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Why is Northern Michigan seeing a decrease in population?

SA, Michigan, Lake Huron, Mackinac Island, View Of Village. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

New numbers from the US Census this week shows Northern Michigan on the negative end of population growth.

A majority of the Upper Peninsula and much of the Upper Lower Peninsula saw a decrease in population from 2015-2016.

Here's some analysis from Eric Guthrie, Michigan's state demographer:

An area’s natural population change is defined as the difference between the births and deaths that occur over the period. If the difference between these two numbers in an area is positive the area’s population would naturally increase over time absent the effects of migration. 

ALSO SEE: New Census data shows fastest, slowest growing areas in Michigan

If the difference is negative then the area’s population would naturally decline.

Areas that have seen natural population reductions over the year are largely in the northeastern Lower Peninsula and in the Upper Peninsula. These areas may continue to see such declines as they cope with the effects of natural population loss, out-migration and increasing median age.

These shifts are foreseeable and recognizing these trends will provide opportunity for the planning that will be necessary to address an aging population.

The Ann Arbor Metropolitan Area recorded the state’s largest percent population increase from 2015 to 2016 at just over one percent. The state’s second smallest metro area, the Bay City MSA, had the state’s largest single-year, percent decrease with a 0.8 percent reduction in population.

The state’s fourth and eighth largest metro areas, the Flint and Saginaw MSAs, registered similar percent population losses between 2010 and 2016, at 3.9 and 3.8 percent decreases, respectively.


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