Best counties to live in Michigan

Written by:
June 17, 2021
Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

Best counties to live in Michigan

What makes a particular county the best? Oftentimes, it's a good mix of opportunities for fun outdoor activities and cultural attractions. Throw in some historical sites, good schools, job opportunities, and affordable housing, and the county will most likely have happy residents.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to live in Michigan using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks counties by a variety of factors including: public schools, educational attainment, cost of living, and housing.

Many counties on the list are experiencing growth due to their job opportunities, education, or home values. Others are adored for their historic or well-designed value, or devotion to cultural opportunities. Keep reading to see if your county made the list.

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Adam Buzzo // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Allegan County

- Population: 116,143
- Median home value: $165,400 (83% own)
- Median rent: $814 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $62,965
- Top public schools: Dix Street Elementary School (A), Saugatuck Middle School (A), Douglas Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Holland Christian High School (A), South Side Christian School (unavailable), Moline Christian School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Holland (A), Laketown Township (A), Saugatuck Township (A)
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PhotosByMahin // Pixabay

#24. Wayne County

- Population: 1,757,299
- Median home value: $113,000 (62% own)
- Median rent: $875 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $47,301
- Top public schools: Northville High School (A+), Grosse Pointe South High School (A+), Amerman Elementary School (A+)
- Top private schools: University Liggett School (A+), University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy (A+), Plymouth Christian Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Grosse Pointe Park (A+), Northville (A+), Grosse Pointe Farms (A+)
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Isabella County

- Population: 70,688
- Median home value: $134,900 (62% own)
- Median rent: $736 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $45,116
- Top public schools: Mt. Pleasant Senior High School (B+), Winn Elementary School (B+), Shepherd High School (B)
- Top private schools: Sacred Heart Academy (A), Saginaw Chippewa Academy (unavailable), St. Joseph the Worker School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Mount Pleasant (B+), Lincoln Township (B), Chippewa Township (B)
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NOAA Great Lakes Envorinmental Ressearch Laboritory // Flickr

#22. Muskegon County

- Population: 173,297
- Median home value: $117,900 (75% own)
- Median rent: $760 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $50,854
- Top public schools: North Muskegon High School (A), North Muskegon Middle School (A), North Muskegon Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Western Michigan Christian High School (A), Muskegon Catholic Central School (B+), Calvary Christian Schools (B+)
- Top places to live: North Muskegon (A), Roosevelt Park (A), Norton Shores (A)
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kennethaw88 // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Saginaw County

- Population: 191,821
- Median home value: $101,300 (71% own)
- Median rent: $780 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $48,000
- Top public schools: Hemmeter Elementary School (A), E.F. Rittmueller Middle School (A), Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy (A)
- Top private schools: Michigan Lutheran Seminary (A), Nouvel Catholic Central High School (A), Valley Lutheran High School (B)
- Top places to live: Frankenmuth (A), Saginaw Charter Township (A), Frankenmuth Township (B+)
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SBarnes // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Eaton County

- Population: 109,456
- Median home value: $155,000 (72% own)
- Median rent: $858 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $64,348
- Top public schools: Willow Ridge Elementary School (A), Delta Center Elementary School (B+), Leon W. Hayes Middle School (B+)
- Top private schools: New Covenant Christian School (B), St. Gerard Elementary School (unavailable), Our Savior Lutheran School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Waverly (A), Grand Ledge (A), Dimondale (B+)
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US Army Corps of Engineer // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Benzie County

- Population: 17,615
- Median home value: $185,500 (90% own)
- Median rent: $702 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $57,974
- Top public schools: Frankfort Elementary School (A), Frankfort High School (B), Benzie Central Senior High School (B)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Crystal Lake Township (A), Almira Township (A), Frankfort (B+)
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Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Macomb County

- Population: 870,325
- Median home value: $166,800 (73% own)
- Median rent: $962 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $62,855
- Top public schools: International Academy of Macomb (A+), Messmore Elementary School (A), Noor International Academy (A)
- Top private schools: De La Salle Collegiate (A), Austin Catholic High School (A), Regina High School (A)
- Top places to live: Shelby Charter Township (A), Sterling Heights (A), Fraser (A)
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kennethaw88 // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Clinton County

- Population: 78,389
- Median home value: $172,800 (80% own)
- Median rent: $839 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $70,390
- Top public schools: Scott Elementary School (A), DeWitt High School (A), DeWitt Junior High School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Mary Elementary School (unavailable), St. Joseph Catholic School (unavailable), Most Holy Trinity School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: DeWitt (A), DeWitt Charter Township (A), Eagle Township (A)
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Joshuay04 // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Livingston County

- Population: 189,754
- Median home value: $247,100 (85% own)
- Median rent: $1,053 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $84,221
- Top public schools: Hawkins Elementary School (A), Spencer Road Elementary School (A), Creekside Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Patrick School (unavailable), Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran School (unavailable), Cornerstone Christian School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Brighton Township (A), Green Oak Township (A), Hamburg Township (A)
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User:My name // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Charlevoix County

- Population: 26,188
- Median home value: $166,300 (81% own)
- Median rent: $694 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $55,760
- Top public schools: Beaver Island Community School (A), Boyne City Elementary School (B+), Boyne City High School (B+)
- Top private schools: St. Mary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Charlevoix Township (A), Boyne City (A), Marion Township (B+)
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Dickinson County

- Population: 25,439
- Median home value: $101,800 (77% own)
- Median rent: $665 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $51,645
- Top public schools: Kingsford High School (A), Woodland Elementary School (B+), Kingsford Middle School (B+)
- Top private schools: Holy Spirit Central School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Iron Mountain (A), Norway (A), Kingsford (A)
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Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Emmet County

- Population: 33,104
- Median home value: $186,900 (73% own)
- Median rent: $818 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $55,829
- Top public schools: Shay Elementary School (A), Petoskey Middle School (A), Harbor Springs High School (A)
- Top private schools: Harbor Light Christian School (B), St. Francis Xavier School (unavailable), St. Michael Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Resort Township (A), Petoskey (A), Bay View (A)
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Russell Sekeet (amtrak_russ) // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Berrien County

- Population: 154,133
- Median home value: $150,700 (71% own)
- Median rent: $743 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $50,795
- Top public schools: Brown School (A+), Upton Middle School (A), St. Joseph High School (A)
- Top private schools: Andrews Academy (A), Grace Christian School (A), Michigan Lutheran High School (B+)
- Top places to live: St. Joseph (A+), Royalton Township (A), Berrien Springs (A)
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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Marquette County

- Population: 66,686
- Median home value: $153,400 (71% own)
- Median rent: $738 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $53,970
- Top public schools: Graveraet Elementary School (A), Sandy Knoll School (A), Marquette Senior High School (B+)
- Top private schools: Father Marquette Catholic Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Marquette (A), Trowbridge Park (A), Harvey (A)
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Jcvertin // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Houghton County

- Population: 36,070
- Median home value: $108,700 (67% own)
- Median rent: $640 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $43,183
- Top public schools: Houghton Elementary School (A), Houghton Central High School (A), Houghton Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Copper Country Christian School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Portage Charter Township (A), Houghton (A), Hancock (A)
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stanthejeep // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Grand Traverse County

- Population: 92,181
- Median home value: $212,500 (76% own)
- Median rent: $951 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $63,575
- Top public schools: Courtade Elementary School (A), Central High School (A), Kingsley Area Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Interlochen Arts Academy (A+), St. Francis High School (A), Traverse City Christian School (B)
- Top places to live: Peninsula Township (A), Acme Township (A), Traverse City (A)
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O. David Redwine // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Midland County

- Population: 83,355
- Median home value: $141,700 (77% own)
- Median rent: $777 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $62,625
- Top public schools: H.H. Dow High School (A), Jefferson Middle School (A), Woodcrest Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Calvary Baptist Academy (B+), St. Brigid Catholic School (unavailable), St. John's Lutheran School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Larkin Charter Township (A+), Midland (A+), Homer Township (B+)
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Alexey Stiop // Shutterstock

#7. Leelanau County

- Population: 21,652
- Median home value: $268,400 (88% own)
- Median rent: $959 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $65,249
- Top public schools: Leland Public School (A), Maple City-Glen Lake Junior/Senior High School (B), Suttons Bay Senior High School (B)
- Top private schools: The Leelanau School (A), St. Mary School - Lake Leelanau (B), The Pathfinder School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Bingham Township (B+), Greilickville (B), Leland Township (A)
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Bryan Robb // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Ingham County

- Population: 290,587
- Median home value: $135,600 (58% own)
- Median rent: $877 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $52,872
- Top public schools: Okemos High School (A+), Okemos Public Montessori School at Central (A+), Chippewa Middle School (A+)
- Top private schools: Lansing Christian School (A), Lansing Catholic High School (A), St. Thomas Aquinas Parish School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Okemos (A+), Haslett (A+), East Lansing (A+)
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Mxobe // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Kalamazoo County

- Population: 262,745
- Median home value: $159,300 (64% own)
- Median rent: $812 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $56,511
- Top public schools: Moorsbridge Elementary School (A), Portage Northern High School (A), Portage Central High School (A)
- Top private schools: Hackett Catholic Prep (A), Kalamazoo Christian High School (A), Heritage Christian Academy (B)
- Top places to live: Portage (A+), Texas Charter Township (A), Westwood (A)
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Grguy2011 // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Kent County

- Population: 648,121
- Median home value: $173,700 (70% own)
- Median rent: $899 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $63,053
- Top public schools: Northern High School (A+), Central High School (A+), East Grand Rapids High School (A)
- Top private schools: Grand Rapids Christian High School (A), West Michigan Lutheran High School (A), Catholic Central High School (A)
- Top places to live: East Grand Rapids (A+), Forest Hills (A+), Eastgate (A+)
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Gpwitteveen // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Ottawa County

- Population: 286,558
- Median home value: $191,800 (78% own)
- Median rent: $898 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $69,314
- Top public schools: Eagle Crest Charter Academy (A+), Lakewood Elementary School (A), Jeffers Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Calvary Schools of Holland (B), Unity Christian High School (B), Zeeland Christian School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Zeeland Charter Township (A), Hudsonville (A), Grand Haven Charter Township (A)
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Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Oakland County

- Population: 1,253,185
- Median home value: $242,700 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,080 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $79,698
- Top public schools: International Academy (A+), Troy High School (A+), Novi High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Cranbrook Schools (A+), Detroit Country Day School (A+), The Roeper School - Birmingham Campus (A+)
- Top places to live: Troy (A+), Bloomfield Charter Township (A+), Beverly Hills (A+)
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Agnieszka Gaul // Shutterstock

#1. Washtenaw County

- Population: 367,000
- Median home value: $263,600 (61% own)
- Median rent: $1,114 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $72,586
- Top public schools: Washtenaw International High School (A+), Pioneer High School (A+), Huron High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Greenhills School (A+), Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor (A), Michigan Islamic Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Ann Arbor (A+), Lodi Township (A+), Pittsfield Charter Township (A+)

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