More people moving into Michigan, census shows

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News

More people moved to Michigan than left it in 2017, the first such gain for the state since before 2001.

U.S. Census data released Wednesday showed Michigan’s population increased by 28,866 residents, or 0.3 percent, to 9,962,311, as of July 2017. That makes six straight years of growth for the state and its largest jump since 2001.

The data showed more residents moving in than leaving, with net migration at 10,481 people. That’s the first such gain since prior to 2001, said the state’s demographer Eric Guthrie, who has analyzed the census data.

“It’s extremely positive,” said Kurt Metzger, a demographer and director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit. “This shows Michigan is holding onto more of its residents and attracting others. We are seeing a turnaround. This is the best we’ve done in the last two decades.”

Fewer Michigan residents are moving to other states, with domestic migration dropping nearly 50 percent. That figure, according to the new report, was a loss of 12,698 in 2017, compared with a decline of 26,779 in 2016. That’s the smallest loss since at least 2000, Metzger said.

And it’s far from the loss of 109,257 in 2008 from domestic migration reported at the beginning of the national recession, Metzger said.

International migration to Michigan stayed about the same in 2017, recording a gain of 23,179 residents. Births and deaths in the state remained steady as well, Metzger said.

The population increase in Michigan, however, was lower than the 0.7 percent increase reported nationally. And the state’s 0.3 percent growth ranked it 32nd, tied with Alabama, New Jersey and Ohio.

Michigan’s population peaked at 10,055,315 in 2004, according to census data.

Southern and western states were the largest gainers, including Texas, which gained 399,734 residents, and Florida, which saw an increase of 327,811.

This year’s overall state gain was almost two times that of a year ago. In 2016, the state’s population grew by 15,275 or 0.2 percent, according to estimates.

“I am excited our state’s population has grown for the sixth straight year,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a written statement. “During the 2017 State of the State address, I expressed my desire to grow Michigan’s population to 10 million strong, and while this is a tremendous start, I look forward to attracting even more new Michiganders so we can reach that goal.”

But the gains likely won’t be enough to prevent Michigan from losing a congressional seat after the 2020 census.

Michigan would lose one of its 14 congressional seats after the 2020 census when comparing the growth of other states with Michigan, according to an online apportionment tool from the University of Michigan Population Studies Center.

Michigan lost one seat after the 2000 census; two after 1990 and one after the 1980 census. According to the latest estimates, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas would gain seats, while Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania would lose.

In 2017, Idaho was the nation’s fastest-growing state. It’s population increased 2.2 percent to 1.7 million from 2016 to 2017. Nevada was second with a 2 percent increase, followed by Utah (1.9 percent), Washington (1.7 percent), and Florida and Arizona (1.6 percent).

Eight states lost population, including Illinois, which dropped by 33,703 people or 0.3 percent.

Guthrie predicted Michigan’s population could rise above 10 million in 2020.

“Michigan is still not back to the peak population registered in the last decade, but this continued progress will likely see the state cross the ten million mark again in the not too distant future,” he said in a written statement.