Cost of Living

How does Southwest Michigan compare to neighboring major markets?

As one of the most affordable regions in the US, your paycheck goes further in Southwest Michigan. With affordable home prices, safe neighborhoods, and highly-ranked schools, you can have a low cost of living and a high quaility of life. Check out our Cost of Living Matrix to see how Southwest Michigan stacks up!
ChicagoMadisonMilwaukeeIndianapolisFt. WayneClevelandCincinnati
Salary30% further22% further20% further13% further11% further13% further17% further
Groceries16% less13% less12% less11% less10% less15% less13% less
Housing62% less44% less45% less33% less25% less33% less34% less
Utilities7% more9% less8% less6% lessSameSamen/a
Transportation18% lessn/aSameSame6% lessSame13% less
Healthcare11% less21% less15% less10% moreSameSame7% less
Miscellaneous Items14% less15% less11% less8% less7% less7% less14% less

This website’s cost of living matrix was created with data from The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). According to the council, “C2ER produces the Cost of Living Index to provide a useful and reasonably accurate measure of living cost differences among urban areas. Items on which the index is based have been carefully chosen to reflect the different categories of consumer expenditures.”

By the numbers

Kalamazoo is “One of the Best Places to Live in America.”

– US News & World Report, 2022

Southwest Michigan is “One of the World’s Top 50 Places to Travel”

– Travel & Leisure, 2022

Kalamazoo is the #1 most affordable city with a population less than 175,000.

– Business Facilities, 2022

Benton Harbor-Niles region named Top 10 Best Summer Town

– USA Today

Kalamazoo named Coolest City in the US with the lowest cost of living

– PureWow, 2021

Up to 100% of post-secondary tuition paid for Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Public School resident graduates

– The Kalamazoo Promise

Kalamazoo ranked #3 best market for first-time home buyers

–, 2021

Top 3 best places in the US for new college graduates

– SmartAsset, 2023

Kalamazoo ranks #2 among the “Top 12 Cities with Thriving Job Markets."

– LinkedIn, 2020

Western Michigan University was named the Best “Hidden Gem” Public University in the US

– College Gazette, 2019

St. Joseph is one of Michigan’s Most Enchanting Towns That Will Warm Your Soul

– Pure Michigan, 2021