Ann Arbor offers the fun of a college town, the amenities of an urban city, and the open space of a charming, rural town. We’re sure, whether you’re a graduate of the University of Michigan, Concordia University, Washtenaw Community College or even Eastern Michigan University, you’ve already fallen completely in love with our hometown.
We’re exploring both the fun and the practical reasons you should stay in Ann Arbor after graduation. If you need a little more convincing, keep reading!
1. It really is one of the best places to live.
If you already live here, you know. Ann Arbor is consistently ranked on lists of the country’s best cities to live in, visit and go to school. Some of our favorites include College Ranker’s The 50 Best College Towns to Live in Forever, WalletHub’s Best College Towns & Cities in America, which puts Ann Arbor at number three, and Livability’s 5 Great College Towns to Settle In Post-Graduation.
2. The economic data is promising.
When considering your future, the economic and social data of any given area can tell you a lot about your prospects. Ann Arbor’s estimated unemployment rate for 2018 was 3.3, which is significantly lower than Michigan’s at 4.1. According to data from the American Community Survey, our city’s mean household income is $89,295. Since household income includes all people who occupy a housing unit regardless of relationship, that number includes families with multiple breadwinners, roommates and individuals. Looking only at non-family households, the mean non-family income is $56,115, and per capita income is $39,253. That’s about $8,000 more than the United States per capita income and about $10,000 more than the state of Michigan’s.
3. Entrepreneurs are welcome.
If your career sights are set on starting your own business, Ann Arbor is a great place to do it. For local, real-world examples, look to Domino’s Pizza or hyper-local Zingerman’s Community of Businesses.
And research supports our entrepreneurs, too. On America’s Most Innovative Cities, research conducted by 24/7 Wall St., Ann Arbor lands the sixth spot out of 25 cities. In their write-up, they mention Ann Arbor SPARK, an economic engine that works to incubate and accelerate start-ups and assist entrepreneurs. In another study conducted in 2019 by the Center for American Entrepreneurship, Ann Arbor ranked among the top cities for female founders! You can learn more about that research here.
4. There are a variety of industries.
The list of Ann Arbor’s top employers is heavy with education and health, but that list also includes automotive research and development, software development and technology, government, analytics, manufacturing, food, energy, and even book printing. At the top, you’ll find the University of Michigan, and Ann Arbor Public Schools is high on the list, too. Together, they employ more than 33,000 people.
Other major employers in Ann Arbor include NSF International, Domino’s Pizza Inc., IHA Health Services Corp., Toyota Research Institute, Inc., Washtenaw Community College, Thomson Reuters, Sheridan and Eastern Michigan University.
5. It’s an affordable place to live.
According to the United States Census Bureau, median household income in Ann Arbor is $61,247, which is higher than both Michigan and the United States. Widening the range to the entirety of Washtenaw County, the median household income jumps to $65,618. Interestingly, Ann Arbor’s per capita income is $39,253 and Washtenaw County’s is lower at $37,455 which could be due to Ann Arbor’s higher population of working age individuals; that percentage makes up 71.2% of Ann Arbor’s population.
Looking to housing, the median value of owned homes is $271,600 and median gross rent is $1,166. Measured with the median household and per capita income numbers we discussed, Ann Arbor is one of the country’s more affordable places to live—especially when compared to major urban areas across the country.
6. The fun never stops.
As far as culture and fun goes in Ann Arbor, college students are probably the most in-the-know. We already mentioned our hometown shows up on lists of the best places to live, but it also makes appearances on The 10 Best Cities for Coffee Lovers in America and The 10 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in the Midwest which names downtown Ann Arbor the number one walkable neighborhood.
If you’re staying in town, you can keep events like FestiFools, Sonic Lunch, Ann Arbor Blues Festival, The Ann Arbor Art Fair, Ann Arbor Folk Festival, and Ann Arbor Summer Festival on your itinerary.
7. It’s a great place to raise a family.
If starting a family is on your post-college to-do list, you’ve chosen a great place to call home. Thanks to our beautiful parks system, year-round family-friendly events, strong school districts and educational attractions, Ann Arbor is one of the most kid-friendly and family-friendly cities in the state and in the country. Livability even ranked Ann Arbor on their list, 5 Best Cities for Families in Michigan, and WalletHub ranked us in Best Places to Raise a Family in Michigan.
8. You never have to miss a Michigan game.
We know, this should probably be reason number one. As a college town (and one of the best in the country), our city takes pride in its college sports. When you stay here in Ann Arbor, you can keep attending every tailgate, every basketball game, and every other University of Michigan Athletics event.
9. Arts and culture are alive and well.
We already mentioned several noteworthy events—check out Ann Arbor Blues Festival, The Ann Arbor Art Fair and Ann Arbor Folk Festival—but Ann Arbor is also the home of Shakespeare in the Arb each summer, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Kerrytown Concert House, The Michigan Theater, The State Theater and the Ann Arbor Art Center, a nonprofit exhibition, gallery and retail space. The University Musical Society also hosts hundreds of musical and cultural events each year and brings world-class artists to our community. Through these venues, we get to enjoy local and touring dance performances, art exhibitions, cinema, concerts, huge annual festivals and more. You can’t leave without attending Cinetopia Film Festival, right?
For a little more on Ann Arbor’s art scene, check out The Music Lover’s Guide to Ann Arbor and Your Guide to Ann Arbor’s Independent Bookstores, Mapped.
10. It’s the perfect mix of urban and rural.
We said it before and we’ll say it again: Ann Arbor offers the fun of a college town, the amenities of a city, and the open space of a charming, rural town. It’s the urban center of Washtenaw County, but also offers proximity to the huge Waterloo State Recreation Area and Pinckney Recreation Area near Chelsea and Dexter. These quieter and historic communities—along with others like Milan, Saline and Ypsilanti—are home to some of Michigan’s best hidden gems, from entertainment at The Purple Rose Theatre Company to coffee and beer at Cultivate.
But even within Ann Arbor, our city maintains 159 parks, and graduates will already be familiar with Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. These come alongside fun spots like The Ark, Arbor Brewing Company and Ann Arbor Art Center, as well as huge institutions like the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the brand new University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.
For more ideas on things to do in Ann Arbor, follow along on the Reinhart blog where we get to talk about our favorite local hangouts and restaurants, the region’s most exciting events and more.
Looking for a career?
If you’re interested in a career in real estate, you can learn more about working with Reinhart here. On our career page, we provide resources covering your first steps to starting a real estate career to the specific advantages of joining our team and everything in between.