DEARBORN, Mich. -

Wayne County's population loss is turning out to be a gain for Oakland and Macomb counties.

New research shows thousands of people continue to move out of Detroit, but they're not leaving the Metro Detroit area.

Xuan Liu is a demographer who says Detroit's population had fallen to 678,000 by this past July. The census shows Wayne County lost 9,424 people last year. However, Liu says compared to prior years the numbers actually are good.

"Compared to 24,000 each year the county lost from 2000 to 2010, it's a pretty significant improvement," he said.

Liu said people are moving to neighboring counties. Experts believe Detroit fixing its finances and making residents feel safe again will attract others.

"We will get the financial situation stabilized in the city. We'll build on that and that should improve the image of the region and the state," Liu said.