What is Michigan’s Best and Worst-Run City?
There's a certain duality to the state of Michigan. Some aspects have fantastic reputations while others, well, not so much. Ironically, a lot of those places are in Southeast Michigan.
When it comes to a recent study from WalletHub, four Michigan cities made a list of 149 in the country for the best and worst-run cities in the United States. Just in time for the American pride of Independence Day, huh?
Nonetheless, ranking toward the bottom of a list of 149 at a micro-scale would make it seem like these are poorly run cities. But take a step back and realize just how many cities there are and that making it onto this list actually means the cities are rather well run comparatively.
Still, comparing very large cities like Detroit to similarly sized cities tells a different story. Detroit did beat out New York City, San Francisco and Cleveland though.
The four cities on the list from Michigan are Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Warren.
Detroit ranked the lowest among the Mitten cities, landing at 140 overall. The primary variables to the overall ranking were total budget per capita and quality of city services. The average between those determined the overall order. Detroit ranked last among all cities in quality of city services but 67th in budget.
The city services score was calculated by the cities' financial stability, education, health, safety, economy and infrastructure and pollution. Detroit ranked no higher than 127th in any of these categories.
Detroit also ranked last, tied at 140, for violent crime rate metrics according to WalletHub. That was a whopping 29 times the difference to the top city in the metric, Warwick, Rhode Island.
Comparatively, Warren, which shares a border with Detroit, was the second-highest-ranking Michigan city, landing at number 32 on the overall list with a services score of 73, but a budget ranking of 26, the highest among Michigan cities.
Warren cracked the top 10 in safety, the highest ranking in any subcategory for any Michigan city. However, the rest of Warren's other subcategories were a bit more sparse, as infrastructure and pollution landed at 51 for its next highest ranking and a 123 ranking for the economy was the lowest.
But those are the two middle cities, which are the best and worse of the Mitten?
The worst is Flint. Flint landed at 145 on the overall ranking, having a 144 ranking for services and a 133 ranking for budget. The only city with a similar population and build that ranked lower was Chatanooga, Tennessee. The other three cities were the large cities mentioned above.
Flint did land at 17 for financial stability and 57 for infrastructure and pollution but ranked no higher than 124 in any other subcategory. Flint was also last in unemployment rate and percentage of population in poverty metrics according to WalletHub, both of which were seven times the difference to the highest ranking city in each category.
The honor of the best-run city in Michigan goes to Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids landed at number 28 on the list, just edging out Warren for the title in Michigan. Grand Rapids had a ranking of 24 for its services and a 40 for its budget.
Grand Rapids' economy ranking was 75, though every other subcategory ranked higher than 61, with infrastructure and pollution just missing the nation's top 10 at number 12.
There are some Michigan cities that I'm somewhat surprised to see not make the rankings at all, namely Ann Arbor, Lansing and a longshot for Kalamazoo. It would have been interesting to see how they would have stacked up against these other Michigan cities and the rest of the country.
Nonetheless, this was WalletHub's study. If you want to see the full rankings, click here. Trust me, you won't guess the number one best-run city in the country before you head over there.