West Michigan Growing Quickly; Western U.P. Shrinking Quicker

MIRS Article—Friday, May 20th, 2016

The state’s fastest growing municipality since 2010 isn’t in Southeast Michigan or Kent County. It’s the 3,230-person Kalamazoo village of Vicksburg, which has seen a 10.9 percent population increase from 2010-2015, according to numbers released today by state demographer Eric GUTHRIE.map_of_dexter_mi

Dexter in Washtenaw County is the state’s second fastest growing area, growing 9.6 percent from 2010 to 2015, followed by Rockford in Kent County (7 percent), Spring Lake in Ottawa County (6.8 percent) and Manton at 6.6 percent.

Novi (6.3 percent), Grand Haven (6.2 percent), Auburn Hills (5.9 percent), East Grand Rapids (5.7 percent) and Kentwood (5.4 percent) round out the top 10.

In the past year, Utica in Macomb County has seen the great percentage increase in population at 3.1 percent, Guthrie reported, followed by Stephenson (2.7 percent), Manton (2.2 percent), Sylvan Lake (2.1 percent) and Vicksburg (1.5 percent).

The biggest declines are being seen in the western Upper Peninsula. Ontonagon lost 10.8 percent of its population from 2010 to 2015, followed by Ironwood at 7.1 percent, Bessemer (7.0 percent) and Wakefield (6.8 percent). Downstate, Highland Park is fifth at 6.2 percent.

Guthrie wrote in a report on the numbers that the metropolitan counties surrounding Detroit have been expanding, even if Detroit is not. Grand Rapids and much of West Michigan has seen “significant growth” from 2010 to 2015. The northwest Lower Peninsula and the Marquette area also are seeing growth.

The most visible population contraction is happening in the rural area, with a clear population loss taking place in Ontonagon County, where all of the townships have lost population since 2010.

The losses are best punctuated by this statistic. Outside of Branch County’s Coldwater Township, which lost 19.6 percent of its people from 2010 to 2015, the next 11 biggest population-losing townships in Michigan are all in Ontonagon County, which lost 10.9 percent of its people in the five-year period.

Nearby Gogebic County was next at 5.9 percent. Montmorency (5.3 percent), Alcona (5 percent) and Oscoda (4.1 percent) were the next four fastest shrinking counties.

Ottawa County is the state’s fastest growing county with 6 percent population growth from 2010 to 2015. Kent (5.5 percent), Grand Traverse (5.4 percent), Washtenaw (3.9 percent) and Kalamazoo counties (3.8 percent) rounded out the top 5. 

For more information on Dexter, Michigan visit their website here.

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