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.

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 here. Those figures from 2010 represented a small loss of less than one per cent on the numbers declared at the 2000 census.

In 2013, it was estimated that the population had dropped still further to 9,883,220. The population of Michigan in 2013 is a little hard to judge at this stage with a troubled economy, little work and the city of Detroit declaring bankruptcy, but a similar drop would push the figure down just below the 9.87 million mark. Michigan currently has a population growth rate of 0.0%, which ranks 50th in the nation. Time will tell if this improves anytime soon.

Michigan Population 2014

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 here (67.1 per square kilometer). Those figures leave Michigan ranking 17th in terms of population density.

As far as demographics are concerned, of the total Michigan population in 2010 included a racial makeup of:

  • 78.9% White (76.6% non-Hispanic)
  • 14.2% Black or African American
  • 0.6% American Indian
  • 2.4% Asian
  • 1.5% Other
  • 2.3% Multiracial

The 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 has a great deal of people of Middle Eastern descent, particularly Dearborn, with a large population of Arab people.

Michigan Population History

Way back 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% on 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, and 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, of course, Detroit, the Motor City itself. The 2010 census confirmed that it was home to 713,777 people. And, 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 it’s peak, in 1950, there were 1.85 million people living in the city, and today, Detroit is home to a million fewer people. Many of those leaving the city are actually not moving all that far – they move out towards the suburbs. But it’s likely that some are packing up completely and moving out of state – and of course, this doesn’t help the state’s overall population figures.

Other large cities in Michigan include Grand Rapids (pop: 188,040), Warren (pop: 134,056), Sterling Heights (pop: 129,699), Lansing (pop: 114,297), Ann Arbor (pop: 113,934), and Flint (pop: 102,434).

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.

With a consistently high unemployment rate of 12.4%, it's not hard to see why educated, skilled workers are leaving the state for greener pastures. 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 we’ll see a continued slow decline in population. Alternatively, if the state’s government tries to boost immigration and business growth, we may see this change and turn into another modest rise. It is estimated that the total Michigan population will grow 7.6% from 2000 to 2030, adding an additional 755,700 people to the population by the 2030 Census.

Population Data via US Census