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Michigan continues to lose residents, amid Whitmer push to grow population

michigan map
Michigan remains the 10th biggest state by population, but its growth has mostly flatlined in recent years, prompting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to appoint a commission to study ways to lure new residents. (Shutterstock)
  • Michigan lost 9,900 people, net, to other states in 2022
  • That’s an improvement over earlier years, when the net loss was 15,000 people in 2021 and 20,000 in 2019
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has appointed a commission to study population losses to find ways to make the state more attractive

Michigan continued to lose residents to other states in 2022, with a net population loss of 9,900 people, adding urgency to efforts by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others to grow the state’s population.

Despite the loss, the data could be a cause for optimism: The decline is less than 2021, when Michigan, a state of 10 million, had a net loss of 15,000 residents to other states, and 2019, when the net loss was 20,300.


As with other years, Michigan residents are leaving primarily for Florida, Texas and other Sun Belt states, according to Census migration data released in October.


Population is top of mind for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who formed a population commission this year to recommend policy changes to help attract new residents.

Since 1990, Michigan has had the 49th slowest rate of growth in the nation. All but seven of the state’s 83 counties have more deaths than births each year, and the state’s median age of 40.3 years is 16th highest in the nation.

Without migration, the state’s population will fall, experts say.

In 2020, the Census announced that Michigan had gained nearly 200,000 people from 2010 to 2020. 

But from then until the end of 2022, the state lost 43,000 people. The next update on the state’s population will come in December when the Census releases the 2023 estimates.

The latest Census data shows Michigan and all other Great Lakes states have attracted the fewest new residents from other states.

Only California, Louisiana and New Jersey are comparable.


Michigan remains the 10th biggest state nationwide by population, but it’s rapidly lost ground to Southern states.

In 2022, Florida was the top destination, attracting nearly 24,000 people from Michigan. The good news is 17,500 Floridians moved to Michigan, resulting in a net loss of 6,224 residents in 2022.

That is just under half the size of the losses to Florida in 2021 and 2019.

Texas had a net gain of 5,100 Michigan residents, making it the second-biggest destination.  Arizona was No. 3 with a net gain of nearly 3,700 Michigan residents.

Indiana, which had lost residents to Michigan in 2019 and 2021, reversed course in 2022, with a net gain of 3,500 people from Michigan.

Since 1970, Indiana has grown 30 percent compared to Michigan’s 13.5 percent.


Losses to Ohio, meanwhile, continue but are declining: The state had a net gain of just under 2,000 former Michiganders in 2022, down from 3,300 in 2021. 

Nationally, California had the biggest migration net loss in 2022, losing nearly 342,000 people, followed by New York (-244,000) and Illinois (-115,000). 

The Census recently estimated the nation’s population will continue to rise until 2080, topping out at 370 million (it is at 335 million now) and begin contracting in 2100.

Nationwide, 8.2 million people moved to other states in 2022, up from 7.4 million in 2019.

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