I spent some time living in Livonia a few years ago. Although there were many things I loved about it, there were definitely some cons I noticed to be quite prevalent to living there. I also got to know many people that lived there and was able to hear their thoughts on what living in Livonia was like.
Some examples of difficulties with living in Livonia are heavy traffic, many potholes and broken up sidewalks, incredibly tiny recycle bins, a lack of city inspections, the winter weather, and less safety because of higher crime.
Livonia is an amazing place with wonderful people and that’s a big reason why I loved living there so much. However, for the intended purpose, we are going to look at the cons that are a part of living in Livonia. Here is some insight into things to consider for those looking to move to Livonia, Michigan.
1: Income and Living Costs
For the 94.6k people living in the city of Livonia, most of which are working-class averaging 45.4 years of age, the median yearly income is $76,819. Those statistics are according to Data USA. The cost of living for Livonia, according to data from best places.net, is roughly 99.2 on a cost of living index. That is decently higher than Michigan’s average of 89.6. Depending on your circumstances and needs, those common living expenses can be a lot for an income of $77,000 a year.
When compared to the rest of Detroit’s suburbs, Livonia happens to be one of the safest of the suburbs. However, it is in the lowest 25% of safest cities in Michigan, and that statistic has been quite consistent. Detroit is an area with a lot of crime, and while Livonia is much safer, that crime does trickle in. There are plenty of safety features such as security systems that can really help with that, but that safety statistic is still something to take into consideration.
The traffic in and right around Livonia is very heavy, especially during the rush hour when people go to and from work. Haggerty is one of the main roads there, and that road, in particular, is known by the locals to be really congested. Typically traffic isn’t to the point where it is stand-still, but when I would drive and bike around Livonia at all times of day, there was almost always at least some degree of traffic.
Also, the freeway right behind Livonia (the I-275) is commonly used by Livonia locals, and it happens to be the busiest freeway in Michigan. It has gotten a lot heavier over recent years too, and it was already very busy to begin with. There are also a lot of businesses and office buildings there too, and that adds a great deal to the business.
4: The Demographics
The city of Livonia is densely populated but still has very little diversity. Referring back to the statistics from Data USA, Livonia has 20.3 times more white people than any other ethnicity. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that it was also known as the “Whitest City in America”.
With how close in proximity Detroit and Livonia are, you will see a lot of diversity from traveling around in nearby areas, and also at Livonia’s local Walmart. Seeing the different cultures that were around was one of my favorite things about the area; however, when looking at the people living in Livonia themself, that diversity just isn’t there.
I have spent much time in various parts of Michigan and Ohio, and something I loved about it was the cute downtowns many of the towns and cities have. In fact, it is very characteristic in places throughout the eastern United States for there to be a fun, cute downtown. Sadly, Livonia is one of the exceptions as there is no downtown Livonia.
Where Covid-19 is such a big part of our world today and is likely to linger to a degree even after the pandemic, it helps to know where the guidelines and standards are at when thinking of moving somewhere. Michigan is pretty high on the list of states with the strictest regulations. I had recently moved from Livonia to the neighboring town of Commerce when Covid happened, and the aftermath in Michigan was extreme.
Initially, the whole country went into quarantine and lockdown, but after some time, states started reopening. But the Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, kept extending the quarantine. What started in the middle of March and was only supposed to go on for around 3 weeks didn’t end until early June. Even then, it had been extended again, but there was an incident with the governor and her husband that changed things.
Her husband asked for a boating company to open for them over Memorial Day weekend even though it was closed to everyone because of the state-wide quarantine mandate. Before that happened, I was already hearing a lot about increasing frustration towards the governor and the quarantine mandate from tons of people in Michigan. The boat incident was the gasoline to that ever-growing fire, and people were furious.
After seeing the reactions of the Michiganders, the governor started to slowly open things. However, even though it has been nearly a year since then, Michigan still happens to be among the strictest of the states with Covid rules and policies. With schools, students can only go every other day, and no activities such as sports and clubs are allowed to take place.
7: Rat Infestation
Back in 2014, there was a lot of construction being done on the I-96. Unexpectedly, this construction disturbed the living space of a large rat population and resulted in a rat infection in many of Livonia’s homes and neighborhoods. According to CBS Detroit, Livonia residents reported many problems such as “chew[ing] through wood, wiring, plasterboard, insulation and even cinder block”.
Not to mention, rats and mice have the potential of carrying more than 35 diseases. Taking care of garbage was also difficult because rats like to live in junk and trash piles. While the problem has since been taken care of, the hope is that such an occurrence won’t be a repeat. There are still worries about the possibility of it happening again though.
8: Main Road Sidewalks
The sidewalks in Livonia are very broken up and uneven, primarily because of roots lying underneath from all of the large trees. I really enjoy walking and biking, so the sidewalks were tough for that. I would be using the entire width of the sidewalk while biking so I would cross the uneven pieces of sidewalk on the spot with the smallest degree of unevenness. The scenery with all the green is fun to bike around and see, but it isn’t very kind on the bike unless it is made specifically to be able to be used in rougher terrain like dirt trails.
9: House Hunting and Buying
According to Paul Wolfert who is a real estate agent in the Metro-Detroit area, it is hard to buy a house in Livonia. Not only that, but it is expensive too. As stated by realtor.com, the housing market statistics go as follows:
- The Median List Price is 239.9k, and that number is consistently increasing.
- There are usually 329 active listings.
- The median number of days a house will be on the market is 38, and that number has a decreasing trend currently.
- The median price per sq. ft. is also on an increasing trend, and currently resides at $174 per sq. ft.
- The median sold price is 247k.
When you compare that to surrounding areas, it is more expensive. For example, Redford’s listing price is over 100k cheaper, and it is $53 cheaper per sq. ft. In Westland, the median price is 75.9k cheaper with listing and $68k cheaper for buying. Plus, you pay $33 less per sq. ft. Those are just a couple of neighboring towns, there are several others to compare with for context if wanted.
10: It’s an Engineer Thing!
The more I got to meet and know people all over Livonia, there was something I noticed to be very common there. General Motors brings a lot of people from throughout the country to live in Michigan, primarily in the Metro-Detroit area. An incredibly high percentage of those who live in Livonia are engineers working for General Motors, or as it is more commonly called there, GM.
There are quite a few of Livonia’s neighboring towns and cities that are closer to General Motors, less expensive to live in, and aren’t as difficult in the house-hunting department. You can avoid the Livonia traffic, and enjoy a quicker and shorter commute to work. Obviously, not everyone who wants to live there will be planning on working for General Motors, but those principles can be applied no matter what the profession and work location may be.
11: Potholes on the Roads
A big thing I noticed while I lived in Livonia was the potholes, they were really bad. I spent a lot of time biking during my time there so I could get some exercise while traveling around, and the potholes made that really difficult. They took a toll on the bike, and also made it more likely for me to be hit by a car.
Also, the potholes did not have a kind disposition to the car I drove. Because of the frequency and even the depth of the potholes, my car was already needing another realignment very quickly. Basically, the streets were always in rough shape, and the budget for that doesn’t have the necessary funding to improve the road conditions.
12: Highest Insurance
Livonia also happens to have high insurance rates as is shown by DAPRAB. Compared to the $775 average homeowners insurance rate in Michigan, Livonia is over the average. That being said, the amount over the average depends on the company. A few of the top insurance companies in Livonia are State Farm which has an average cost of $1403 (much higher than the national average of $1224), Auto-Owners with an average cost of $946, and Automobile Club with an average cost of $897.
The weather in Livonia can get pretty ugly, mostly in the winter. One November when I was there, I got caught doing errands outside while it snowed 11 inches. That was only the beginning of the snow that season. The roads are salted and paved, but the paving isn’t always done very well. Plus, adding the potholes into the equation makes for an even greater risk with driving.
In early January of 2019, we had what is called the polar vortex. When that happened, the temperature dropped to a whopping negative 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I had a friend who was helping with an outdoor event on the University of Michigan campus the day previous, and even though it was warmer at negative 30 degrees Fahreneheit that day, she got frostbite on her face. The winters last long, and during that time the sun shows its face hardly at all. The rest of the year is beautiful and green, but it doesn’t last nearly as long as the winters do.
14: Laurel Park Mall
Laurel Park Mall is quite tiny for a mall. It only has a handful of stores in the mall to shop at, and none of the stores are very big. Also, most of them aren’t common and/or popular places to shop at. I admit I may not be the biggest shopper there is, but I have a pretty good familiarity with places to shop at; even then, I don’t recognize almost any of the stores at the mall. There are people there shopping, but they are not that high in numbers because it isn’t very popular or busy.
Livonia has the tiniest bins I have ever seen for recycling. To be precise, they are 16 gallons in size. Normally, recycle bins are the same size as the outdoor garbage cans are, and that is 64 gallons in size. That means the recycle bins in Livonia are exactly a quarter of the average size. That is incredibly small! You can get a recycle bin that’s the 64 gallon average in size from Livonia, but to do so, you have to pay $75 for it. Any of the recycling that doesn’t fit in the bin won’t be taken with the recycling, even when bagged up nicely and placed with the recycle bin.
Something pretty unique about Livonia is that despite what is commonly the case for cities and towns, they don’t have any required city inspections. I saw several abandoned houses, especially by the Redford border because Redford and Detroit (Detroit is only a couple miles from the Livonia border) are far more run down.
All of these abandoned houses are just sitting there with nothing being done about it. While the neighbors and others will notice that the house is empty, the city is very likely unaware of it because there aren’t city inspections. That and many other reasons support the need for these inspections.
17: The Nays of the Livonia Spree
The Livonia Spree has been a Livonia tradition for decades starting back when Edward McNamara was mayor. According to Livoniaspree.com, when Mayor McNamara was elected in 1970, he decided they “needed to think like a city and socialize like a unified city.” He and his staff organized a city-wide party that was completely run by volunteers. Since then, the Livonia Spree has been a local tradition.
Some locals have expressed difficulty with parking even with the shuttles, many roads are blocked off, and there is known to be horrific traffic. This lasts for nearly a week typically. Also, they have a beer tent in the evening, and events with drinking are followed by a large increase in drunk driving in the area. It’s a fun activity and a favorite of many Livonia locals, but that still comes with some of the cons with the event.
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