your homework. The prison there has been closed for MANY years now. It was even closed before this article was written in 2011. And second, it's Michigan's Adventure. Please get your facts straight and grammar correct before you write another article.
Apr 11, 2014 7:49am
It is easy to sit back and cast stones. Your negativity and obvious lust for elevating yourself by minimizing others around you makes your opinions mute to the intelligent reader. Besides your dazzling display of spelling and grammar I think you could benefit from this new fangled source of information called "Google" and a little bit of information can go a long way. Perhaps instead of focusing and pointing out the bad in this world you could find a way to point out the good, we have enough negativity already.
Apr 11, 2014 1:55pm
I am honestly appalled by this post. Not only is it poorly written and noticeably missing an editor, it does not have solid factual information to back up this claim. I am a resident of Cadillac. Cadillac is known to be a beautiful place in Northern Michigan. However, were you aware that up until this last year, Wexford County (Where Cadillac is located) had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates? It also harbored and still harbors close to a 13% unemployment rate. Am I just spewing facts here without backing them up? Yes, but I also know this to be true as I have lived in this beautiful city that has been struggling for the last several years, for nearly two decades. I have a multitude of friends that live in these cities that are listed in this article; I am actually from Flint. Flint is known to have a tremendously high crime rate, but I have also been there to help work on homes in the heart of Flint. I have been everywhere and have never been afraid for my life. Ypsilanti is far from a horrible place to live. It makes no difference what big city an individual is going to move to...they will come across some pretty harsh ways of living. Even in Traverse City or Petoskey (two of northern Michigan's most beautiful cities) there is a good amount of crime. I find this article to be 100% opinion based with nothing to support it. If you want to say what the real worst area to move to is...maybe you should check out the West Branch/Rose City/Gladwin/Standish area; that is a rough area with VERY few jobs. The crime rate isn't what I would call high, but the people in that area are truly suffering. Please, do everyone a favor and check facts and really do the research before posting opinion-based articles like this. It is okay to post opinion-based articles, but it is also very important to make sure that you back up your claims that are made with solid, factual evidence.
Apr 11, 2014 2:10pm
Big Rapids Fake article
Facts: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/michigan/districts/big-rapids-public-schools/big-rapids-high-school-9736
Can't see how this could gone from the worst school to 75th in Michigan and National Rank
If your going to keep this article up and edit it yearly, you need to reddit with more facts. As for the rest of the facts you can get your info i done enough debunking the facts.
Apr 11, 2014 4:12pm
Please tell me this woman did not get paid for writing this! This is only the 10,000th article written about the "Worst Places To Live - Blah Blah". Not only is this concept old and worn out - but only the 'low information' reader believes this rubbish. Where's the evidence? And more importantly, where's the mention of The Kalamazoo Promise, Battle Creek being a Beacon Community, and Detroit's cultural scene? Please...gimme a break. This is ridiculous.
Apr 12, 2014 9:35am
The article is based on research, stats and facts, not on what the residents think. Just as I've mentioned to others, while you may have lived in a nicer part of the city, there is more to it than just that area. So while there are several nice areas, the stats for that area do not always counter balance the terrible stats in another area. Take Detroit for instance. Not all of Detroit is a ghetto, but because the crime rate is so high in those areas, the poverty is so high in those areas and so many other things, Detroit as a whole is a terrible city to live in based on facts. That being said, if you visited "the better side" of Detroit you would see even though stats say Detroit is terrible, there are still nice areas.

Here is also just a few quick links that I quickly pulled up from one simple Google search. It appears that Big Rapids has a poverty level of 68.7% in 2009. I realize that those stats are a little older, but as mentioned so is the article of mine you are referring to. I don't disagree with the fact that Big Rapids has a lot to offer, but unfortunately, just like Detroit, the good facts just don't outweigh the bad ones. The other links are a little more recent and the facts are the same. I understand how from a resident stand point, you may not see these facts - I don't see them in my current city, but I also live in a city that I love but the facts do not support how great it is.

Appears Big Rapids has a high poverty level, just as I've said above, unless all these other websites are also lying...
Apr 12, 2014 10:01am
I don't know your credentials, Victoria, for rating our Michigan cities but your view of Muskegon is wrong, wrong wrong!!! I have lived here my entire life and it a wonderful place to live. How insulting for you to say that the only place worth visiting in Muskegon is Michigan's Adventure, and then only if we lock up everything!!

You obviously don't know that our Pere Marquette Beach has been ranked in the top 10 of beaches in the USA, or that we have an internationally renowned art gallery. Our Muskegon Museum of Art loans OUR art masterpieces to the art galleries of Europe. Yes, even to the Louvre in Paris!

And I bet you didn't know that we have the only public Luge run in the US at our Muskegon State Park's winter park. Olympians train here along with anyone who wishes to try! And we have Hoffmaster State Park, Muskegon State Park and many local parks available for camping, swimming and enjoying nature!

We have so many festivals all year long that are enjoyed by thousands. Come join us in July for Bike Time or our Art Festival during the 4th. Or how about putting on your Irish and coming to our Irish Fest! Or how about our Christian Unity Festival. All of these are held Downtown and gasp, you don't need to have armed guards or a fire arm for protection!!

We have 9 museum bulidings in our downtown! And five of these are historic homes to walk through with trained staff and volunteers. Go back in time to the Victorian Era in our Hackley/Hume Homes or tour our 19th century fire barn or our Depression Era home. Muskegon is filled with culture and fun.
http://muskegon.org/101things Please take a look at this link. Yes, there really are 101 PLUS things to do in our beautiful county!

Do we have crime? Of course, every city does! Do we have poverty? Of course. We are a racially diverse community and with that brings problems some time, but that is also one of our
strengths, too! The crime segment is so small and to crucify an entire county is wrong, wrong, wrong!!

So the next time before you publish something do your research. Visit the places you plan to insult, and I lay odds you will change your mind and write about how wonderful our Michigan truly is!!

And YOU, owe an apology to all of the citizens in these cities that you so casually and cruelly insulted!!!
Apr 25, 2014 9:31am
She has no credentials and she will not change her mind in her article no matter how many facts she is presented with. Don't argue with her too much or she will accuse you of cyber bullying. Never mind the fact that she told the world not to move to our cities. .
Apr 24, 2014 8:26am
Big Rapids High School received notice yesterday that our high school was, once again, recognized as one of “America’s Best High Schools 2014", receiving the “Silver Medal” from U.S. News and World Report. The high school also ranked in the top 6% nationally! This is something that all of us can be so proud of!!! We also received the newest crime statistics. The article is in the front page of the Pioneer Paper, today. It shows that not only is the crime in our community low it is down from last year. Our University is one of the fastest growing University's in Michigan and you Victoria should be ashamed of yourself for publishing such faulty information and also for not understanding how to compute real statistics. We are now meeting to see if there is a way to measure any harm you may have done to Big Rapids. If there were a list of the top ten worst writers in the United States I am sure you would get votes to be number one. Don't quit your day job.
Aug 16, 2014 9:21pm
Really bad article. I actually grew up in Muskegon and this article doesn't make any distinction between North Muskegon and the Heights. NOT the same! Michigan Adventures is in North Muskegon which is relatively a safe and nice place to visit or live, though I as a rule practice locking my car regardless of my location. Muskegon Heights is a shipwreck, poverty stricken wasteland comparable to Detroit. Not that good things can't come from there, but the neighborhood is pretty rough. Growing up I have seen dog fights, gun shots, gang activity, drug pushers, and prostitution..but most of the danger there is gang related. North Muskegon is mostly forests and parks. Beautiful should you ever decide to visit. whomever wrote this article clearly never visited any of these locations..or may not even have been from Michigan...writing an article about something you think you know or what random statistics show you...pass.
Aug 16, 2014 9:28pm
Let me clarify: Gang on gang violence is more common than random murders.
Aug 16, 2014 9:23pm
Oh yes, I might add that downtown Muskegon is doing quite well. The pier is a great place to visit! Great bars, restaurants, music, and more. I rather enjoy spending time over there.
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