Feb 6, 2023 - News

Welcome to the mitten — hopefully

Illustration of many "hello my name is" stickers, and one has an upward trending arrow on it.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Michigan is trying to reverse its population decline, but recent trends show it's facing serious headwinds.

Why it matters: We're competing with others trying to lure new residents, an influx of which leads to more jobs and a stronger overall local economy.

What they're saying: Everything from job placement assistance to financial incentives like reimbursing moving expenses should be on the table, experts told the Detroit News.

  • "There isn't any magic bullet that can turn a loser into a gainer," Metro Detroit demographer Kurt Metzger said.

Zoom in: Detroit is losing residents, too. Census figures — which determine the allocation of federal funding and inform research — show a loss of 7,150 residents from 2020 to 2021.

The big picture: While the South is on track to become the nation's population center for the first time in U.S. history, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago and other big cities are seeing more people leaving than moving in.

  • People are heading south for more affordable homes, lower taxes, warmer weather and the new flexibility of remote work.

State of play: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer laid out a population growth strategy during her recent State of the State speech.

  • Her plan focuses on promoting Michigan's inclusivity to attract new residents from states less protective of the LGBTQ+ community and with more restrictive abortion access.
  • Whitmer also wants to reduce the cost of raising a family, the Detroit Free Press reports.

What's next: Whitmer has said she's putting together a group devoted to Michigan's population questions. But it's unclear whether the group has started work yet, accoding to the News.

  • The governor's office did not respond to our inquiry for an update.

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