Sure Glad That Decade is over!

While Michiganians, or Michiganders as our new Governor prefers, knew that the first decade of the 21st Century had been hard on the state, the first 2010 Census results, released on December 21, truly “brought it home.”  With a 2010 population count of 9,883,644, Michigan was the ONLY state to lose population over the decade, dropping 54,800 or 0.6 percent.  The last time the state experienced such loss was in the first half of the 1980s, though population gains in the second half of the decade outstripped the losses.  The past decade reversed this scenario as gains over the first five years were more than wiped out by five straight years of population loss.

In addition to losing population, Michigan lost another Congressional seat for 2012.  This marks the 4th straight decade of representational loss, bringing us down to 14 Congressional seats – the lowest number since 1920.  Between 1920 and 1930 Michigan gained four seats, increasing from 13 to 17.  The state reached its highest count of 19 seats in both 1960 and 1970.

Population change is the result of: Natural Increase, the difference between births and deaths, and Net Migration, the combination of Immigration and Domestic Migration (movement within the 50 states).  With the exception of immigration, Michigan’s numbers went the wrong way on all fronts.  The number of births decreased by 11 percent between 2000 and 2008 (latest year available), while the number of deaths increased by 1.5 percent.  The birth rate of 12.1 live births per 1,000 population was down by 12.3 percent over the decade and placed Michigan in the bottom 10 states.  While this decrease has been driven, in part, by economic uncertainties that have caused couples to postpone parenthood, the more important factor has been the loss of residents in their childbearing years – the younger singles and couples who have both the education and the flexibility to move.  This trend must be reversed because 2011 marks the year that the first baby boomers turn 65, a fact that in an older state like Michigan signals an increasing death rate over the years to come.

While declining levels of natural increase slowed growth, and immigration levels remained fairly consistent, though decreasing in the later years of the decade, Michigan suffered most from domestic outmigration.  Over the course of the first nine years of the decade, Michigan is estimated to have lost 537,471 residents to other parts of the country.  It is these movers that helped to grow states like Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Nevada and Arizona.