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Census: Slow population growth could cost House seat for Michigan

Dec 23, 2015

Credit Roman Boed / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Population estimates released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau suggest Michigan could lose a congressional seat in 2020. 

Michigan's population grew by 6,270 people from July 2014 to July 2o15, and that growth is small compared to states in the South and the West, according  to Kurt Metzger, founder of Data Driven Detroit. 

"There's no way we're going to be able to regain the seat that seems to be on the way out," said Metzger. 

"Right now, we are joined, in terms of predicted loss, by Minnesota, Illinois, and Pennsylvania," Metzger said, adding that Florida, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas are each likely to gain a seat.

If predictions come true, Michigan will be down to 13 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census. Michigan has lost at least one congressional seat every decade since 1980 when it had 19 seats. The census takes place every 10 years and is used to reapportion the House's 435 seats according to the population of the 50 states.  

Metzger attributed Michigan's slow population growth to more people leaving the state. He said more than 38,000 people left the state between 2014 and 2015, compared to 28,000 the previous year. He said  Michigan experienced a small net gain in population last year, despite the outmigration, because of immigration into the state and because births, the highest in a decade, outstripped deaths by 24,000.

The recently released census figures show that Michigan is the 10th largest state, with an estimated population of 9.922 million people. It has dropped behind North Carolina, now ranked the 9th most-populous state with more than 10 million residents.