Study: Detroit will add 60,000 new residents by 2040

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Detroit is expected to add 60,000 residents by 2040, the first time the city’s population will have shown growth since the 1950s, according a study to be released Thursday.

The forecast in a study by the Urban Institute also lists a predicted rise of senior-headed households for southeast Michigan and the continued challenges of homeownership, particular for African-Americans in the area.

The study, called Southeast Michigan Housing Futures, joins the growing number of reports predicting a stabilization of the region’s population and noting that Detroit will finally end its decades-long loss of residents.

“We’re seeing the point where (the population) is not going to get much lower,” said Mark Treskon, lead author of the study by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Xuan Liu, manager of research and data analysis for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, SEMCOG, said the study builds on recent analyses done by SEMCOG, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the University of Michigan. “It is a reflection of both the improvements we’ve seen in the city and the changing demographic trends,” Liu said.

Treskon said the area’s population base will include a larger percentage of residents over age 65 who are more inclined to stay where they are living. The increase in population will be influenced by the continued arrival of young adults and a small but steady rise of the Latino population.

The stabilization of the city’s and region population will come with major challenges, the study says. Among the challenges:

■ The number of senior-headed households is expected to double between 2010 and 2040 from 413,000 to 828,000; and these households will make up 37 percent of the region’s households in 2040, versus 22 percent in 2010.

■ African-American households in the Detroit region disproportionately suffered from the effects of the housing crisis. African-American homeownership rates dropped from a higher than the national average in 1990 and 2000, only to fall in line with the national average by 2014.

■ Demand for rental housing is expected to grow throughout the region. Though steady demand will continue from younger age groups, aging households will make up the bulk of this net growth as established renter households age. The region, and Michigan more broadly, lacks affordable rental housing for low-income households, so adding new supply and preserving existing rental housing efficiently and equitably will be a challenge.

Kurt Metzger, head of Data Driven Detroit, said he generally agreed with the results in the study. “In the near term, Detroit will see more housing development than the suburbs due to millennial and baby-boomer demand for lofts and apartments — away from single family construction,” Metzger wrote in an email. Metzger, who also is mayor of Pleasant Ridge, cautioned that he had not had much time to read the study.

The study reported that the region’s economy and population is expected to continue to recover from the deep pains experienced between 2000 to 2010.

Overall, the Metro Detroit region is expected to gain approximately 380,000 households by 2040, the study found. All counties are expected to gain population in the 2020s and 2030s, but the location of that growth is expected to shift. Macomb and Oakland counties, the usual growth areas in previous studies, will slow considerably, researchers said.

In 2016, the Detroit’s population slowed to its lowest pace in decades, according U.S. Census data. As of last summer, Detroit’s population was 672,795, a loss of 3,541 residents. The decline was nearly the same as 2015’s loss of 3,573 residents.

Between 2000 to 2010, the city was losing more than 23,700 per year on average, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, based on census data.

The southeast Michigan economy and population took major hits in the first decade of the 2000s. From 2000-10, the region lost 372,242 jobs, its population shrank by 137,375; and inflation-adjusted personal income retreated from a 13.7 percent above the U.S. average in 2000 to 4.8 percent below in 2010

Southeast Michigan’s recovery since 2010 has been steady. “The level of stability that’s returned is going to continue and they will be able to build off that,” Trekson said.

Twitter: @LouisAguilar_DN