It’s never good news when Michigan’s cities fail to garner positive rankings on lists of desirable locations nationwide. It’s even worse when those rankings are lower than the year previous.

But the state under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer seems to be writhing under the steady drumbeat of its decline.

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But that’s where Michigan stands now, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report’s 50 Best Places to Live & Retire.

First, a brief whiff of good news. Ann Arbor earned a 19 ranking, the highest placement of all the Michigan cities measured in the survey. The bad news is its ranking fell five places since last year when it was ranked 14th nationwide. However, the magazine ranked the city 11th nationwide in its Best Places to Retire.

The survey gets worse for Michigan’s already bruised reputation. U.S. News & World Report took into account data from 150 of the U.S.’s most populated metropolitan locations. Metrics such as cost-of-living, happiness, job availability, retiree taxes, and health care quality were considered.

Only Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo made the top-100, with Grand Rapids ranked 45th and Kalamazoo ranked 90th.

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Detroit, Flint, and Lansing fared even worse. Lansing, the state’s capitol, ranked 104th; Flint ranked 146th; and Detroit ranked 149th out of 150. Only San Juan, Puerto Rico, ranked beneath the Motor City.

“The cost of living in Flint is lower than the national average,” according to the survey. “The median home sale price in the area is significantly cheaper than home prices in many other U.S. cities. And when it comes to everyday expenses like groceries and health care, Flint residents generally pay less than the average American.”

U.S. News assessment of Detroit is even more devastating.

“Daily expenses like groceries and utilities cost less here than the national average. However, residents can expect to pay more for home and car insurance than they would in many other cities.”

The magazine continued: “Poverty is a major issue here.”

The rankings are the latest in a long list of reputational setbacks and travails faced by state residents in the Great Lakes State since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took office in 2019.

On Tuesday, for example, The Midwesterner reported that Michigan residents are contending with skyrocketing housing costs, high rates of food insecurity, lagging wages, high child poverty rates, and poor educational outcomes. Those conclusions were published by the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions initiative, which mapped economic challenges across 10 “Prosperity Regions.” According Luke Shaefer, professor of social work and public policy, UMPS employed “multiple metrics to give us a more holistic idea of how Michiganders are doing.”

The study concludes that 39% of Michiganders statewide are experiencing significant economic problems, though those problems vary by region. The 39% includes 13% who live below the federal poverty threshold, as well as nearly 26% above it. Nationally, just 11.5% live below the federal poverty line.