These Are The 20 Best Small Towns In Michigan For 2018


We used science and data to determine which small towns in Michigan are the best of the best..

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Data updated for 2018.

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You’ve seen these lists before: Best places to live in Michigan, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Wolverine State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in Michigan based on numbers–not opinions or hearsay.

We’ll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in Michigan ranked the based–you know, based on science.

Before we get to the top 20, here’s a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in Michigan for 2018:

  1. Pleasant Ridge (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Village of Grosse Pointe Shores (Homes For Sale)
  3. DeWitt (Homes For Sale)
  4. Frankenmuth (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Franklin (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Lathrup Village (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Bloomfield Hills (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Caledonia (Homes For Sale)
  9. Spring Lake (Homes For Sale)
  10. Stevensville (Homes For Sale)

If you live in one of these small towns like Pleasant Ridge, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you–keep reading and we’ll get to just why these small towns made our list.

For more reading on the Wolverine State check out:

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How We Determined The Coolest Towns In Michigan

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent data from the Census’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • Highly Educated Adults (Higher is better)
  • Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
  • Commute Times (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 5,000 people and greater than 1,000, of which, there were a lot – 256 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 256, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in Michigan. Top of that list — Pleasant Ridge.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 20 best small towns in Michigan.

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1. Pleasant Ridge

Pleasant Ridge, MI

Population: 2,562
Median Income: $107,656 (6th Best)
Median Home Value: $268,400 (7th Best)
More on Pleasant Ridge: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

2. Village Of Grosse Pointe Shores


Population: 2,933
Median Income: $151,440 (2nd Best)
Median Home Value: $431,200 (4th Best)
More on Village Of Grosse Pointe Shores: Data| Homes For Sale

3. Dewitt


Population: 4,657
Median Income: $87,230 (8th Best)
Median Home Value: $191,800 (17th Best)
More on Dewitt: Data| Homes For Sale

4. Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth, MI

Population: 4,992
Median Income: $47,674 (89th Best)
Median Home Value: $163,200 (30th Best)
More on Frankenmuth: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

5. Franklin

Franklin, MI

Population: 3,262
Median Income: $150,250 (3rd Best)
Median Home Value: $509,300 (2nd Best)
More on Franklin: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

6. Lathrup Village

Lathrup Village, MI

Population: 4,127
Median Income: $90,875 (7th Best)
Median Home Value: $156,800 (35th Best)
More on Lathrup Village: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

7. Bloomfield Hills

Bloomfield Hills, MI

Population: 3,984
Median Income: $169,265 (1st Best)
Median Home Value: $794,600 (1st Best)
More on Bloomfield Hills: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

8. Caledonia


Population: 1,871
Median Income: $66,953 (17th Best)
Median Home Value: $186,600 (20th Best)
More on Caledonia: Data| Homes For Sale

9. Spring Lake


Population: 2,424
Median Income: $52,824 (55th Best)
Median Home Value: $131,700 (51st Best)
More on Spring Lake: Data| Homes For Sale

10. Stevensville


Population: 1,235
Median Income: $50,938 (63rd Best)
Median Home Value: $129,800 (55th Best)
More on Stevensville: Data| Homes For Sale

11. North Muskegon


Population: 3,785
Median Income: $58,300 (38th Best)
Median Home Value: $143,300 (41st Best)
More on North Muskegon: Data| Homes For Sale

12. Edgemont Park


Population: 2,148
Median Income: $54,141 (52nd Best)
Median Home Value: $103,100 (107th Best)
More on Edgemont Park: Data| Homes For Sale

13. Lake Orion

Lake Orion, MI

Population: 3,040
Median Income: $76,169 (12th Best)
Median Home Value: $250,000 (9th Best)
More on Lake Orion: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

14. Elk Rapids


Population: 1,574
Median Income: $49,022 (73rd Best)
Median Home Value: $215,600 (14th Best)
More on Elk Rapids: Data| Homes For Sale

15. Sylvan Lake


Population: 1,688
Median Income: $65,781 (21st Best)
Median Home Value: $188,900 (19th Best)
More on Sylvan Lake: Data| Homes For Sale

16. Fruitport


Population: 1,374
Median Income: $49,926 (70th Best)
Median Home Value: $118,700 (66th Best)
More on Fruitport: Data| Homes For Sale

17. South Gull Lake


Population: 1,298
Median Income: $77,292 (11th Best)
Median Home Value: $383,300 (5th Best)
More on South Gull Lake: Data| Homes For Sale

18. Pinckney

Pinckney, MI

Population: 2,590
Median Income: $68,214 (15th Best)
Median Home Value: $154,700 (37th Best)
More on Pinckney: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

19. Trowbridge Park


Population: 2,441
Median Income: $61,402 (30th Best)
Median Home Value: $148,100 (38th Best)
More on Trowbridge Park: Data| Homes For Sale

20. West Ishpeming


Population: 2,875
Median Income: $55,966 (44th Best)
Median Home Value: $115,600 (73rd Best)
More on West Ishpeming: Data| Homes For Sale

Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we’ll say it again — this list: it’s just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 20 small towns in Michigan are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you’re curious, here are the worst small towns in Michigan:

  1. Skidway Lake
  2. St. Helen
  3. White Cloud

For more Michigan reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In Michigan

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Value
1 Pleasant Ridge 2,562 $107,656 $268,400
2 Village Of Grosse Pointe Shores 2,933 $151,440 $431,200
3 Dewitt 4,657 $87,230 $191,800
4 Frankenmuth 4,992 $47,674 $163,200
5 Franklin 3,262 $150,250 $509,300
6 Lathrup Village 4,127 $90,875 $156,800
7 Bloomfield Hills 3,984 $169,265 $794,600
8 Caledonia 1,871 $66,953 $186,600
9 Spring Lake 2,424 $52,824 $131,700
10 Stevensville 1,235 $50,938 $129,800
11 North Muskegon 3,785 $58,300 $143,300
12 Edgemont Park 2,148 $54,141 $103,100
13 Lake Orion 3,040 $76,169 $250,000
14 Elk Rapids 1,574 $49,022 $215,600
15 Sylvan Lake 1,688 $65,781 $188,900
16 Fruitport 1,374 $49,926 $118,700
17 South Gull Lake 1,298 $77,292 $383,300
18 Pinckney 2,590 $68,214 $154,700
19 Trowbridge Park 2,441 $61,402 $148,100
20 West Ishpeming 2,875 $55,966 $115,600
21 Wolverine Lake 4,410 $81,559 $165,500
22 Linden 3,868 $59,882 $127,600
23 Williamston 3,859 $57,647 $133,300
24 Oxford 3,511 $63,008 $155,800
25 Auburn 1,935 $52,396 $100,800
26 Portland 3,920 $54,327 $117,500
27 Dimondale 1,134 $63,981 $138,600
28 Orchard Lake Village 2,517 $141,250 $493,400
29 Bingham Farms 1,112 $113,333 $379,700
30 Argentine 2,536 $73,047 $211,200
31 Spring Arbor 2,952 $53,442 $138,400
32 Lowell 3,930 $61,397 $108,600
33 Middleville 3,324 $48,818 $104,700
34 Harbor Springs 1,031 $44,732 $231,000
35 Schoolcraft 1,431 $48,603 $111,400
36 South Haven 4,372 $45,123 $175,000
37 Bath 2,133 $67,554 $140,500
38 Twin Lake 1,818 $64,643 $158,200
39 Detroit Beach 2,087 $58,371 $105,200
40 Ferrysburg 2,979 $64,196 $170,400
41 Bridgman 2,220 $47,396 $166,900
42 Quinnesec 1,034 $59,340 $81,000
43 Petersburg 1,256 $53,750 $104,500
44 Fowler 1,161 $54,167 $131,500
45 Pearl Beach 2,948 $66,817 $206,700
46 Wayland 4,134 $50,787 $97,900
47 Armada 1,864 $50,400 $136,800
48 Goodrich 1,822 $75,543 $160,600
49 Concord 1,211 $47,938 $103,800
50 Chums Corner 1,353 $61,310 $190,700
51 Laurium 2,007 $36,701 $71,600
52 Plainwell 3,812 $47,869 $115,200
53 Montague 2,461 $50,268 $101,300
54 Wacousta 1,425 $80,331 $173,400
55 Beechwood 3,454 $51,850 $130,300
56 Boyne City 3,742 $45,357 $131,000
57 Otsego 3,970 $42,574 $109,700
58 Lake Isabella 2,010 $65,563 $137,900
59 Shepherd 1,558 $42,841 $107,400
60 Woodland Beach 1,793 $56,250 $111,800
61 Laingsburg 1,216 $52,788 $116,100
62 Belleville 3,896 $45,737 $124,600
63 New Haven 4,686 $59,500 $117,100
64 Negaunee 4,606 $47,991 $110,400
65 Utica 4,838 $51,325 $127,700
66 Harvey 1,605 $44,397 $159,300
67 Ortonville 1,734 $54,821 $146,000
68 Reese 1,544 $46,875 $111,300
69 Rockwood 3,209 $55,636 $114,100
70 Manchester 2,258 $48,233 $144,500
71 Clinton 2,495 $60,658 $110,200
72 Greilickville 1,905 $44,324 $228,000
73 Pigeon 1,303 $36,493 $79,400
74 Sparta 4,280 $41,404 $106,600
75 Gibraltar 4,547 $64,016 $111,700
76 Shorewood-Tower Hills-Harbert 1,436 $50,250 $259,900
77 Grass Lake 1,211 $54,556 $123,200
78 Gladstone 4,867 $44,898 $82,200
79 Carleton 2,352 $50,972 $94,300
80 Roosevelt Park 3,813 $41,806 $92,800
81 Potterville 2,621 $55,380 $78,700
82 Cass City 2,466 $43,600 $69,300
83 Douglas 1,128 $48,466 $234,000
84 Stockbridge 1,210 $43,875 $108,800
85 Charlevoix 2,522 $31,926 $166,500
86 Canadian Lakes 2,667 $49,308 $181,300
87 Blissfield 3,200 $48,026 $97,700
88 Whitehall 2,706 $44,917 $103,000
89 New Buffalo 1,791 $46,250 $222,200
90 Fremont 4,038 $42,734 $91,500
91 Vicksburg 3,065 $56,023 $123,600
92 Essexville 3,418 $49,531 $88,000
93 Romeo 3,919 $47,813 $161,500
94 Hemlock 1,663 $57,734 $92,700
95 East Tawas 2,750 $38,086 $89,700
96 Frankfort 1,359 $38,359 $141,800
97 Birch Run 1,620 $47,159 $92,600
98 Centreville 1,522 $44,219 $98,000
99 Hancock 4,596 $35,698 $109,000
100 South Rockwood 1,941 $63,828 $116,300

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