Michigan's population is up again, for the sixth consecutive year, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Wednesday. About 9,962,311 residents lived in the state on July 1, 2017, an increase of 28,866 people or 0.3% from a year earlier.
The state's growth rate remains slower than the national rate of 0.7%.
The population gain includes births and people migrating to the state. Michigan recorded a positive net migration — more people moving to the state than leaving — for the first time in records dating to at least 2000, according to the Census Bureau. Statistics were not available prior to then.
"This is extremely good news for Michigan," said Kurt Metzger, a Michigan demographer, "and is due mainly to a smaller net loss of people to other parts of the country."
Births, deaths and international migration to the state held relatively steady year over year, according to Metzger.
The difference in the number of people moving into an area and those moving out — net migration — is a key component in predicting population. The reason, according to the Census Bureau, is that these patterns are more likely to fluctuate than birth and death data in the short term.
The fastest growing states in the U.S. were Idaho, Nevada and Utah. Eight states lost population, according to the estimates.The population estimates are compiled from records, including births, deaths and tax filings.
The annual estimates help to predict what Michigan's population would look like in 2020 — the next every-decade census, which is used to reapportion the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states.
If this were 2020, Michigan's growth rate compared with other states that are growing faster would give Michigan 13 seats, one fewer than now, according to the University of Michigan's Population Studies Center. The last time Michigan had 13 seats was in 1920.
Other states estimated to lose a seat include Illinois, Minnesota, New York, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Oregon would each gain one seat. Texas stands to gain two, if apportionment were based on Wednesday's release.
Michigan had its highest number of House seats, 19, after the 1960 and 1970 censuses. Since then, Michigan has lost at least one seat after each census. In 1990, Michigan lost two seats.
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