Here’s how Michigan’s birth decline could impact the future of our economy

Michigan saw 105,022 births and 117,756 deaths, which is likely to have a significant economic impact

Michigan’s population loss has been costly. As part of the last census, the state lost a congressional seat, and new numbers show the state’s birth rate is below its death rate for the second consecutive year.

In 2021 Michigan saw 105,022 births and 117,756 deaths, which is likely to have a significant economic impact.

In economic terms, Michigan’s future workforce is shrinking; unless something dramatic happens, it will likely continue shrinking for years to come.

Fewer little ones in hospital maternity wards started as a trend back in the 1980s across Michigan, but the disparity is most stark in the past couple of years.

It’s not surprising to Louis Glazer, president of Michigan Future, a non-profit looking to help the state succeed in a knowledge-driven economy.

He told Local 4 this was very bad economic news.

“It’s the kind of report that should send alarm bells off to anybody who cares about the Michigan economy,” said Glazer.

On its face, it means fewer potential employees, and businesses need to grow. The slowing activity is made much worse by what Glazer calls Michigan’s brain drain.

College students graduating with two and four-year degrees decide the Wolverine state isn’t for them and move to states with more attractive cities.

In a Washington Post data study, Glazer points to places like Colorado, Minnesota, and Illinois. Cold-weather states lure more outstate graduates than those graduating from their own universities.

In that ratio of grads who leave versus those who stay, Michigan needs to catch up, losing 14% more of its degreed students than it keeps.

“You can’t have a growing economy if you have more people leaving the labor market than entering, and what these reports say, not only is a today problem, it’s going to be a problem in Michigan for the next couple of decades.”

On the practical level, this means businesses wanting to grow won’t have the hands to do so in Michigan, and that will send them looking in other states instead, either in part or leaving altogether. Not a promising prospect.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.