Besides trumpeting the productivity of Michigan’s dairy cows (we’re No. 2, to Colorado), Gov. Rick Snyder used his State of the State address to make a pitch for something surprising:
It’s surprising not because it’s a bad idea – more people can add to the state’s vitality and economic growth – but because the state’s demographic trends are not in the governor’s favor.
In the last five years, Georgia and North Carolina passed Michigan in population. Michigan now ranks 10th and is still recovering from being the only state to lose population from 2000 to 2010. Michigan was among the hardest hit before, during, and after the Great Recession by people leaving for other states.
Gov. Rick Snyder wants the state’s population to exceed 10 million by 2020. But current low-growth rates may make that highly unlikely.
Source: U.S. Census population estimates
Note: Bridge estimated future population based on average annual growth between 2010 and 2016.
No matter, last week Snyder urged the state to plow past the 10 million population mark by 2020 (he’ll finish as governor in January 2019).
The state, according to U.S. Census estimates, now has 9,928,300 folks, about 72,000 short. Oh, so close, right?
Not when you consider Michigan’s anemic growth.
From 2015 to 2016, Michigan’s population increased by 10,585 people, according to U.S. Census estimates. In the last five years, Michigan has added, on average, about 10,400 people. At that rate, it would take the state until 2023 to reach 10 million.
To break the barrier in four years would require some combination of rising birth rates, a sudden increase in longevity (not likely, Michigan ranks 35th in life expectancy with high rates of obesity) and a huge influx of immigrants. That’s a wobbly three-legged stool.
By contrast, eight other states added more than 71,000 people from 2015 to 2016 alone. Michigan, meanwhile, ranks 49th in growth and is the 10th oldest state in the country.
Short of outlawing contraception, improving health care so dramatically that lifespans improve, or opening the door wider to tens of thousands abroad and from across the United States, Michigan may stand a better chance of passing Colorado in milk production by 2020.