Michigan GOP candidates for governor are starting to often use a statistic about the exodus of residents from Michigan. It purports to show the rate at which people are leaving.

Rick Snyder, a GOP candidate for governor, has it on his website that every 12 minutes, a family leaves Michigan.

Mike Bouchard, another gubernatorial Republican candidate said Saturday in Clarkston, "Every 12 minutes, someone leaves this state."

Where did the statistic come from? Is it a "family" or a "person"?

The Snyder campaign said they got the statistic from a 2009 Detroit News story.

The Detroit News reported in April that 109,000 more people left the state of Michigan in 2008 than moved in. That's about 300 a day (298.63), about 12 (12.44) an hour and 2.48 every 12 minutes.

According to Maps-n-stats.com, the average household size in Michigan is 2.56 and the average family size is 3.10.

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Detroit News reporter Ron French explained in an e-mail how he came up with oft-quoted figure:

... [W]hile I don't have the exact calculations I used last year, here's how I did it:

  • I started with the net loss of 109,000 people in 2008
  • I divided that by Michigan's average household size; I don't know the number I used last year, but a figure I found today sets that household size as 2.51. We called a household a family, in case that's the difference in our calculations
  • That leaves 43,426 (I started today's calculation with the round 109,000 figure - i (sic) didn't bother to look up the exact figure today).
  • I divided that by days (364) and hours (24)
  • That left a net of 4.97 families (households) leaving per hour.
  • I divided 60 minutes by 4.97 families to come up with a family leaving every 12 minutes.

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There have been 17 exonerations in Michigan involving misapplied forensic science. Several groups from different sides of the political spectrum are calling for improvements to forensic science and for better transparency and quality control in crime labs.

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