Median Rents in Michigan, 2014

Apartment by Nicholas Menghini from the Noun Project

data from 2014 American Community Survey, United States Census Bureau

With more humans around, and more humans preferring the city over country life, the current generations' challenge is to find affordable housing within popular and attractive areas to live. Often, this can mean large disparities in rent over small distances. Explore the map of median rents below, which are subdivided into ZCTAs, the U.S. Census equivalent of a ZIP code. While opportunity and community determine where one lives, there might be a large discrepency in neighboring rent that deserves further inquiry.

Key: less expensive more expensive

A few standouts of disparities from the map

Michigan's unique situation

As opposed to other states, where top rents are often seen in the core of urban areas, Michigan's highest rents often occur in suburban centers. This is true of both Detroit and Grand Rapids – Michigan's largest cities. The few exceptions to this include university towns of Ann Arbor and Lansing, though rents seem held to the middle range of the state, perhaps by the low purchasing power of students.

A look at unemployment

In comparison to rents, the map to the right displays unemployment in 2014, ranging from unreported low 3% (dark blue) to near 30% (red). Low rents and low employment do appear to have a correlation. The desolate Upper Peninsula, with spotty employment, has some of the lowest median rents. Detroit, the northeast, and central Michigan also follow this pattern.

Just as with rents, there are equally disparate employment rates among neighbors.