Living in Southwest Michigan

Living in Southwest Michigan

We at Kinexus think Southwest Michigan is the place to be, whether it be for work or play. Our region – consisting of Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties – is full of beautiful natural landscapes, fields of grapes and hops, and is in driving distance to some of America’s most popular cities. We have a little bit of everything here in our corner of Michigan. We are located just three hours west of Detroit, under two hours from Chicago and Grand Rapids, and just a mere forty minutes from the Indiana State Line. Several airports, including international airlines, are a quick drive from anywhere in Southwest Michigan, giving you easy access to see the world and put down roots.


Where We Are

Southwest Michigan has a population of around 281,000 people. The area has the welcoming atmosphere of a small town, but is just a quick drive from the big city. Views of Lake Michigan are close by, with our area boasting 55 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and a plethora of inland lakes. A beautiful view is not far, no matter which part of the Tri-County area you settle in. Summers in Michigan are hot, with bountiful fruits and vegetable farms surrounding us, festivals everywhere, and plenty of cold, homegrown craft beer to keep you cool. The winters are cold, but the majestic view of a frozen Lake Michigan covered in white can’t be beat. Life continues all year round here – with just as many activities in summer as in the dark days of winter.


Top Industries

Our top professional industries in Southwest Michigan are manufacturing, health, hospitality and agriculture.


  • Manufacturing is a $2.9 Billion industry in our region and provides more than 18,400 jobs. The average income in this industry in our area is around $85,000 per year.
  • Healthcare is a sector that attracts many outside candidates and is a $6.5 million dollar industry. The average income is over $54,000.
  • Hospitality is a popular industry in our area as we have a very busy tourist season in the summer. It employs over 11,100 folks in our area, with an influx of around 5,000 jobs during the summer months.
  • Agriculture in our area provides our region and others with seasonally fresh vegetables and fruits and contributes $2M to our economy each year.


Affordable Living

Southwest Michigan isn’t just a cool place to live, it’s one of the cheapest of the surrounding areas. The Niles-Benton Harbor area ranks the 2nd most affordable place to live among the 8 surrounding regions that were surveyed. In the United States overall, the region ranks 35th out of 269 surveyed metropolitan areas. This means you can work hard and afford to play hard, too. Despite the uptick in the economy, housing costs in our area have actually decreased slightly and have helped to keep the cost of living stable. To learn more about the cost of living in our area, view our 2017 Cost of Living report here.