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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

MI population predicted to decline by hundreds of thousands

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Wednesday, May 22, 2024   

CLARIFICATION: The term "death rates" has been replaced with "number of deaths" to more accurately describe this measure. And Ms. Butler is a co-author of the report, not the sole author. (11:54 a.m. MDT, May 30, 2024)

Michigan's population has hovered around the 10 million mark for the past 20+ years, but the state's latest report outlines projections of a population roller coaster which stops at the bottom.

Michigan will have more than 230,000 more people in the next decade, and then decline by 128,000 from 2034 to 2050. Overall, the state's population is expected to drop by about 700,000 in 26 years.

Jaclyn Butler, demographer at the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics and report co-author, said in addition to people migrating out of the state and lower fertility rates, the projected number of deaths is contributing to the decline.

"In Michigan, as we have this very large birth cohort, the 'baby boomers' birth cohort," Butler explained. "The baby boom was pronounced in Michigan -- even compared to the nation, which also experienced a baby boom -- moving into older age years, high mortality years."

The report shows there are now more Michigan residents age 55 and older than residents under 25.

Butler added COVID-19 deaths played a role in Michigan's natural population decrease, but even though 2020 and 2021 saw the highest annual increases in deaths since the Spanish flu in 1918, she emphasized the pandemic cannot solely be blamed for the decline.

"Michigan was already trending closer toward natural decrease," Butler noted. "That rate of natural increase -- where you have more births than deaths -- was already slowing, even prior to the pandemic."

The report found the number of deaths in Michigan is projected to increase by over 35% through the year 2047.

Can this population decline be reversed? Butler believes it is possible.

"You know, there is a window of time," Butler stressed. "Within the next two years or the next decade where, particularly if total net migration is high enough, there might be enough total net migration to offset that natural decrease."

The report says as the natural population decrease becomes pronounced, it will become increasingly challenging for the state to maintain the annual level of net migration needed for population growth.



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