Michigan population almost 10M again. These maps and charts explain how.

Michigan gained population in 2018 but not as fast as other parts of state.

Michigan gained more than 19,000 people in 2018, according to Census estimates, continuing a string of gains after population losses during the Great Recession.

Population change: 2010 to 2018

1District of Columbia16.7

Population change: 2017 to 2018


If Michigan could only find a way to clone Lathrup Village (population: 4,126), it'd finally have 10 million people again.

Census estimates released Wednesday show the state with 9,995,915 people, just short of the 10 million folks it last had in 2007 before population declines fueled by the Great Recession sparked a mini exodus.

But since the losses stopped just after 2010, Michigan's population growth has been slow but steady, adding just over 19,000 people in 2018. That's still likely not enough to avoid losing a congressional seat after the 2020 Census, dropping its delegation to 13. In 1980, the state had 19 members of Congress.

Numbers released Wednesday show the six states that gained the most residents (Texas, Florida, California, Arizona, North Carolina and Washington) added more people than currently live in Michigan -- and those gains, combined with slow to no growth elsewhere, will cause another shift of seats that will strip power from the Midwest and Northeast. 

Below is a map and two charts that explain Michigan's population changes.

Michigan, Midwest continue to struggle

Growth in the South and West has continued nearly unabated for a decade. But Michigan and much of the Midwest is still hurting, with Illinois actually losing people for the fifth year in a row, one of nine states to lose population from 2017 to 2018.

Michigan was in that boat not long ago. It was the only state to lose residents from 2000 to 2010. 

As of Wednesday, Michigan remains the 10th largest state, adding 19,500 people, the 22nd most in the country.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Births fall, deaths rise

In Michigan, births are declining and deaths are rising. In many parts of the state, deaths actually outnumber births but overall, there are more births than deaths. Michigan has seen births fall to the lowest level since the mid-1940s. In West Virginia, Maine and Vermont, there were more deaths than births in 2018.


Migration boosts growing states

There's another way to gain population: Migration. The states growing the fastest rely heavily on migration, both attracting people from other states and other countries. For those states that grew by at least 5 percent since 2010, over 60 percent of their gains are attributed to migration.

In Michigan, less than a quarter of the annual gains come from migration and the state is still losing more people to other states than are coming to Michigan. In the 2000s, those losses hovered around 100,000 people a year; an estimated 16,700 more people left the state than came in 2018.


Big states get bigger

California, Texas and Florida continued to gain population along with much of the South and West.

State2018Change since 2010
New York19,542,209142,129
North Carolina10,383,620809,327
New Jersey8,908,520108,896
South Carolina5,084,127448,471
New Mexico2,095,42830,840
West Virginia1,805,832-48,382
New Hampshire1,356,45839,681
Rhode Island1,057,3153,377
South Dakota882,23566,070
North Dakota760,07785,367
District of Columbia702,45597,370

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Reynolds Farley
Thu, 12/20/2018 - 9:12am

Population growth is ordinarily a stimulant for economic growth. And population stagnation of decline is often linked to economic stagnation. It is good that Michigan's population increased a bit but the overall trend is not so good. Birth rates have fallen, As the figure shows, the surplus of births over deaths has greatly decreased over time. The majority of our counties are now places of natural decline - more deaths than births.
I hope the new administration addresses demographic issues. We need to encourage migration from the rest of the US and abroad. As the high tech end of the vehicle industry grows in Detroit and Southeast Michigan, we may see an influx of STEM graduates from
Asia and the Middle East, some with advanced degrees from US institutions.
There will also be an issue of address the high levels of poverty found in some of the most rural and isolated counties, problems that are linked to population stagnation and decline.

Laurence Rosen
Thu, 12/20/2018 - 12:28pm

It is also important to recognize that a portion (perhaps a significant portion) of those leaving Michigan over the past decade have been recent college graduates and others with higher education who are seeking employment elsewhere. During the 40 years I've lived in Michigan this reality has been driving discussion about diversifying Michigan's economy both to attract new residents as well as to provide opportunities for more Michiganders. Unfortunately, efforts at diversification in Michigan have had only limited success. Even during this time of almost full employment, out-migration continues to drain Michigan of some of its most talented and potentially successful residents.

I believe that Prof. Farley is correct in his expectation that technology in the automobile industry will attract more science and technology workers to Michigan in the future. Nonetheless, attracting more people to Michigan through an even broader and more diverse set of opportunities will be needed to diminish and ultimately eliminate the steady movement of residents out of Michigan. Attention to Michigan's demographic issues and their relationship to economic growth beyond manufacturing should be important considerations not only for the new administration in Lansing but also for enlightened education and business leaders as well.

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 9:44am

Is this "story" some kind of joke? Michigan is going to lose ANOTHER congressional seat .. and that "growth?"

Michigan is about to start another eight years of recession/depression. No sane company moves into a state with (D) as gov/A.G. Looking at N.C. and AZ, right now.