5 reasons to move to West Michigan
Numerous publications and entities find congruence in the fact there's a lot to like about West Michigan. From beer to beaches, West Michigan's many indelible qualities are well on display.
Lonely Planet, the world's most successful travel publisher, declared Grand Rapids & Lake Michigan's Gold Coast as the number one travel destination in the United States for 2014. Well, what's better than a West Michigan visit? West Michigan residency. For those looking to make a move, here are five reasons why West Michigan should be on your radar.
1. Raising a family
Young families will be happy to hear that West Michigan is an ideal spot to nurture and grow young minds. In fact, Grand Rapids, the second largest city in the state, often appears on Forbes Magazine's list of best places to raise a family—and was even ranked number one in 2012. Grand Rapids boasts the highest percentage of homeowners in the country at 77 percent. Forbes also cited lower crime rates and short commute times. As someone who moved from Detroit to Grand Rapids, the minuscule of rush hour traffic on US-131 is like open highway compared to I-696 and I-75.
2. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Those looking for a job (or perhaps looking for a change of scenery and uprooting themselves to head elsewhere in search of a new one) need to consider West Michigan. Bridge Magazine in late 2013 reported that jobs in Michigan are shifting west—with the Grand Rapids region expected to generate jobs at twice the rate than the tri-county region surrounding Metro Detroit.
Furthermore, the 13-county region of West Michigan is expected to expand jobs by nine percent through 2023. Growing industries include: manufacturing, health care, food processing and various professional services.
3. Strong social life
There is a lot to do in West Michigan. By day, you could be relaxing on a beach off Lake Michigan and by night imbibing at a nationally recognized brewery. Grand Rapids even just won USA Today's Best Beer Town poll. Replete with quality breweries, there is perhaps no better place in the country to lift a glass to the good times than Grand Rapids.
Additionally, West Michigan is home to numerous festivals like Tulip Time in Holland, ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven and more. Sports fans can also get their fix with the likes of the West Michigan Whitecaps, Grand Rapids Griffins, and the new Pistons affiliate, Grand Rapids Drive. Whether a sporting event or major festival, there is plenty of affordable fun for various interests.
When looking to retire, affordability is always a priority. Recently, U.S. News and World Report named Grand Rapids one of the best places to retire on Social Security alone, based on the average of $1,294 per month.
Retirees age 65 and older, according to the report, only pay $684 a month in rent, while older homeowners pay $1,080 monthly with a mortgage or just $427 if the house is paid off.
And it's not the just the cost that the report uses to include Grand Rapids, but its ever-growing art scene which includes Frederik Meijer Gardens and a slew of other museums.
Two words are really able to sum up healthcare in West Michigan: Medical Mile. Located in Grand Rapids, it's a renowned world-class healthcare destination featuring clinical, research and academic institutions. With top-notch hospitals, you're never too far away from some of the best treatment, if you ever need it.
There's a lot to love about West Michigan. Yell with elation as the siren sounds after a goal at a Griffins game. Explore the forestry goodness and trails like White Pine Trail. Feel the sun's warmth as you lay in the soft sand of Lake Michigan's beaches. Give your tastebuds a hoppy experience at one of many breweries.
West Michigan's medley of ubiquitous happiness is bountiful and covers all senses and interests. To love West Michigan is to live in West Michigan.