Michigan population growth slowing, on track to lose congressional seat

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News

Michigan's population grew only slightly this year by 2,785 residents to 9,986,857 as of July 2019, according to U.S. Census data released Wednesday.

Michigan's population gains in recent years have been much larger: 10,958 residents in 2018 and 22,543 in 2017, according to the data

The state's increase of just .03% lags the nation's average growth at .5% percent this year. And Michigan's gains are dwarfed by western and southern states such as Arizona and Texas.

The state peaked at 10,055,315 residents in 2004, according to census data.

One factor slowing Michigan's growth is women are having fewer babies. Births in the state are at their lowest levels since 1941, said Kurt Metzger, a demographer and director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit.

State data shows 110,093 births last year, a decrease of 28.1% since 1990's 153,080 births, Metzger said.

Eric Guthrie, the state’s demographer, said in an email that seeing continued growth was positive, "especially considering Michigan was the only state to lose population between 2000 and 2010."

But future growth will depend on bringing more residents to Michigan, he said. 

"Current generations are seeing lower fertility rates, and we have a large generation that will begin to see the effects of mortality, which will limit growth," Guthrie wrote.  

Nationally, international migration continued to decline, falling 15% to 595,348 between 2018 and 2019. That trend is also happening in Michigan; the increase was only 13,146 residents in 2019, a decrease of 37% since 2017. 

That's the lowest number of international immigrants since 2009, Metzger said. 

Michigan still appears on track to lose a congressional seat after the 2020 Census because its growth is outpaced by other states, according to an online apportionment tool from the University of Michigan Population Studies Center.

Michigan lost one seat after the 2000 and 2010 census; two after 1990 and one after the 1980 census. According to the latest estimates, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon would gain one seat, while Texas would gain two. On track to lose a seat are Michigan, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota, Illinois and California.

Ten states lost population: New York, Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Connecticut, Mississippi, Hawaii, New Jersey, Alaska and Vermont.