First in a five-part series authored in partnership with Altarum entitled Michigan’s Path to a Prosperous Future: Challenges and Opportunities.
- Michigan’s population growth tracked the nation’s until the 1970s, when Michigan’s growth began to lag. The state has since fallen from 7th to 10th most populous state and has lost six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Projections to 2050 show that Michigan is on a path to continue to grow more slowly than the rest of the country, and to begin to lose population in the 2040s.
- The natural increase in the population (births minus deaths) is currently positive but is projected to turn negative (more deaths than births) by 2040. Domestic migration represents a net loss in population as more people are leaving the state than are moving to Michigan, and this is projected to continue. International immigration has been a net addition to Michigan’s population and is projected to add just over 20,000 people per year in the coming decades, but after 2046 this will not be enough to offset the other losses.
- Michigan’s population is older than average and getting older. By 2050, it is projected that the population of children and young adults will shrink by 6 percent and the working age population will be stagnant (falling over the next decade, then recovering to just above the current level), while the population of people aged 65 and older will grow by 30 percent. The shift to fewer workers per retiree presents challenges for the workforce, customer base, and tax base.
- Michigan’s population is projected to become more racially and ethnically diverse. Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other groups are growing while the non-Hispanic White population is declining. By 2050, 40 percent of the working age population will be people of color.
- Strategies to keep more people in Michigan, especially young people, and to attract more people to the state offer the potential to shift the state’s population and demographic path.