moving to michigan

Moving to Michigan

It’s no wonder that one of Michigan’s nicknames is Water Wonderland, with a shoreline over 3,000 miles long, second only to that of Alaska. If you’re moving to Michigan, you’ll soon notice the emphasis locals place on the quality of their education. In fact, Michigan is the home of the first state university! In addition, Michigan knows how to overcome adversity: when the mines in the Upper Peninsula closed down, the entire region became the state’s favorite recreational area.

Moving Advice

Keep the following tips in mind when moving to Michigan.

You don’t need a moving permit when moving to MI, but it’s a good idea to contact your city to find out what parking restrictions apply.

Plan your route carefully. Many roads here are in bad shape, so check with the Michigan Department of Transportation to see if any roadwork is planned or any routes are closed off. Take all necessary road safety precautions: check your mirrors and lights before driving, and make sure your tires are in good shape. Already treacherous roads can become even more dangerous due to heavy rainfall.

Summers are hot and winters can be very cold with heavy snowfall. If possible, plan on moving to MI in spring or early fall.

When purchasing real estate, check the city’s development plans. Many urban areas have stunningly low home prices, but are also scheduled to be razed for new development. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t forget to change your address online with USPS so your mail makes it to Michigan with you.

Get Organized

Check out our downloadable planners and checklists.

Moving-out-for-the-first-time Checklist

Last-minute Moving Checklist

Move Planner

Cities and Metro Areas

If you have a hardworking ethos and enjoy being in a place where cutting-edge developments are the norm, then moving to MI is a great idea. From cosmopolitan Detroit where cars and casinos are the economic motors that make the city run day and night, to sleepy Sterling Heights, one of the nation’s safest cities and a great place to raise a family, there are numerous different communities throughout the state.

Other important places are Ann Arbor, famous for its political activism and cultural scene, Lansing, built on government work, and Warren, where the US Army contributes significantly to the economy. And all of this is just in the Lower Peninsula. If you want to get away from it all, consider moving to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Once mining country, it’s now almost entirely national forests.

Cost of Living

Consider the cost of living in Michigan and how it will affect your lifestyle before packing up those boxes. Due to differences in state taxes, transportation and production costs, prices vary significantly from state to state.

Despite the fact that the state of Michigan ranks fifteenth among the country’s highest property taxes, the cost of living in Michigan is 8.1% lower than the country’s average. However, it’s important to note that many of Michigan’s cities and towns are still in economic decline (Flint, for example), and the jobless rate is 9.1%, which is higher than the US average of 8.5%. This is primarily due to the recession and its repercussions for the automotive and related industries.

Highways and Public Transport

Michigan’s roads offer easy access to all parts of the Upper and Lower Peninsula but aren’t very well-maintained.

If you’re moving to Michigan, know that traffic in the southwestern part of the state can be heavy, especially in and around Detroit. Most cities have public transportation systems in the form of buses, but many people prefer to drive or, if possible in smaller communities, walk.

When moving to Michigan and planning your route, be sure to check with the Michigan Department of Transportation for current road conditions.

  • Roads in Michigan are overall in bad repair, so be wary of potholes, crumbling road surfaces or rocks flying up off the road. Whether you’re driving a moving truck or your own car, double-check your insurance policy for comprehensive coverage.
  • A number of interstate routes cross Michigan from north to south and east to west. Due to the large areas dedicated to National Forests, the Upper Peninsula has fewer roads than the Lower.
  • Amtrak provides passenger rail service from many Michigan cities to the center of Chicago. There’s also a plan to construct a commuter rail system between Detroit and the suburbs.
  • If you’re moving to MI and want to fly in, you’ll probably land at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. It’s the largest in the state and one of the busiest in the entire country for passenger air traffic.

Relocation Resources

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, jobs in Michigan have been first and foremost in the automotive industry, and despite the recent crisis in this sector, Michigan jobs are once again on the rise. However, when you peruse employment, you’ll notice other lucrative sectors, including high-tech, biotech and tourism.

Michigan’s state government actively promotes employment creation, and one of the best places to look for Michigan jobs is on the state government website. You’ll see extensive listings, as well as information on training for jobs in Michigan, workplace development, and much more. Local media such as the Daily Telegram and Michigan Live also feature up-to-date Michigan job listings. Another way to find employment is to search on, where you can upload your resume and cover letter to apply directly for open positions.


When moving to Michigan, bring your rain gear: the state gets an average of between 30 and 40 inches of precipitation each year, and the Upper Peninsula can get as much as 160! In general, summers are hot and winters are cold, with the distinction that the Lower Peninsula has slightly longer summers and milder winters.

In the winter months, heavy snowfall can be caused by the proximity of the Great Lakes. Storms are common throughout the state, but if you’re moving to the Lower Peninsula, make sure to get wind damage insurance on your home, as tornadoes are frequent during the spring and summer months.


Families with children of school-going age, as well as students, can benefit from the excellent educational opportunities after moving to Michigan. The state traditionally supports a high-quality public school system for students of all ages.

  • Elementary Schools: The top three elementary schools are Edgewood Public Montessori in Okemos, Hemmeter Elementary School in Saginaw and Howe Trainable Center and Montessori in Dearborn.
  • High Schools: Three of the top-ranked high schools are the International Academy of Macomb in Clinton Township, City Middle/High School in Grand Rapids and Community High School in Ann Arbor.
  • Higher Education: The most notable universities include Michigan State University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. There are also a number of excellent community colleges that offer both general courses and vocational training.


Michigan’s state government maintains a comprehensive website with useful information for people moving to Michigan.

  • Michigan doesn’t have an excise tax. It does levy a 6% sales tax on new vehicles, but if you buy a new vehicle out of state before moving to Michigan, only the sales taxes in the state of transaction apply.
  • Michigan doesn’t have any toll roads.
  • You can register to vote when you apply for your Michigan driver license. Alternatively, you can register online through the Michigan Voter Information Center.
  • Trash and recycling is handled by each metro area individually. Contact your local Department of Public Works or the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for more information.
  • Michigan’s Department of State handles everything pertaining to driver licensing and vehicle registration. There’s no time limit, but you’re expected to apply for a driver license upon becoming a resident (securing employment or a place to live). The costs of transferring a vehicle registration (including mopeds) vary and are calculated based on your date of birth and length of registration term. Fees for a title are $15 and there are no costs for recording a lien after moving to MI.