Michigan Population 2016
Situated in the heart of the Great Lakes, Michigan is one of the largest states in the US both in terms of land mass and population. As of 2016, the state has an estimated population of 9,922,576.
The last confirmed set of population figures date from the countrywide census of 2010 when it was declared that there were 9,883,640 people living in Michigan. Those figures from 2010 represented a small loss of less than 1% compared to the numbers declared at the 2000 census.
In 2015, it was estimated by the US Census Bureau that the population had risen to 9,922,576. This reflects a less than 1% increase in population since the 2010 Census, which puts Michigan in 45th place in terms of population growth.
With a total land mass of 96,716 square miles, (250,493 square kilometers), Michigan is the eleventh biggest state in the USA by area. The land is fairly densely packed, although not exceptionally so -- for every square mile of Michigan territory, there is an average of 174 people (67.1 per square kilometer). Those figures leave Michigan ranking 18th in terms of population density.
The racial breakdown of Michigan's population, according to 2015 US Census Bureau data is:
- 79.7% White (75.6% non-Hispanic)
- 14.2% Black or African American
- 0.7% American Indian
- 3.0% Asian
- 2.3% Multiracial
A large majority of the population in Michigan is Caucasian, with ancestries that include German, Belgian, British, Polish and Irish. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan has a fairly large population of people of Scandinavian, especially Finnish, descent, while Western Michigan has a notable presence of Dutch residents, which is the highest concentration of any state.
African Americans, who came to Detroit and other northern regions during the early 20th century, still represent a large majority of the population of Detroit and nearby areas like Flint. Meanwhile, Southeast Michigan, particularly Dearborn, has a great deal of people of Middle Eastern descent, with a large population of Arab people.
Michigan Population History
In 1800, the population of Michigan was declared at 3,757 and over the next 25 years, the numbers grew at a slow but steady rate.
In 1825, however, a new route into Michigan was carved out -- courtesy of the Erie Canal -- and this brought an influx of farmers, merchants and other settlers into the state. The development had a clear effect on the population, and in 1830, numbers had swelled to 28,004, which was an increase of over 275% when compared to the 1820 Census figures.
The biggest Michigan population spike was yet to come, however, and just ten years later in 1840, numbers had exploded by 658% to a new high of 212,267. More significant increases were to follow, although none quite as mind-blowing as the growth from the 1830s. By the start of the 20th century, the census of 1900 showed that the population of Michigan had grown to 2,420,982.
Similar rapid growth continued throughout the 20th century (during the pre-war years, growth was regularly at 30% per decade), fueled by the growth of the auto industry in Detroit. By the end of the century, it had started to slow down to the point where, at the last census, the first population decrease in Michigan's history was recorded.
Largest Cities in Michigan
The largest city in Michigan is the Motor City, Detroit. The 2010 census confirmed that it was home to 713,862 people. This number has decreased to just over 677,000 according to 2015 estimates. If you take a look at the population of Detroit, it’s clear that this is where much of the state’s demographic problems lie. At its peak in 1950, there were 1.85 million people living in the city. In 2016, that number has declined by over one million people. Many of those leaving the city are actually not moving far -- they move out toward the suburbs. But following the city's bankruptcy filing and urban decay, it’s likely that some are packing up completely and moving out of state, which doesn’t help the state’s overall population figures.
Michigan Population Projections
According to the US Census, Michigan remains the only state in the country to see a population drop over the last decade, which is mostly caused by the sharp decline in the state's auto industry, which has indirectly led to the bankruptcy declaration from the city of Detroit in 2013. The state's labor force has remained heavily dependent on the stagnant US auto industry, and Michigan's declining population runs against regional trends.
Some economists are hopeful that Michigan can push for new tax incentives to encourage new business in the state, but only time will tell how long it takes Michigan to rebound from what has been a bad decade.
The next Census in 2020 is going to be difficult to predict -- it's quite possible that there will be a continued slow decline in population. Alternatively, if the state's government tries to boost immigration and business growth, a change may occur and there could potentially be a slight rise in population. It is estimated that the total Michigan population will grow 7.6% from 2000 to 2030, adding an additional 755,728 people to the population by the 2030 Census.
- The first permanent settlement in Michigan was established by Father Jacques Marquette in 1668.
- By 1700, the area had been further explored, and trading posts and missions have been built on the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
- Wayne County is the oldest county in the state. It was established in 1815.
- Michigan settlers frequently raided American settlements during the Revolutionary War.
- Michigan has the second-highest amount of shoreline in the United States, after Alaska.
- The first soda was made in Detroit in 1866. The soda, ginger ale, was made completely by accident.
Population Data via US Census