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U.S. Census report for 2022 shows migration from Michigan

Michigan is a state people leave; right-to-work repeal could drive Michigan’s jobs and people elsewhere

Michigan’s population shrank last year, according to new migration estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. While the state’s population declined by less than 10,000, to 10,034,113, it was 35th in the nation for population change last year. James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center, says that if right-to-work is repealed in Michigan, the state should anticipate a steeper decline in population in the future.

Hohman says the state should be doing much better than it is, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “strictest and unconstitutional COVID lockdown was a bad call.” It still has a large effect on how well the state has bounced back from the pandemic. Residents need stronger economic growth, he says, adding that historically, people move for better employment opportunities.

Over the long run, right-to-work laws are associated with stronger population growth. In the past two years, 2.1 million people have moved from states without right-to-work laws to states that protect a worker’s right to not be forced to pay membership dues. The strongest population growth in the Midwest has been in Indiana, a right-to-work state.

While Michigan suffered a population decline in 2022, New York, Illinois and Louisiana saw steeper ones. New York lost 0.9% of its population. Illinois and Louisiana were right behind, with a loss of 0.8%.

Florida came in first in the nation with a 1.9% population increase. It was followed by Idaho at 1.8% and South Carolina at 1.7%.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.