17 Reasons Not to Move to Sterling Heights, Michigan (Voted by the locals!)

Does Sterling Heights, Michigan really live up to its exceptional name? The world sterling may mean outstanding, but many residents say that this city doesn’t live up to the name. No city is all good or all bad, so here are a few reasons to rethink moving to Sterling Heights.

1. Population Density

Sterling Heights has a high population density, which isn’t surprising considering it’s one of the biggest cities in Michigan, with a population of 131,577Opens in a new tab. as of 2022. This high population takes away many of the small-town charms of Michigan. A high population leads to many problems, all of which are really hard to fix.

Higher populations equal less space as everybody tries to crowd in together. It also leads to higher pollution from everybody’s cars, houses, and other life necessities.

There are a few different forms of pollution. There’s light pollution, which is caused by too many man-made lights at night that block out the beautiful stars. There’s also the classic thick smog that can get into people’s lungs, kill plants, and increase the rate of lung-related illnesses. Higher populations can also lead to more crowded businesses, as well as more competitive schools and job markets.

If you move to Sterling Heights, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with all of your neighbors, which you may not be comfortable with. I hope you’re ready to downsize and give up your personal space and get to know your neighbors quite well. Big cities are notorious for making people feel lost and not taking care of their people. Maybe Sterling Heights needs to focus on quality, not quantity.

2. Cold

I’m sure you didn’t hear it here first, but Michigan is freezing! Sterling Heights is no exception to this rule. The cold is brutal, and it’s the kind of cold that gets under your skin and seems to follow you around wherever you go, even when you go inside. The majority of the year, the weather is under 70℉, and it never gets any warmer than the low 80s.

I suppose some people are akin to polar bears and prefer that weather, but nobody can confidently say they like shoveling a foot of snow in full winter gear while sliding around on the ice. The snow never stops falling in Sterling Heights! In February, which is notorious for being the snowiest month of the year, the average snowfall is just shy of 6 inches. That’s nearly half a foot of snow!

Sure, snow is pretty most of the time, but it’s hard to appreciate the beauty of nature when ice is melting into your socks and your hands have gone numb. There’s also the danger of ice on the roads and on your sidewalks, and the literally hanging threat of icicles.

Winter wonderlands are nice for some, but if you’re like me and spend the winter wrapped in blankets dreaming of sun-drenched beaches, Sterling Heights probably isn’t the place for you. I would give this place a wide berth or pack a space heater. And don’t forget to put your car in the garage, as you don’t want the doors freezing shut!

3. High Cost of Living

Sterling Heights has a higher cost of living than you might think! It was actually ranked in the top 20% of the most expensive cities worldwide. That’s more expensive than four-fifths of the cities worldwide! That’s definitely not a number Sterling Heights residents like. Expensive living can make or break a city.

What’s the point of being in a good location or close to great places if you can’t afford anything in them? And since about half of the entertainment offered by Sterling Heights consists of shopping, this city will not be kind to your budget. You’re going to want to start cutting coupons if you move here. That living cost includes expenses like insurance rates, rent, and grocery prices. Wages are also a big factor, and wages in Sterling Heights are just not cutting it. Insurance is also a lot higher than if preferable.

While not every living cost in Sterling Heights is higher than average, the overall cost is killer. Less money means less fun and less free time. It’s just a bad situation to live in overall.

4. Highly Conservative Area

The majority of Sterling Heights residents are conservative in their political beliefs. This may not be a bad thing for all people, but if anyone looking to move to this area is highly opposed to conservative ideas, they might not find many neighbors that they will get along with when talking about politics.

5. Bad Traffic

We’ve covered the population density, but have we even started talking about the traffic? The roads in Sterling Heights are problematic for a few reasons. One, the crowded city leads to crowded roads. That caused more accidents and more traffic, which is something nobody likes. You might want to bring a book in the car in case you get stuck on the road! But it doesn’t end with just traffic. Oh, no, there are other problems with the roads in Sterling Heights.

Between Mother Nature and overcrowding, driving in Sterling Heights, Michigan can be a real nightmare to deal with. Maybe you could try investing in a really nice bicycle if you choose to move there! That would probably be faster than idling in Sterling Heights traffic. Between the traffic and the potholes, I’m starting to think that Sterling Heights just hates cars.

6. No Sunshine

Don’t get me wrong, Sterling Heights is a great city for vampires, trolls, and any other mythical being that fears sunlight. The skies are always overcast in Sterling Heights, if they aren’t raining or snowing, of course. Rain is common in Sterling Heights, and rain comes with its own issues.

It can make driving a pain and fill all of the potholes with mud and water. Have you ever stepped in a pothole full of water? Miserable. The nice thing is that the rainy season starts in late spring and lasts until autumn, so whether rain or snow, there’s always some kind of precipitation coming down in Sterling Heights to make you miserable and your socks wet.

Cloudy skies actually contribute to feelings of depression, which is why seasonal depression occurs when the sun goes away in the winter. So, living in Sterling Heights can literally contribute to depression. It’s just a sad city. Try not to be too depressed if you move here, and bring an umbrella.

7. Lack of Diversity

The population of Sterling Heights, Michigan is predominantly White. There has been a recent influx of people of middle eastern descent moving into the area, but the caucasian citizens still far outnumber all other races. Sterling Heights is not the place to move for anyone who is hoping for diversity.

8. Potholes

Car driving through a pothole with splashes of water, Montreal, Canada.

Potholes are also a big problem in Sterling Heights. The cold and wet weather leads to lots of erosion in the roads, making them pockmarked and broken all around. The water gets in the cracks and holes that already exist in the pavement naturally, then freeze overnight. In the daytime, the water melts again. The constant freezing and melting of the water damages the roads and makes large holes.

The salt spread into ice and the pounding of rain can also erode the streets and sidewalks. The worse the weather in a city is, the worse the potholes. Sterling Heights proves the rule! The roads look like Swiss cheese, but sadly are not edible. Potholes can range from so small you don’t notice they’re there to big enough to swallow the tire of your car.

Potholes are a pain to drive through, and they can damage your car over time. Ice on the roads is another problem. Ice can lead to some serious accidents and just slow down traffic overall. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone gets anywhere in this town, especially in the winter.

9. High Taxes

Doesn’t everybody love paying high taxes? If you do, you’ll love Sterling Heights! I don’t know if this counts as a defense, but taxes do tend to be higher in bigger cities like Sterling Heights. That being said, taxes in Sterling Heights are a huge pain. There’s a state sales tax of 6%Opens in a new tab. in Sterling City. This is higher than any other city in Michigan. So, you might be better off financially literally anywhere else in Michigan.

Luckily, not everything is taxed. Groceries are exempt from the Sterling Heights sales tax, so there is that to fall back on.

10. High Cost of Vehicle Insurance

The average monthly cost of auto insurance in Michigan is $182. The average monthly cost is much higher in Sterling Heights. It tends to be around $220 per month. If anyone is looking for decent auto insurance pricesOpens in a new tab., I would suggest they look elsewhere.

11. Lack of Education

Sterling Heights has a very low percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or above. Only 30%Opens in a new tab. of residents have a higher education. That’s less than one in three people in the entire city! Higher educationOpens in a new tab. isn’t for everyone, but it can make a big difference. Education can be an indicator of progress, organization, and quality of life.

If education is something you care about, for yourself or your kids, you might want to reconsider moving to Sterling Heights.

12. Not a Lot of Stuff to Do

Let’s face it: nobody is vacationing in Sterling Heights! Sterling Heights can offer shopping and outdoor hikes, but nothing special. There’s just nothing that Sterling Heights has that every other city doesn’t have.

In fact, there are plenty of small towns that offer the exact same amount of entertainment and fun that Sterling Heights does. And those small towns don’t have the smog! Nobody reads about Sterling Heights in the news (unless, of course, you live in Sterling Heights, and even then you might not), nobody hears the words “Sterling Heights” and gets excited at the prospect of a Michigan town with too much snow.

While there are some things that you can do in Sterling Heights, there’s just nothing that puts it on the map. Nobody goes to Sterling Heights looking for fun, and for good reason. You can take a nice hike almost anywhere, and every city is going to have shopping. What does Sterling Heights have to make it special? Nothing.

13. Factories

Sterling Heights has a lot of factories on its outskirts. This often leads to poor air quality. If anyone is looking for clear skies and beautiful sunsets, they should move to a different city.

14. Coyotes and Other Wild Animals

Coyotes are similar to wolves, but don’t have the same large, coordinated packs and are a bit smaller. That being said, there have been cases of coyotes attacking dogs and even peopleOpens in a new tab.! These carnivores aren’t prone to picking fights with people, but they do respond to their territory being poached, and cities like Sterling Heights push coyotes out of their comfort zone.

Coyotes aren’t the only wild animals being displaced in Sterling Heights. There are also black bears, which tend to keep to themselves but can be extremely dangerous when people tread on their toes. Sterling Heights is also home to rattlesnakes that can grow up to two feet long! While the death count from rattlesnakes is low thanks to modern medicine and antivenom, rattlesnake bites are still painful, dangerous, and can kill if not treated correctly.

15. Lots of Foreign Cars

A lot of people in Sterling Heights drive foreign-made cars. This may not affect most potential new citizens. However, if any potential new citizens have a strong belief that Americans should only buy American-made cars, they may be disappointed by the car owners in this city.

16. Missing a Sense of Community

Most groups tend to keep together and stick to themselves. Residents are rarely if ever friendly towards strangers. Because of how intent people are on only socializing with the other people in their groups, the city feels fairly divided. It probably doesn’t help that there aren’t many places where people can get out and meet other folks who aren’t just the people they have already decided are the only ones worth their time.

17. Terrible Public Transportation

There’s practically no accessible public transportation in Sterling Heights. The closest city with a good public transportation system would be Detroit. If people don’t have a car or don’t plan to live within walking distance of pretty much everywhere they need to go, Sterling Heights, Michigan is not the place to move to.

Nathan Aydelotte

Hello! I'm Nathan, the lead editor for Suggested by locals. I grew up in the Boise, Idaho area and have lived here most of my life. I enjoy being close to the mountains where I can go hiking, camping, and mountain biking.

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