From Booth News Service/Ann Arbor Naws
WASHINGTON -- Half of Michigan's counties lost population between 2005 and 2006, leading to a decline of about 5,200 people statewide, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today.
The loss is due in part to Michigan's troubled economy, population experts say: More Michigan residents went looking for new jobs in other states than came looking for work in Michigan.
"It's a rough patch, there's no question about it," said William Frey, a demographer and professor at the University of Michigan Population Studies Center. "The biggest impact is that you're not attracting new migrants to Michigan. The cumulative effect of the difficult news (about Michigan) gets planted in people's brains. It kind of creates a stigma for moving there."
Although there were 125,014 births compared with 88,987 deaths statewide between 2005 and 2006, it wasn't enough to make up for out-migration.
Michigan's decline reverses a trend of small annual population increases for most of the last six years. Between 2000 and 2006, Michigan's population grew by 157,163 people or 1.6 percent. Fifty-six of the state's 83 counties saw their populations grow during that period.
And while Michigan did see a net increase in immigrants from other countries (22,803) between 2005 and 2006, people leaving for other states resulted in a net decline of 65,123 people.
Livingston County did grow by 1.7%. That was surprising consider the number of for sale signs I've seen.