Census: East Lansing’s population gains as pandemic ends


When it comes to population, East Lansing was the state’s biggest winner last year, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census.

But there’s a catch: The population there nosedived in 2021 because of being a university town during the pandemic.

Overall, Michigan has lost an estimated 43,200 people since 2020 — including nearly 3,400 from 2021 to 2022. The losses are a reversal of the small but steady gains it had been making in the previous decade.

Experts have called upon policymakers to take action to combat population losses.

If Michigan continues to have stagnant growth — some projections suggest annual declines beginning in 2045 — it will have broad implications on the state’s economy through a shrinking workforce, customer base and tax revenues, they say.

Since 1990, only West Virginia, which lost population, has fared more poorly than Michigan. The state grew 8.4 percent since then, ranking 49th in the country.

Detroit and most Michigan cities continued to lose population in 2022.

Lansing has lost 17 residents since July 2020, falling to 112,357.

Detroit, which is Michigan’s biggest city, lost nearly 1 percent of its population, about 7,791 people to 620,376, falling to 29th in the nation, with fewer residents than Memphis or Louisville, according to the U.S. Census.

On Twitter, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called the Census Bureau a “complete national clown show.” He claims postal records show the city has more than 2,300 more homes receiving mail in 2022 and that the city added 4,000 homes in 2021.

The city failed to win an earlier challenge to the Census’s 2020 count.

The latest estimates also are bad news for other Michigan cities, with Warren (1,165) and Dearborn (1,026) each losing more than 1,000 people from 2021 to 2022.  Warren now has 137,107 people and is the state’s third largest city. Dearborn has 107,710 and is seventh largest.

Michigan’s second-biggest city, Grand Rapids, lost an estimated 843 people, one year after losing 947 people. In 2020, the Census estimated Grand Rapids had 198,893 people.

Gainers included college towns, which welcomed back students who had left campus during the pandemic in 2021, including:

• East Lansing, where Michigan State University’s population rose to 34,532 to 47,340, a nearly complete reversal from losing over 13,100 the year before.

• Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, gained 805 to 119,875. It had lost 4,555 from 2020 to 2021.

• Marquette, home to Northern Michigan University, gained 647 people to 20,786.

• Ypsilanti, home to Eastern Michigan University, rose 546 to 19,732. It had lost over 1,400 the preceding year.

• Allendale Township in Ottawa County, home to Grand Valley State University, added 516 people to 26,487 people in 2022.

The numbers are affected by the pandemic when COVID-19 forced many campuses to avoid in-person classes, experts said.


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