The New Year's nearly upon us, which will mean resolutions. Lots of them. They usually range from losing weight to eating better to trying to be a nicer person. I've already knocked out one of those past resolutions (the weight loss), but there is one that I would like to knock out this year. That resolution is moving out.
Now many of you back home are wondering, "why would you want to leave?" "Don't you want a family in the Rust Belt?" "What about your family?" Because I am not happy here, no, I do not want my own (at least not yet), and I still love them. Many Michiganders in my generation usually come back home to look for that middle class life and for good reason! The cost of living is low, you can get a home fairly cheap in the midwest and you can get a job while you try to pay off your student loan debt. Besides, you need to establish some roots, right? It's what your elders told you to do. Represent where you're from. However, I'm not particularly interested in buying a home here. My priorities are traveling to new places once I move and taking in new experiences. To me, this is what life should be about. Besides, there is A LOT wrong with Michigan right now.
Now for those of you who moved back, be warned of the various opportunity costs that come with moving back here. For starters, the roads are pretty bad. In fact, they're the "19% of Michigan roads are in good condition" kind of bad. The kicker is that $400 million is being spent on federal aid-eligible roads in southeastern Michigan. Bill Anderson, local government finance and operations specialist at SEMCOG, says that number will have to jump to $1.6 billion a year in order to get 80% of southeastern Michigan roads in good or fair condition in the next 25 years. While having bad roads is a common staple of northern states, especially in a state with brutal winters, this couldn't be more true in Michigan. Your car will be one of the most important expenses in your adult life, barring the fact that you live in a city. It needs constant maintenance and upkeeping in order to make it through the brutal winters and the scary potholes. If a tire goes out or your alignment is messed up, that will cost you a good chunk of money out of your pocket. Speaking of automobiles...
Michigan has the highest car insurance rates for the fifth straight year, according to insure.com. Michigan's average premiums go for $2,239, $874 more than the national average. This is ghastly, especially when you compare it to the average amount in premiums Ohio citizens pay ($944). While that low cost of living does look nice, the car insurance premiums leave a lot less to be desired.
Then there's the Flint Water Crisis, which has yet to be resolved. Detroit public schools also had issues with their water, but they have donors in place to fix the drinking water problem. Then there's Nestle pumping more water out of the Great Lakes with the State of Michigan's approval, despite the public backlash against the ordeal. Then there's the lack of integrity from Michigan's state government, which received an "F" and failed in many areas. In fact, guess where Michigan ranked in transparency and ethics for their government? Dead last! What about obesity? 19th fattest! Now that's Pure Michigan!
Do I want the state of Michigan to succeed in multiple areas? Yes, I do. Is Detroit on the comeback? Yes, it is. Do I think that Michigan will progress with the "Good Ol' Boys Club" running the show? Absolutely not. I want what's best for the state, but if the people don't stop taking in the scenery at the Sleeping Bear Dunes and worry about what's going on in their backyard, then things will only get worse.
These facts about where Michigan's going wrong just scratch the surface. I could go on all day about where Michigan's shortcomings lie. But these aforementioned facts are a big part of why I don't want to move back when I leave. So to my friends and family, I say this. This is how I feel about moving back to Michigan. I don't want to do it and I apologize if this hurts you. I hope that you understand why I want to do this.
My life! Food, sports, school. It's what it is!