I'm puzzled as to why you say western Michigan is so "sparsely populated". Compared to what? I think you're a little misinformed. Maybe you're thinking of northern Michigan?
Grand Rapids, my home town, is a city of over 200,000 people and home to Spectrum Health and Metro hospital which are HUGE employers. Butterworth Hospital (part of spectrum) has a 10 story hospital with something like 1,200 beds. And that's only their main campus. Holland (on the coast) and Kalamazoo have decent sized hospitals. I work in a nursing home that has over 700 beds, one of the largest nursing homes in the country.
Of course, Id say move to sunny Florida in a heart beat if the wages were