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Much of state still losing population

As the nation continues to recover from the Great Recession, the population in Michigan has remained largely stagnant. Some areas of West Michigan and suburban Detroit continue to add people but much of the rest of the state -- rural, economically challenged -- is experiencing long-term population losses. Click on your community to see how it did or use the search box in the upper left.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau released population estimates for cities, townships and villages Thursday and they show that, despite high hopes for a rebound, Detroit continued to lose population last year.

The release of population estimates puts another dent in Mayor Mike Duggan’s call that his tenure be judged on whether the city’s population grew.

Five takeaways

Detroit’s losses slow but continuing

The rate of loss slowed but the city, the state’s largest, lost an estimated 3,500 people from 2015 to 2016 and has 38,300 (5.4 percent) fewer people than it did in 2010.

It’s the biggest loss in the state. Other big cities, including Flint (4,800 people, 4.7 percent) and Dearborn (3,400 people, 3.7 percent) saw marked declines.

West Michigan grows –  again

Of the 10 fastest growing communities (over 5,000 in population), six were in Ottawa and Kent counties, led by Allendale Township in Ottawa County.

It added more than 4,800 people, a 22 percent gain from 2010. Nearby townships grew as well. Grand Rapids, the state’s second largest city, continued to add population (8,300 people, 4.4 percent) from 2010.

The region’s economy has been booming, outpacing the rest of the state and among the best in the country.

Suburbs still attractive

Growth wasn’t limited to the sunset side of the state. The biggest population gains occurred in southwest Oakland County, where Lyon Township grew by nearly a third (30.5 percent) since 2010, adding more than 4,400 people. Oakland Township in north central Oakland County also saw double-digit growth (12.4 percent) over that period.

In suburban Kalamazoo, Texas Township grew 13 percent, adding more than 1,900 people.

But the biggest suburban gainer was Macomb Township in central Macomb County. Since 2010, it’s added more than 8,100 people and is now the 12th largest municipality in the state. In 2010 its was 15th, behind Troy, Westland and Farmington Hills. Macomb is now larger than all those communities.

Go Blue?

Ann Arbor, like Grand Rapids, remains one of the state’s two bigger cities seeing substantial growth. It’s added more than 6,600 residents since 2010, for a 5.8 percent growth rate. No community in the state added more residents from 2015 to 2016, when Ann Arbor added just over 2,000 people to the Washtenaw County community where real estate prices are soaring.

Northern woes

Much of northern Michigan, with the exception of Marquette County, is losing population.

Much of Ontonagon County in the Upper Peninsula is enduring drops of 10 percent or more and much of the region north of Clare is losing population. Somewhat immune from the declines are those areas west of Interstate 75.

But in much of the rest of the region, running along the Lake Huron coast in the the U.P., the population is declining and aging as it battle economic headwinds that continue to hurt.

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