Michigan Turns the Corner as Population Increases for the First Time Since 2005

The Census Bureau released State population estimates for 2012 (July 1, 2012) and Michigan is shown as gaining population between 2011 and 2012 – up 6,559 persons or 0.1 percent. While this pales when compared to Texas’s gain of 427,400 residents (#1 in number gained) or North Dakota’s 2.17 percent increase (#1 in percentage gain), it does mark the first time that Michigan has experienced a year-to-year increase in population since 2004-2005.

The largest contributor to turning our fortunes around is the decreasing number of residents who chose to leave Michigan for other parts of the country – termed domestic migration. This number fell by almost 9,000 between the 2010-11 period and 2011-12, from 42,423 to 32,982. To put this in some perspective, we can look back at 2007-2008 when it is estimated that our net domestic migration loss was more than 109,000 residents. The other component of migration is international (or immigration) for which Michigan is given a slight increase over 2010-11 (17,000 vs. 16,225, respectively). [1]

The other component of population change is that of natural increase, or births minus deaths. Today’s estimates incorporate a birth total that is 3,000 lower than the previous year [2] with a death total that is about 250 lower. The result is a decrease in the contribution that natural increase is playing in the overall population picture – a decrease that has been occurring yearly since 1990.

The only cloud in an otherwise sunny outcome is the fact that the state of Georgia added 107,485 residents over the year, bypassing Michigan in total population and dropping our ranking to #9. This represents the first time that Michigan’s rank has changed since 1979, when Florida passed Michigan to make us #8. Since that time, Michigan has gained 600,000 residents while Florida has gained 10 million!

[1] Please refer to the recent post on immigration. Numbers provided by the Department of Homeland Security reported over 18,000 new immigrants took up residence in Michigan in 2011.

[2] A recent post reported on the latest birth numbers reported by the CDC. An overall drop in national numbers was attributed to the recession and Michigan was shown to have continued a decreasing trend in 2011 that began back in 1990.