OT Michigan: Only state to lose population in 2010 Census

Submitted by wildbackdunesman on March 23rd, 2011 at 6:10 AM



Michigan was the only state to have a smaller population in 2010 than in 2000.  Additionally, the Census shows that Detroit lost 25% of its population.  We are shure to lose a seat in the House of Representatives.


However, some counties grew.  My Ottawa County in West Michigan grew by 14%.


It seems as if a lot of the best minds leave the state.  The smartest kids that I knew while in High School and at the University of Michigan are all out of state and I can't blame them, but it would be nice to have more jobs to keep some of them here.

I wonder if this will influence the University if it continues to be a long term problem.


U Fer M

March 23rd, 2011 at 6:55 AM ^

I couldn't believe the last statement the councilman made, needing to count the prison population because chances are, they will return to Detroit after they've done their time....sweet. That will attract the people from the 'burbs....


March 23rd, 2011 at 7:16 AM ^

Am I the only one that sees this as maybe a good thing. Population growth isn't always beneficial. There are many people who think that Detroit needs to shrink first and establish a better fundamental infrastructure so that any growth is healthy growth and not just for it's own sake. Anyways, I don't know jackshit about this stuff but that seems to make sense.

oriental andrew

March 23rd, 2011 at 9:33 AM ^

The main issue from a political perspective is that population decline as indicated by the census will result in significantly less federal funding.  This will make reorganizational efforts more difficult.  This is also why the Detroit governor is speaking out about how urban areas are traditionally under-counted and that they're trying to show that the population is higher than indicated by the census.  A lot of that has to do with generations-long mistrust of the government entities by African Americans, particularly those in urban settings.  It's a known and valid issue.  Now, whether they'll be able to show that they do have significantly more people in the city is yet to be determined, of course.  


March 23rd, 2011 at 7:57 AM ^

The population decline has made it a lot more difficult to win a national championship in basketball by instate recruiting alone.  This, as well as the University of Michigan's resurrection, is a major part of the shift in the balance of power in basketball.  A team can't reach the Final Four almost every year by "locking up" Detroit and Flint anymore.


March 23rd, 2011 at 9:56 AM ^

At what point in history did a coach reach the Final Four by locking up Detroit/Flint?

Excepting, possibly, a single block of four players (Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson, Charlie Bell, and Jason Richardson), a single UMich/MSU coach has never fully locked up either area.  Addressing that one possible exception, Izzo has recruited other Midwestern states, too (A.J. Granger, Zach Randolph, Alan Anderson, Shannon Brown, et al.).

During Izzo's run UMich has had the services of highly ranked in-state players such as Lavell Blanchard, Dion Harris, Lester Abram, Manny Harris, and DeShawn Sims.  I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Izzo may have recruited some of them.

Michigan's runs from long ago involved players from other states, too (Rumeal, Sean Higgins, Juwan Howard, and the Texans).

No "locking up" ever took place.


March 23rd, 2011 at 4:04 PM ^

which is a decent suburb of Flint. It's been for sale for over 5 years with no offers. UM made me smart enough to flee the state. Actually UMs alumni have always have far more mobility due to its reputation and quality education than other Staate schools (intentional mispelling,see pics of MSU graffiti after the MSU FB game on this site ). The rest of the in state schools are more or less stuck where prospective employers have heard of their alma maters. Not us.


March 23rd, 2011 at 8:25 AM ^

Census numbers are extremely skewed.  Grand Rapids "lost" numbers as well, however suburb areas (Rockford, Caledonia, Kentwood, among others) dramatically increased in the last ten years outside of the metro areas.  I'm sure a lot of the same can be said (assuming here) with suburbs around the metro Detroit area.


March 23rd, 2011 at 9:07 AM ^

Check the Detroit News this morning, most of the surrounding counties also lost population or held level.

My visa for Korea came through last week, so drop another two off the state population. Michigan has great camping, great outdoors recreation but it just doesn't have any kind of good urban area with a nightlife.  This state is perfect if you're 30 and have the money to own a cabin and a boat.  When you're 20 something and all you want is a nightlife it's subpar.   


March 23rd, 2011 at 10:25 AM ^

But it looks like while Wayne lost a ton and Oakland held steady, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw had relatively strong growth. Still a problem, when the anchor of the metro area has continuing, severe urban blight. But not as dire as the entire metro area suffering a "braind rain."

I've got faith in the turnaround plan. I hope to work and live in SE Michigan in the future.


March 23rd, 2011 at 1:51 PM ^

Census numbers are extremely skewed.  Grand Rapids "lost" numbers as well, however suburb areas (Rockford, Caledonia, Kentwood, among others) dramatically increased in the last ten years outside of the metro areas. 

And what exactly is skewed about that?  Rockford, Caledonia, Kentwood et al. are separate municipalities.  Their growth does not mean that Grand Rapids's tax base did not shrink.  

señor chang

March 23rd, 2011 at 8:57 AM ^

If Karlos Marks was elected for MSA president the University would make enough yogurt shops that could satisfy the brightest minds, keeping them in-state.


March 23rd, 2011 at 9:21 AM ^

I'm from Ottawa county,

went to michigan and def left the state and now reside in corpus christi, tx. I'm originally from zeeland, what about you?


March 23rd, 2011 at 9:24 AM ^

I would definitely try to come back to Michigan if there were high-tech/aerospace/defense jobs available. 

Looking from the outside in, there isn't much being done to plug the "brain drain".  I would absolutely love to come back, but there are too few openings to consider.  Michigan also has one of the highest unemployment rates, so if you lose your job, you're forced to leave the state again.


March 23rd, 2011 at 10:07 AM ^

I recruit engineers but mostly automotive -- some aerospace.  I am based here in Grand Rapids and I will say that 2011 is entirely different than 2009 and 2010.  The job market is extremely strong right now here in Grand Rapids and in 2009/2010, the job boards would be full of very good candidates where as now, it's defintitely tougher to find strong talent (not that there are all bad ones on job boards).  I placed 6 engineers just last month -- 4 in GR, 1 in Muskegon and 1 in Howell.  

Bottom line, don't automatically assume things are poor based on what you're hearing in the news.  Keep your eyes and ears open -- things are turning around.


March 23rd, 2011 at 10:46 AM ^

There are these jobs in Michigan.  I'm not sure how many people the auto industry alone employs in the area, but there are quite a few.  I'm not just talking the Big Three either, in Ann Arbor there are two Toyota Tech Centers, the Subaru Tech Center, I think there is still a Mazda Tech Center.  There are also the major suppliers to the Auto Industry.  I heard on the radio that a company in Grand Rapids won the contract to the automation for the new Air Force tanker.  There are also lots of companies coming there because of the "green energy" phase.  Around Ann Arbor are various other little shops that are doing a bunch of things.  I think one of the best things the last Governor did was to try to move Michigan away from being a blue collar state to a white collar state.

My biggest complaint with Michigan is the weather.

BTW, Washtenaw County grew as well.


March 23rd, 2011 at 9:35 AM ^

It seems as if a lot of the best minds leave the state.  The smartest kids that I knew while in High School and at the University of Michigan are all out of state and I can't blame them, but it would be nice to have more jobs to keep some of them here.

I wonder if this will influence the University if it continues to be a long term problem. 


I think you are very wrong in your assumption.  First, the best of the best, top of the top kids have always gone out of state for decades.  This is not new or unique.  This is typical in every state but the ones with world-class cities (NY, CA, MA, etc.).  There is always a lot of attrition of the cream of the crop from every midwestern state.


I think the vast majority of people leaving Michigan are unemployed laborers/manufacturers (Michigan had more of those than any other state) and some "middle of the road" college grads.  These numebrs are not going to be hugely affected by the 20,000 smartest kids that ususally left the state anyway.  There are WAY MORE unskilled or partially skilled people in Michigan.  Those people flock to a state where they think getting a job is going to be easier.  I know many more people who didn't do well enough in school to get a job in the tight Michigan market, and then went to Phoenix, Vegas, etc. in the hope of finding some work....any work.  They would have stayed if they had a better resume and found a job here. 

Moreover, I am a little older and a lot of the people I know who left to other states have tried to come back to start a familiy.  It is very typical to live in NYC, Chicago, Boston for 5 - 10 years until you want to "settle down."  Those with good qualifications can make it back, while others can't......regardless, a lot try it.

So, aside from the typical "brian drain" at the very top that seems to effect all but a handful of US states, Michigan is mainly just losing people that were couldn't find good low to middle class jobs.


March 23rd, 2011 at 9:55 AM ^

This is an old statistic (2008ish), but I imagine it's gone up: 46% of in-state students leave the state after graduating. Combine that with almost all of the out-of-state students and you're left with relatively few kids from every graduating class at the state's best university staying here. Never mind the other kids that go to Chicago.

Your argument about people "coming back home" is interesting. Not sure if it holds true or not but the narrative sounds plausible.

Also, LOL at not being able to get a job in the "tight" Michigan Market. If you can't get an entry-level job out of school here, there's something wrong. Competition is.... not so steep. I mean in numbers it is but there's a reason this state is economically depressed.


March 23rd, 2011 at 10:30 AM ^

Competition is.... not so steep. I mean in numbers it is but there's a reason this state is economically depressed. 


My reading comprehension is not so good, so you will have to explain this to me.  Competition is the number of people you go up against.  There is a lot of competition for jobs in Michigan.  The candidates include a lot of people who did very well in school and people who moved away and want to come back (and are well qualified). So, why do you say "competition is not so steep?"  And then what does that have to do with an economic depression? 



Also, the number of graduates that leave Michigan colleges after graduation is similar to all "rust belt" states.  It is probably higher at better schools like UM, but it has always been that way.  (According to the previous census Michigan was behind Illinois and Minn - barely any drain or gain of college grads, but ahead of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, etc...)  Thiose other midwestern states have the same problem as Michigan.


Of course, a long term view would tell you that the problem is likely temporary.  A lot of the best jobs in the 1940s and 50s were high paying factory jobs and states like New Hampshire, Mass, Georgia, Florida, NC, etc. were losing those workers to Michigan, Ohio, etc.  Now that we are transitioning out of a manufacturing society into an information-based society, the Rust Belt has to under go a transition.  This is it.  Although there is a lot of work to do, there are countless examples of transitions:


Boston and Philly from primarily manufacturing to financial services/mixed economies.

The south, from farming/rural to having Atlanta, Florida cities with multi-national companies.

Chicago from "hog butcher to the world" to financial services/major city.

Las vegas from "desert" to "sin city"

Phoenix from arid outpost to bustling city.

And somewhat.... Columbus, Ohio from small mid-western college town to retail and banking center in the midwest.


Cities and areas can, and do, change.


Ann Arbor is clearly on the right path and UM is a big part of it.  Detroit has less people to oppose its path.  I think that losing a lot of low paying manufacturing jobs (to the south and overseas) and the people who defended those jobs tooth and nail paves a way for Michigan to get out in front again.  It is painful on some families, but what Michigan needs long term. 




March 23rd, 2011 at 10:51 AM ^

I was laid off 1 year after graduating from Michigan in the auto industry. Wouldn't say having a Michigan engineering degree was "middle of the road", nor was I a laborer. You better believe I left the state for another job (aerospace/SoCal). Whenever recruiters call for automotive jobs, I don't even entertain the calls.

This is not uncommon, as my friend (MSU grad) who worked his ass off for IBM for 1.5 years after graduation got laid off as well. He left the state, too (North Carolina).

If you think a lot of the in state talent isn't leaving, you're sorely mistaken.


March 23rd, 2011 at 11:01 AM ^

The vast majority of people who leave are "middle of the road" and laborers.  That is who was affected the most by the downturn and that is who we had in abundance in Michigan (more than most states because of our huge mfg base).


Your anecdote about you and your friend leaving (and you seem to have a bias towards one industry that is hiring right now) is meaningless.  I did not cite the fact that my wife and I both left very good jobs in Chicago to move to Michigan.  Another couple we know did the same move around the same time.  Another attorney I know moved the year before (2007).  Two other people I know jsut moved to Michigan from the northest last month.  I know a couple other people who are trying to come back (if they can sell their house in another state).  All are highly educated, accomplished professionals or have advanced degress.  Surely I can add up all these people and outweigh your ancedotal evidence about two people.....and then come to the conclusion that Michigan is a hotbed for professionals.  But, unlike you, I am trying to look at what is really happening.


March 23rd, 2011 at 9:56 AM ^

A) I left to serve my country. I plan on being back.

B) The depressing census numbers are an indication of ten years of trouble - and the low point was June 1, 2009. Since then Michigan has started a slow but steady climb back up. These numbers don't reflect the incredible efforts to change, innovate and rebuild - and the promising early returns - of the last two years. This census is a reflection of what we already knew - Michigan WAS on an unsustainable path. They are NOT a reflection of the turnaround efforts that have just begun.


March 23rd, 2011 at 10:16 AM ^

I think the NY Times mentioned in their article on this issue that Detroit is the only American city to go over a million residents and then fall back beneath that benchmark. Which is astonishing/sad/etc...


March 23rd, 2011 at 10:55 AM ^

The drop under the million population mark is significant, but not that surprising. The sudden rise in population was spurred on by World War II and the post-war boom in the auto industry which lasted through the 1960's and probably peaked around 1973-1974 (time of the first oil crunch af the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and the oil embargo by OPEC).  That was a long time ago.

Realistically it is unlikely that we'll see a return to that level of industrial activity in the Detroit area in the next 50 years. New techniques, new industries and new business models all make that unlikely. The vast majority of cars are now manufactureed outside of Michigan. Once people took a bus or train to Michigan and bought a new car there and drove home. Once raw iron ore and materials went into the River Rouge plant and complete cars came out the other end. We now have plants scattered throughout the country, outsourcing, just-in-time manufacturing and warehousing, and greater competition. Pittsburgh is probably a good example of a city which has moved on to its next chapter. Once dominated by steel, it has refashioned it self as a health, banking and commerce hub. Maybe the Aerotropolis idea may work. It would bring Detroit back to its original roots - that of a trading and custom post between Canada and the USA.

In the larger historical context, this decline isn't that different than what was seen around the world. Cities all have flourished at one or another when trade was active. The ones which have survived and endured have had more than one "thing" keeping it going.


March 23rd, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

A decline in industrial activity is not why people moved from Detroit to the suburbs.  The entire  metro area's population continued to grow for a long time, although it's leveled off in the past 15 years.  People left Detroit because 1) it was easy to do so, with the development of interstate highways and 2) because the city stopped being a very liveable place.


March 23rd, 2011 at 11:55 AM ^

Lot of great things about this place - but they definitely paper over/flat out ignore some very real structural problems that need to be dealt with - and the political atmosphere is such that mentioning those issues in Austin gets folks blackballed if they aren't representing Austin or Houston. And I'm legitimately worried that the water may run out here.

Texas has three huge advantages - relatively cheap labor, a friendly corporate environment (lax regulation and cheap labor), and two relatively recession proof industries as their largest employers: the federal government and oil. When oil prices are high, Texas booms. When prices are low, certain communities hurt, but prices haven't been that low for the past decade - coinciding with their boom.

However Texas also has the highest rate of uninsured workers and some of the highest poverty rates in the country - which are a cause of and a result of the cheap labor. Additionally, Texas has one of the worst graduation rates from HS and college in the country - this forces/allows them to import a great number of talented workers from other states (like Michigan), which improves their tax base but drives up income disparity. It's a great system for the short term, but is unsustainable in the long term.

Additionally, their lax regulations lead to some crazy corporate scandals every now and then - Texas was the heart of the S&L crisis, the home of Enron, and Dallas-Fort Worth had foreclosure rates approaching Metro Detroit when the housing bubble burst.

Not to say that Texas isn't a great place to live - it is. But there are severe concerns that folks both here and around the country ignore. Finally, there have been drought conditions for 8 of the past 11 years across West Texas - which is exacerbated when the major metro areas in the east use the water in the west.


March 23rd, 2011 at 12:42 PM ^

That was a good breakdown of what things are like in Texas.  I don't know much about that part of the country but I did read in National Geographic that the entire Southwest is in a tough predicament with the water supply.  They are using up the Colorado River.  The article predicted that they are gonna come knocking on the doors of the Great Lakes states soon for some of their fresh water.


March 23rd, 2011 at 1:03 PM ^

This Michigan resident remembers the obnoxious bumper stickers from Texas in the 70's about oil....As a result, he will probably get a bumper sticker that says, "thirsty?  Drink your oil".

I think the worst thing about the population decline around the Midwest is that there will be more pressure to divert some of that water from the Great Lakes to idiots that thought it would be a good idea to live in a desert.  And then when they get there, they decide that they want the nice greenery from home....well, you folks live a desert.  If you want greenery then move somewhere that already has it.  A good thing that might come about is that Presidential candidates will spend less time here.


March 23rd, 2011 at 2:17 PM ^

The big issue, in terms of water usage, is not so much grassy lawns and such as agriculture.  Agriculture uses far more water per square foot than residences/businesses do.  We simply should not grow crops in Arizona, Nevada, and some parts of California.  If we'd stop, we'd be fine.  


March 23rd, 2011 at 12:16 PM ^

Here's one educated, skilled worker that stayed in the state after getting his MBA, and is actually psychotic enough to buy a place in Midtown Detroit this year.

Yes, I've been called an idiot more times than I can count.  Fair enough.


March 23rd, 2011 at 12:25 PM ^



I don't know where in Texas you supposedly live, but I think you need to leave.  Almost everything you say about Texas above is just simply factually incorrect.  I was born and raised in Texas, went to UM for both undergraduate and law school, and now have come home. 

Foreclosures were lower in Texas than all but 3 other states.  High School graduation rates are higher than all but 4 other states.  The average earning for a resident in Texas is higher than all be 8 other states and the highest of the largest states in the US.

The reason for the strength of Texas is actually very simply.  Texas is a pro business state.  Very low regulations, no state income tax and most importantly, NO UNIONS.  I know that those of you who grew up in Michigan don't want to hear that but the facts are the facts.

States that have been heavily unionized are dying a slow (now faster) death.  Unions had their place 40 years ago to protect their workers from unfair conditions, but that is no longer the case.  With improvments in many areas, most importantly in available information via media and the internet, an employer cannot abuse their employees for very long without being found out.

So please pack up your uhaul and go find a job elsewhere.  For those who are looking for a great place to live and work, please come visit.  We have plenty of jobs and oppurtunities for those who are willing to work for it.  But if you are looking for a handout or for some group to help protect your job for you, Texas is not the best place.

Go Blue!